Chicago existing home sales mark year of growth

By Mary Ellen Podmolik
Posted July 22, 2010 at 3:33 p.m.

June marked a year of monthly positive year-over-year sales of existing homes in the Chicago area, leading some in the industry to conclude the market is finally stabilizing. But will the trend continue?

Home sales in the Chicago area rose 27.2 percent in June, to 9,085 single-family homes and condominiums sold during the month. The median sales price change still was in negative territory, however, falling 1.2 percent to $207,500, from $210,000 in June 2009, the Illinois Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

Within the city of Chicago, home sales surged 27.5 percent, to 2,526 sales, in the 10th consecutive month of year-over-year monthly sales gains. The median price of $234,250 within the city was a 3.2 percent drop from the same period a year ago.

While single-family homes accounted for a far smaller percentage of the overall sales within Chicago, they did see some price appreciation. The median price of $160,000 for the 967 homes sold in June was a 6.7 percent gain over a year ago. The median price means half the homes were sold for more and half for less.

Sales of Chicago condos rose 26.7 percent, to 1,559 units sold and the median price of $275,000 was a 5.5 percent decline from a year ago.

Much of the sales gain is likely tied to the home buyer tax credit, which originally was to have ended last month, meaning buyers had to close on home purchases by June 30. The settlement deadline has since been extended to Sept. 30. The National Association of Realtors had estimated that the extension will benefit as many as 180,000 buyers nationally.

With those contracts nearing closing, activity in the pipeline has slowed considerably. Pending homes sales, representing properties under contract but not yet sold, were down 13 percent in May and 17 percent in June in Chicago’s western and southern suburbs, according to the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors. “It’s sluggish,” said organization president and real estate agent Mike Drews. “The interest rates are great and there’s plenty of inventory. The prices are starting to stabilize. The thing we really need is job stability and consumer confidence.”

Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the University of Illinois’ regional economics applications laboratory, predicts that sales should continue to generate positive year-over-year gains through September but price appreciation is likely to remain difficult.

“The economy is certainly not helping the housing market,” Hewings said. “The loss of over 200,000 temporary census jobs overwhelmed the private sector gains of 83,000.”



  1. Lucid Realty July 22, 2010 at 9:24 a.m.

    June still benefited from the contracts written prior to the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. However, since then contract activity is way off and July and certainly August will see much smaller gains and possibly even declines in closings. You can see the historic sales trends for the Chicago area going back to 2006 in the second graph on this page:

  2. DUKE MOKUA July 23, 2010 at 3:01 a.m.

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  3. DUKE MOKUA July 23, 2010 at 3:17 a.m.

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