I think there is light at the end of the tunnel. We can certainly see it in our showing activity and in the market. It’s still not an easy market or necessarily a fair market for all involved, but it is changing for the better. Statistics from Illinois Association of Realtors (IAR) definitely back up the these feelings.
Chicago-area sales in May had the smallest drop so far this year at -18.7%. 5,634 single-family homes and condominiums were sold in May in the nine-county Chicago region, compared with 4,747 in April 2008, the IAR said. The association is reporting the following Year-on-Year Declines:
Monthly Year-on-Year Comparison of Home Sales (Single-Family and Condo) in the Nine-County Chicago Area:
Month-on Month Home Sales Up In Chicago Area
Month-on-month total home sales (which include both single-family and condominiums) were up 19.3% in May 2009 with 8,945 homes sold compared to 7,501 homes sold in April 2009. This is showing the market picking up some speed and buyers feeling more confident in purchasing. Now take this compared to a year ago, when month-on-month home sales were down 21.0% from May 2008 with a home sales number of 11,326 for 2007. We are not back to 2008 numbers yet, but are working on it. The activity is growing and there is an air of growing confidence as well. This is what the market needs right now. There is still a plethora of inventory available, but I think by fall it will start to thin out and come back to more a stable market. Everyone is looking for a good deal right now. Prices are still dropping to meet consumer demands, but are stabilizing just a bit and not falling so drastically. If you have an aggressively priced listing in this market, odds are it will sell.
“We are seeing more activity in the housing market with increased listings, more activity at showings, a surge in interest from first-time buyers as well as some improvement in time on market,” said REALTOR® Pat Callan, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. “First-time home buyers who want to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit need to be aware that the purchase has to close no later than November 30, 2009 given the December 1 cut-off under current guidelines by the federal government. That means being under contract by early fall.”
Dr. Geoffery J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois said, “Month-to-month sales have recorded increases for the months of March, April and May and this is expected to continue into June. The modest recovery in housing prices and sales has been constrained by the job losses in the economy as a whole. A sustained housing recovery is still not within sight and much will depend on the degree to which federal stimulus funds and the resolution of the state?s budget generate a much needed boost to employment.”
Chicago Home Sales Up 11.5% in May
In the city of Chicago, month-on-month May total home sales (single-family and condominiums) were up 11.5 percent to 1,537 sales compared to April 2009 sales of 1,378; year-on-year sales were down 27.5 percent from 2,119 homes sold in May 2008.
“We?re encouraged to see the bank-owned inventory moving in the marketplace, indicating buyers are finding good bargains, especially in single family homes and flats,” said David Hanna, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®. “The city of Chicago condominium sales numbers continue to reflect a critical need for governmental agencies to review the growing disparity in the ability to finance a condominium purchase in the city. This affordable housing will become unaffordable and unattainable to many qualified first-time home buyers in the city of Chicago unless existing federal guidelines, which do not take into account nuances of the local market, are modified.”
Buyers Will Come Out in the Fall
To David Hanna’s quote I say, I think that the feds are addressing this…not quickly enough, but it is being addressed. The FHA guidelines that make it nearly impossible to get financing on a condo in the city are being removed as of October 2009. Some of these guidelines include right-of-first-refusal, liens against the association, and association controlled by the owners (not the developer). Come fall I think we will begin to see a larger number of FHA condo buyers enter the market and also use the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit. Watch out lenders…take your vacations now!
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