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The 3 Market Forces that Pushed Down January Home Sales in Chicagoland

by Peter Thomas Ricci

January was a rough month of real estate in the Chicagoland area.

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Creative Commons 3.0: Silverstone1, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Summer_2006_0882.jpg

The numbers aren’t pretty: in the nine-county Chicagoland area, home sales fell 5.2 percent year-over-year to 5,619, according to the latest analysis from IAR; meanwhile, sales were down 8.3 percent in the city of Chicago and 3.2 percent in the communities that MORe represents.

So what gives? Here are some of the explanations that were offered:

1. Dwindling Distressed Sales/Delayed Contracts – Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, the director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois, stated in IAR’s report that both low completion rates for pending sales and falling distressed sales contributed to January’s lackluster numbers.

2. Limited Inventory – The inventory of homes for sale in Chicagoland remains low (in fact, inventory fell 21 percent in 2014 alone), and Hugh Rider, the president of the Chicago Association of Realtors and co-president of Realty & Mortgage Co, pegged that reason for the city’s disappointing sales volume. And of course, though sales were down, the median sales price in Chicago was up 11 percent year-over-year, compared with an 8.0 percent rise region-wide and a 5.7 percent increase in MORe’s communities.

3. A New, Slow Market – Of course, it could be that there is no grand market explanation for Chicagoland’s January market, and that we’re instead returning to a normal, seasonal market with lower home sales in the wintry months. As Pradeep Shukla, the president of MORe and managing broker of RE/MAX Renaissance in Des Plaines, put it, “The numbers, overall, are consistent with what we’ve seen in previous months: slow, steady growth in prices and pockets of increased sales activity throughout our region.”

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