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Home Sales Momentum Continues in August

A RE/MAX analysis shows that home sales rose across the metropolitan Chicago area.

Home sales in the seven-county metropolitan Chicago real estate market followed a familiar path in August, with more homes changing hands more quickly, according to an analysis by RE/MAX.

August sales of detached and attached homes reached a combined total of 9,145 units, which is a robust 26.5 percent higher than in the same month in 2011 and the highest August sales total since 2007.

The pace of sales also quickened. The average number of days that homes sold in August spent on the market before a sales contract was signed declined from 165 days a year ago to 139 days this August, the lowest market time for the metro area in any month since December 2007.

For the second consecutive month, the share of all sales that involve distressed properties, specifically foreclosed homes and short sales, was up in August. Distressed sales accounted for 37.5 percent of all sales, up from 36.4 percent a year ago and 36.1 percent in July of this year.

“The inventory of homes for sale and the days needed to sell a home continue to shrink, which is a positive sign for home values going forward. It also indicates that the market is being brought back into balance,” said Laura Ortoleva, a spokesperson for the RE/MAX Northern Illinois real estate network. She reports that the active inventory in the seven-county metro area plus Grundy and DeKalb counties fell 3 percent in August and ended the month 22 percent lower than it had been just 12 months earlier.

Combined sales of detached and attached homes rose in each of the seven metro counties in August compared to the same month last year, led by increases of 31 percent in McHenry County and 30 percent in Cook County. Here are the sales increases recorded in the five other metro counties: DuPage County 20 percent, Kane County 25 percent,Kendall County 6 percent, Lake County 22 percent and Will County 27 percent. In the City of Chicago, home sales increased 22 percent.

Homes sold in the metro-Chicago market during August had a median price of $170,000, 4.4 percent less than during the same month last year. The RE/MAX analysis is based on transaction information from Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC.

The median sales price of a home rose 3 percent in Kendall County, 2 percent in McHenry County and 4.7 percent inChicago when compared to August of last year. The five other counties saw median prices decline by varying amounts ranging from 13 percent in Lake County to less than 0.1 percent in Will County.

The average market time for homes sold in August shortened considerably in all seven counties and in Chicago when compared with the same month last year. The sharpest reductions were in Kendall and McHenry counties where market times fell 42 days. Elsewhere, the reduction was 19 days in Cook County, 33 days in DuPage County, 13 days in Kane County, 37 days in Lake and Will counties and 26 days in Chicago.

Detached Homes

August sales of detached homes totaled 5,801 units in the seven-county area, 23 percent more than a year earlier and up 5 percent from July 2012. Average market time for those properties shortened to 134 days from 158 days last year and 136 days the prior month.

All seven counties and Chicago recorded higher detached-home sales in August compared to the same month last year. Will County led the metro counties with a 32 percent sales increase, followed by McHenry at 26 percent, Cook and Kane at 25 percent each, Lake at 20 percent, DuPage at 10 percent and Kendall at 6 percent. Detached sales in Chicago rose 8 percent.

Detached-home sales in the metro area were 5 percent higher in August than in July of this year.

The median sales price for detached homes in August was $188,000, 3.6 percent less than in August of last year. Two counties in the metro area did record price increases. The median price rose 3 percent in Kendall and 2 percent in McHenry. The median sales price for detached homes fell 1 percent in Cook County, 2.5 percent in DuPageCounty, 5 percent in Kane County, 10 percent in Lake County, 3 percent in Will County and 2 percent in Chicago.

Attached Homes

Sales of attached homes showed considerable strength in August across the metro area, totaling 3,344 units, which is the highest number of attached sales in any month this year. It also was 33 percent more than the prior August and 9.5 percent above the July total. Average market time fell to 149 days, a 30-day decline from the prior August.

As was the case in July, all seven counties in the metro area along with the City of Chicago recorded increases in attached sales during August when measured against year-earlier results. The top gains came in McHenry County (56 percent), DuPage County (41 percent) and Cook County (35 percent). The other increases, arranged in order of magnitude, were: 28 percent in Lake County, 26 percent in Kane County, 9 percent in Will County and 4 percent in Kendall County. In the City of Chicago, sales were up 33 percent to 1,414 units.

For the entire metro area, the median price of an attached home sold in August was $139,000, up from $133,000 in July but 4 percent lower than the median of $145,000 recorded a year earlier.

In five of the seven counties, the August median price increased relative to the median price in July. Those increases were 10 percent in Will County, 5 percent in DuPage County and 3 percent in Cook, Kane and Lake counties.

The median price in August declined from its level for the prior month in Kendall and McHenry counties and in Chicago. 

For the second consecutive month, the share of all sales that involve distressed properties, specifically foreclosed homes and short sales, was up in August. Distressed sales accounted for 37.5 percent of all sales, up from 36.4 percent a year ago and 36.1 percent in July of this year. That, to me, doesn't indicate the 'average Joe' is buying the homes. Look around and see how many are owned by realtors or the banks that took them back. Short sales don't convert to those selling then going out an buying another home. Just indicates they got their mortgage holder to accept a lower amount then what they owed and they have no equity left to invest in another home.

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