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Illinois housing market starts 2016 strong with January gains in home sales, prices

FOR RELEASE: Feb. 23, 2016
Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — In the strongest January market in several years, Illinois home sales and median prices posted robust year-over-year increases, despite lower inventory levels, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in January 2016 totaled 8,247 homes sold, up 3.0 percent from 8,003 in January 2015. The last time January home sales were higher was in 2013, when 8,654 homes sold.

The statewide median price in January was $164,000 up 9.3 percent from January 2015 when the median price was $150,000. Statewide median prices have notched year-over-year increases for the last 41 months. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“The year appears to be getting off to a strong start, in no small part due to a mild winter,” said IAR President Mike Drews. “Sellers are getting very good overall prices due to diminished inventories. The strong consumer demand which was evident throughout 2015 seems to be holding firm as we start off 2016.”

The time it took to sell a home in January averaged 79 days, down from 83 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 55,447 homes for sale, a 12.6 percent decline from January 2015 when there were 63,461 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.87 percent in January 2016, down from 3.95 percent during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In January 2015 it averaged 3.66 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single family and condominiums) in January 2016 totaled 6,018 homes sold, up 4.8 percent from January 2015 sales of 5,743 homes. The median price in January 2016 was $191,000 in the Chicago PMSA, up 9.1 percent from $175,100 in January 2015.

“With Illinois ending 2015 with a net job loss for the first time since 2009, there is some concern about when this begins to affect the housing market,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) at the University of Illinois. “Nationally, consumers seem more optimistic about selling a house than buying one; with the continuing budget impasse in Springfield, concerns about job retention are likely to dampen housing demand. The first quarter of 2016 should provide a key to the impact of the state’s economy on the housing market”

According to the data, thirty-five (35) Illinois counties reported sales gains for January 2016 over previous-year numbers, including DuPage County, up 27.6 percent with 762 units sold; Peoria County, up 20.4 percent with 136 units sold; and Cook County, up 4.4 percent with 3,282 units sold. Fifty-five (55) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Sangamon County, up 22.1 percent to $125,730; Madison County, up 17.4 percent to $125,000; and Lake County, up 11.4 percent to $195,000.

The city of Chicago saw a 1.1 percent year-over-year home sales increase in January 2016 with 1,363 sales, up from 1,348 in January 2015. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in January 2016 was $230,000, up 4.5 percent compared to January 2015 when it was $220,000.

“The Chicago market is seeing sustained, steady increases in both sales and prices,” said Dan Wagner, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and senior vice president for governmental relations for the Inland Real Estate Group of Companies. “To have a January with strong results bodes well for the spring selling season when interest in the housing market typically increases.”

Sales and price information is generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 28 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of Feb. 7, 2016 for the period Jan. 1 through Jan. 31, 2016. The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

The Illinois Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association whose more than 44,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, the Illinois Association of REALTORS® works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation to safeguard and advance the interest of real property ownership.

Find Illinois housing stats, data and the University of Illinois REAL forecast at