News Column

Chicago-area Home Sales Have Best October in 3 Years

Nov 19, 2012

Mary Ellen Podmolik

Chicago housing

The Chicago area's housing market last month regained the momentum it lost in September, resulting in more homes being sold than in any October since 2006.

Sales of existing single-family homes and condominiums in the nine-county Chicago area totaled 8,326 properties in October, according to figures released Monday by the Illinois Association of Realtors. While below some of the monthly sales totals recorded earlier in the year, the volume was an increase of 11.3 percent over September and 44.1 percent higher than the 5,776 homes sold in October 2011.

Within the city of Chicago, 2,009 homes were sold in October, an improvement of 8.8 percent over September and up 53.1 percent from October 2011. Condos accounted for 60 percent of the city's sales volume.

The strong sales continue to remove excess inventory for the market, which is necessary before price appreciation can truly begin. Last month, 43 percent of sales within the city were either foreclosures or short sales.

For the Chicago area as a whole, the median price of a home was $153,000, the lowest it's been since March but still ahead 2.1 percent from October 2011's $149,900. Among local counties, DuPage County was one of those that saw double-digit, year-over-year monthly appreciation, rising 11.4 percent in October, to $195,000.

Within the city, the median price rose to $175,000, up 8 percent from a year ago but again, the lowest monthly price recorded since March. In the condo market, the median price fell 8.7 percent from September, to $210,000. However, that sum was a 13.5 percent increase from October 2011.

The median is the point at which half the homes are sold for more and half for less.

"There's a great deal of end-of-the year excitement," said Zeke Morris, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors. "Typically our numbers are down in the fourth quarter but we're beginning to catch up to other markets in Illinois."

Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, a University of Illinois economist, attributed the improved sales performance to a slowly improving economy, stronger consumer confidence and continued low mortgages rates. The monthly average commitment rate for the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage in the Chicago area was 3.36 percent in October, compared with 3.49 percent in September and 4.07 percent in October 2011, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. Last week, Freddie Mac said average mortgage rates hit a new all-time low in its weekly survey, of 3.34 percent for a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage.

Source: (c)2012 the Chicago Tribune. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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