The Illinois Association of Realtors® (IAR) announced yesterday that both home prices and home sales were down in Chicago when comparing December 2008 to December 2007. They are also down when comparing all of 2008 to 2007.
Chicago Home Sales Figures
In December a total of 1,215 homes were sold in Chicago. This is down 23.0 percent from the 1,578 homes sold in December 2007. IAR also announced numbers for Chicagoland (defined as Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties), where there were 4,232 home sales in December 2008 compared to 5,033 in December 2007. This is a drop of 15.9%.
In Chicago, for the whole of 2008, there were 20,589 home sales compared to 27,503 in 2007, a drop of 25.1 percent from 27,503 sales in 2007. In Chicagoland there were 68,676 home sales in 2008, which is a drop of 25.9 percent from 92,657 sales in 2007.
Chicago Home Prices Down
In the city of Chicago, the median price for a home was $235,000 in December 2008 compared to $287,450 in December 2007, a drop of 18.2 percent. The numbers weren’t as bad for the whole of Chicagoland where The 2008 median price was $290,000, down 0.5 percent from $291,500.
David Hanna, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors® said, “A lack of consumer confidence and financing continue to prevent the Chicago housing market from maintaining any recovery momentum. Low interest rates and flexible pricing are bringing buyers into the market, the continual lack of reasonable financing requirements and lender adversity to lend to the average consumer thwart our best efforts to see the housing market rebound. Lending conditions must change or the real estate market will not recover.”
Didn’t NAR Say Sales Were Up?
It’s important to note that these numbers are a different than the national numbers widely reported by the National Association of Realtors®; the jump NAR reported yesterday was comparing November and December of 2008. The numbers above are comparing year-on-year December numbers. In the their report NAR did show a 3.5 percent drop in national home sales in December 2008 compared to December 2007 sales.
So, when we take into account the national numbers from yesterday and the Chicago numbers today, what do we learn? It is looking like December 2008 was a better month than November 2008. It looks like some momentum is building and buyers are returning to the market. However, today’s Chicago numbers temper that optimism by comparing 2008 with 2007; when you do that, the numbers are most definitely down.
I was listening to an economist yesterday on the radio. He said that layoffs continue to happen?and even reach a peak?after the bottom of the recession has hit. This is because no one knows that the bottom has been reached. All they know is that revenues are down and they have to cut expenses. He pointed out that yesterday’s huge job cuts could, COULD be a wacky indicator that the bottom has hit.
Could the increase in November vs. December sales signal a bottom despite the bad 2008 vs. 2007 numbers? If you know the answer, you’re going to be a very rich person!
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