Home sales and median prices in the Chicago area continued to beat year-ago comparisons in October, and the time it took to sell a home plunged as a result of a lack of inventory.

October sales of existing homes in the nine-county Chicago area rose 9.6 percent from a year ago to 9,303 homes sold, at a median price of $175,000, up 14.4 percent, the Illinois Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

Market time declined 26 percent, from an average of 84 days in October 2012, to 62 days last month in the Chicago area. Within the city, it took an average of 52 days for a property to go under contract. That compared with 71 days in October 2012.

Within the city of Chicago, sales rose 7.5 percent year-over-year, to 2,231 properties. The median home price in the city was $218,500, up almost 25 percent from October 2012’s $175,000.

Much of that improvement can be tied to better sales prices of condominiums. Last month, the median price of a condo sold in the city was $260,000, up almost 24 percent from a year earlier.

There was concern that the partial federal government shutdown would temporarily derail the housing market’s recovery, and the market’s pace of improvement did slow markedly in October.

“To me, it feels like the normal, seasonal slowdown,” said Yuval Degani, president of Dream Town Realty. “But we still have clients that are waiting for the right property to pop up. I’d be worried if we didn’t have clients who wanted to buy, if we had banks that didn’t give credit, but that’s not happening.”

Last month was the first month since June 2011 that the year-over-year increase in sales volume did not show a double-digit percentage gain. Also, on a month-over-month basis, median prices fell for the fourth consecutive month.

“It’s definitely slowed down a little bit, but the year as a whole has been spectacular for residential real estate,” said Michael Parent, president of the MainStreet Association of Realtors. “Having a little bit of a slowdown, the concern becomes if it becomes like that month over month. I don’t think this is alarming. There’s still a little bit of concern about jobs.”

Sales and pricing improvement are expected to show greater improvements during the next three months, according to Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of University of Illinois’ regional economics applications laboratory.

Nationally, existing-home sales totaled a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.12 million properties sold in October, up 6 percent from October 2012 but a decline of 3.2 percent from September, reported the National Association of Realtors. It was the second consecutive monthly drop in national home sales.

Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist, attributed the decline to decreased affordability as a result of higher prices and mortgage interest rates.

Also on Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that mortgage applications for home purchases increased 6 percent from last week.


(Source: Chicago Tribune)

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