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Strong Illinois home sales and prices continue into February

FOR RELEASE: March 21, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Positive housing market momentum carried into February with home sales and median prices experiencing solid year-over-year gains, even amid lower inventory levels, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in February 2016 totaled 8,528 homes sold, up 5.7 percent from 8,066 in February 2015.

The statewide median price in February was $160,000 up 7.8 percent from February 2015 when the median price was $148,375. Statewide median prices have notched year-over-year increases for the last 42 months. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“Illinois continues to see sustained growth in sales and median prices, indicating the market is poised for a strong rollout for the spring selling season,” said Mike Drews, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® “All signs point to sellers seeing intense interest from buyers who are competing in a market where there are fewer properties from which to choose.”

The time it took to sell a home in February averaged 81 days, down from 90 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 56,563 homes for sale, an 11.3 percent decline from February 2015 when there were 63,791 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.66 percent in February 2016, down from 3.87 percent during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In February 2015 it averaged 3.68 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single family and condominiums) in February 2016 totaled 6,095 homes sold, up 6.1 percent from February 2015 sales of 5,744 homes. The median price in February 2016 was $187,500 in the Chicago PMSA, up 7.1 percent from $175,000 in February 2015.

“The housing market in Illinois continues to record comfortable increases in both sales and prices,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) at the University of Illinois. “Particularly important has been the consistent decrease in the percentage of sales accounted for by foreclosed properties in Chicago. The influence of foreclosed properties on aggregate prices seems to be diminishing while the foreclosure inventory remains at levels above those during the pre-recession period.”

According to the data, fifty-nine (59) Illinois counties reported sales gains for February 2016 over previous-year numbers, including St. Clair County, up 23 percent with 182 units sold; Champaign County, up 21.9 percent with 128 units sold; Will County, up 12.6 percent with 598 units sold; and Cook County, up 3.6 percent with 3,384 units sold. Fifty (50) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Winnebago County, up 18.3 percent to $84,000; McHenry County, up 18.2 percent to $175,000; and Peoria County, up 9.7 percent to $96,500.

The city of Chicago saw a 2.1 percent year-over-year home sales increase in February 2016 with 1,528 sales, up from 1,497 in February 2015. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in February 2016 was $238,000, up 12.3 percent compared to February 2015 when it was $212,000.

“Now is the time to sell your home if you’ve been thinking about doing that,” said Dan Wagner, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and senior vice president for government relations for The Inland Real Estate Group. “Compared to last year, the median sales price for all closed sales is up about 12 percent and there is a faster turnaround time between when a home is listed and when it sells.”

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 March 7, 2016 for the period Feb. 1 through Feb. 29, 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.