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Watch These 5 Exciting Trends in Chicagoland Housing

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Chicagoland’s housing market outperformed the national averages in February

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While home sales stumbled on the national stage, the local Chicagoland market turned in a very solid February performance, according to the latest analyses from the Illinois Association of Realtors, MRED and the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors. From sales to home prices, the market continued on its positive path.

Here are the five most encouraging trends right now in Chicagoland housing:

1. Sales and Prices Grow – In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, home sales totaled 6,095 in February, a 6.1 percent increase from Feb. 2015. Home prices posted even stronger gains, rising 7.1 percent year-over-year to $187,500.

2. The Purifying Nature of Home Sales – In his comments accompanying IAR’s report, Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, the director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) at the University of Illinois, called attention to the improving makeup of home sales in Chicagoland.

“Particularly important has been the consistent decrease in the percentage of sales accounted for by foreclosed properties in Chicago,” Hewings said. “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.”

Indeed, according to a report from MRED, REO sales were down 21.8 percent from a year ago, while short sales were down 14.8 percent.

3. Low Inventories in the City – Although home sales in the city of Chicago were up a relatively modest 2.1 percent, home prices were very strong, jumping 12.3 percent year-over-year. The rise in prices is due in no small part to the city’s housing inventory, which continues to fall with no end in sight. According to the MRED report, the city’s inventory in February was a 3.2-month supply, a 23.8 percent decline from Feb. 2105.

4. Suburban Strength – In Chicagoland’s suburban housing markets, sales were up 6.9 percent year-over-year for detached single-family homes, according to MORe. Sales were particularly strong in the following communities: Hinsdale (up 171.4 percent); Gurnee (91.7 percent); Evergreen Park (81.8 percent); Orland Park (75 percent); Mount Prospect (69.2 percent); Oak Lawn (68.8 percent); Bartlett (68.8 percent); and Glen Ellyn (47.1 percent).

Lynn Madison, the president of MORe and owner of Lynn Madison Seminars, said consumer confidence is driving the suburban housing market.

“With the Fed showing signs of delaying any additional interest rate increase and positive indicators seen throughout our area, we’re seeing a lot of reason for optimism,” she said. “The market is ripe for new homebuyers to buy their first home and for existing homebuyers to upgrade to the home of their dreams.”

5. Pending Strength – Finally, MORe also noted that pending sales in February spiked 27.8 percent, a signal of strong home sales activity in the coming months. The following areas saw huge jumps in contract activity:  Countryside (up 500 percent); Crestwood (350 percent); Burr Ridge (233.3 percent); Flossmoor (175 percent); Antioch (106.3 percent); and Wheeling (100 percent).

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