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First Quarter of 2016 Saw Metro Chicago Housing Market Advance at Moderate Pace, RE/MAX Reports
The metro Chicago housing market generally recorded moderate gains across the board during the first quarter of 2016. When compared to the first quarter of 2015, sales during the first three months of this year were up 5 percent to 20,441 units.
The median sales price gained 7 percent to $199,500, which was the highest first-quarter median since 2008.
The average time that homes sold during the quarter spent on the market before going under contract was 110 days, four days less than a year earlier and the second lowest average market time for the first quarter in the last decade.
The inventory of homes for sale continued to be limited. Based on average monthly sales for the first quarter, there was a 4.9 month supply of homes on the market at the end of March. A six-month supply is generally considered a balanced market.
The home sales data used in the RE/MAX analysis is collected by MRED, the regional multiple listing service, and covers detached and attached homes in the Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will. Detached homes are typically stand-alone single-family dwellings. Attached homes include condominium and cooperative apartments along with townhouses and duplex units.
"This year's housing market has been a bit unusual so far in that a mild winter seemed to get things started more quickly than in a typical year," said Jack Kreider, executive vice president and regional director of RE/MAX Northern Illinois. "Sales activity increased in all three months of the first quarter when compared to 2015, but the biggest increase was a 7 percent gain in January. In contrast, March sales activity was up just 2 percent. We don't believe, however that the market is slowing. More likely, the mild winter caused first-quarter sales to be more evenly distributed than normal.
"In fact, we expect the recent decline in mortgage interest rates to provide a measurable stimulus for second-quarter home sales."
Both home sales activity and the median sales price increased in all seven metro-area counties and in the City of Chicago during the first quarter. Sales activity rose 1 percent in Chicago, while the results for the counties were: Cook up 4 percent, DuPage up 12 percent, Kane up 4 percent, Kendall up 18 percent, Lake up 3 percent, McHenry up 5 percent and Will up 2 percent.
The median sales price in Chicago was $245,000, a gain of 4 percent. Median price and percent increase for the counties were: Cook, $200,000, up 8 percent; DuPage, $233,417, up less than 1 percent; Kane, $192,750, up 7 percent; Kendall, $190,000, up 3 percent; Lake, $190,000, up 3 percent; McHenry, $174,950, up 8 percent; and Will, $179,800, up 6 percent.
Distressed sales in the form of foreclosures and short sales totaled 4,906 units during the quarter, 21 percent fewer than the same period last year.
Sales of detached homes were up 5 percent to 13,009 units in the metro area, with the median sale price rising 9 percent to $215,000. The average market time was 119 days. All seven counties and Chicago saw higher median prices and an increase in sales activity.
In the category of attached homes, sales for the first quarter rose 5 percent to 7,432 units, and the median price gained 4 percent to $174,000. Sales activity and the median sales price moved upwards in all seven counties, but Chicago saw a 1 percent decline in sales.
It is in the attached category that a shortage of inventory is most evident. At the end of the first quarter, the metro area had only a 3.7 month supply of attached homes available, which could put upward pressure on prices going forward.
RE/MAX agents consistently rank among the most productive in the industry. In 2015, RE/MAX Northern Illinois agents averaged 18 transaction sides. RE/MAX has been the leader in the northern Illinois real estate market since 1989 and is continually growing. The RE/MAX Northern Illinois network, with headquarters in Elgin, Ill., consists of more than 2,250 sales associates and 106 independently owned and operated RE/MAX offices that provide a full range of residential and commercial brokerage services. Its mobile real estate app, available for download at www.illinoisproperty.com, provides comprehensive information about residential and commercial property for sale in the region. The northern Illinois network is part of RE/MAX, a global real estate organization with 104,000+ sales associates in 90+ nations.