Home sales were lower in January but moderating prices and improving inventory levels in some areas could give buyers more affordable opportunities in the months ahead, data released this week by Illinois Realtors shows.
Madison County home sales, year over year for January, were up, making it one of the brighter spots in the statewide report.
Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in January totaled 6,761 homes sold, down 19.4 percent from 8,385 in January 2018.
After years of gains, the statewide median price in January was $182,000, down 0.3 percent from January 2018, when the median price was $182,500. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.
“Buyers may finally be beginning to gain some advantage as we enter the run-up to the spring market,” said Ed Neaves, Illinois Realtors president-elect and managing broker of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Snyder Real Estate in Bloomington. “As inventory declines level off, buyers are likely to find more options to choose from, easing what has been a chronic market challenge in the past few years.”
The time it took to sell a home in January averaged 62 days, down from 64 days a year ago. Available inventory totaled 47,470 homes for sale, a 1.0 percent decline from 47,949 homes in January 2018.
According to the data, home sales in the Bloomington MSA (McLean and Dewitt counties) totaled 112, a 5.7 percent increase while the median price was down 1.9 percent to $144,500; and the Metro East MSA (Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties) totaled 571 units, a 1.0 percent decrease while the median price was up 21.9 percent to $109,750.
The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.46 percent in January, a decrease from 4.64 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In January 2018, it averaged 4.03 percent.
In the nine-county Chicago Metro Area, home sales (single-family and condominiums) in January totaled 4,526 homes sold, down 22.9 percent from January 2018 sales of 5,867 homes. The median price in January was $224,000 in the Chicago Metro Area, an increase of 0.4 percent from $223,000 in January 2018.
“The year-over-year decline in sales continued in both Illinois and Chicago, but this decline was matched by a small drop in prices,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) at the University of Illinois. “This slippage in both sales and prices may signal the impact of declining consumer confidence and the effects of the government shutdown. REAL’s research indicates this could set the state up for additional price decreases in February and March.”
According to the data, 26 Illinois counties reported sales gains for January over previous-year numbers, including Madison County, up 3.1 percent with 234 units sold; and McLean County, up 3.0 percent with 102 units sold. Forty-four (44) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Winnebago County, up 7.4 percent to $99,900; and Lake County, up 6.5 percent to $229,000.
The city of Chicago saw year-over-year home sales decrease 19.4 percent with 1,164 sales in January, compared to 1,444 a year ago. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in January was $252,000 down 4.9 percent compared to January 2018 when it was $265,000.
“Consumer confidence throughout the U.S. declined in December and January, due to the government shutdown, the slowing rate of job growth and overall uncertainty about the direction of the economy, resulting in declines in closed sales for January,” said Tommy Choi, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and broker at Keller Williams Chicago – Lincoln Park. “Sellers responded by lowering prices slightly to incentivize cautious buyers, who are regaining some power. The slower market is not a cause for concern, as market changes are a natural part of the real estate cycle.”
Sales and price information are generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 27 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of Feb. 7, 2019 for the period Jan. 1 through Jan. 31, 2019. The Chicago Metro Area, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.
Find Illinois housing stats, data, the University of Illinois REAL forecast and more at www.illinoisrealtors.org/marketstats.