Chicagoland sales, prices show little movement, but future indicators bode well

by Meg White

September home sales data is out today, and it’s a mixed bag. The National Association of Realtors reported that home sales were up 3.9 percent from a year ago nationwide in September but still took a 2.2 percent dip from August. Though Illinois’ numbers were mostly positive, Chicago showed a decline. 

Illinois Realtors reported that the city of Chicago saw a 4.2 percent decrease in home sales in September, compared to last year at this time. But they also noted that statewide home sales were up 1.3 percent last month over year-ago numbers. Looking at the greater Chicagoland market, the association reported that the nine-county area saw a 1 percent increase in home sales year-over-year and a 1.1 percent increase in median price. Median home prices were up in both Chicago and Illinois, 2.7 percent and 1.5 percent respectively.

“September clearly illustrates the roller-coaster nature of home sales this year, although median prices continue to show solid month-over-month gains for those who are in the market to sell,” Ed Neaves, president of Illinois Realtors, said in a press release.

Still, when researchers examine forward-looking data, the picture is brighter. The Mainstreet Organization of Realtors released data yesterday that showed the kind of activity increases that normally mark the start of summer in Chicagoland, not the end (see the association’s interactive map below). The number of detached homes that went under contract increased 13.2 percent this past September over the same month last year.

“The bell curve of home sales shifted this year, thanks to a slow, cool start to summer,” MORe Board of Directors President Brian Kwilosz said in a release accompanying the report. “We’re now seeing the level of sales we usually expect to see 45 to 60 days earlier in the year.”

Some of the communities that saw some of the more impressive increases in activity include Lombard (a 100 percent rise in homes under contract), Hinsdale (93.3%), Oak Forest (85.7%), Mount Prospect (62.1%) and Addison (57.1%). Of course, the trend wasn’t applied evenly throughout the region. Warrenville saw a pretty stark decrease in activity, with 70.6 percent fewer homes under contract this September compared to last, alongside Vernon Hills (-56.5%), Carol Stream (-44.4%), Glendale Heights (-33.3%) and West Chicago (-22.2%). 

Kwilosz also added the caveat that the amount of demand sellers are seeing varies by sales price, noting that homes under $325,000 are moving much more quickly than those priced above that point. Still, he said the increase in contract activity means that there’s less of a need to hit the pause button as winter looms. “Prospective sellers should not wait for the new year to put their homes on the market,” Kwilosz said. “There may be fewer buyers looking at this time of year, but the people who are out there are serious buyers, and we expect to see plenty of activity over the next few months.”

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