The long-awaited rebound in home sales in the seven-county metropolitan Chicago real estate market apparently arrived during the first half of 2012, according to an analysis of area home sales by RE/MAX.
The number of homes changing hands was 22 percent higher than in the first half of 2011. The median price of a home, while 3 percent lower for the full six-month period, increased in both May and June.
In the category of detached-home sales, McHenry and Will Counties saw the largest increases in activity during the January-June period, each registering a gain of 29 percent.
“First-half results certainly indicate that both home sales and values in the Chicago-area housing market are on the upswing,” said Laura Ortoleva, a spokesperson for the RE/MAX Northern Illinois real estate network.
Home sales activity rose solidly through the first six months of 2012. Sales of detached homes increased by 19 percent in both the first and second quarters, while sales of attached homes (primarily condominium apartments and townhouses) were up 28 percent in the first quarter and 26 percent in the second quarter. Detached sales for the entire first half of the year totaled 25,484, while 14,706 attached homes changed hands.
The median price for all homes sold during the six-month period was $160,000 but climbed to $185,000 in June.
Another positive sign for the housing market was the decrease in average market time, which is the number of days that homes sold during the first half of the year spent on the market before a sales contract was signed. Average market time for the period fell from 180 days last year to 166 days this year. Average market time for June was 149 days, a full month less than the average market time in March.
Cook County accounted for 57 percent of all home sales in the seven-county area during the first half of 2012, and trends in sales activity, median price and average market time closely tracked those for the metro area as a whole. Home sales increased 21 percent and the median price fell 3 percent, while average market time was reduced by 10 days to 162 days.
The median sales price of a home was essentially unchanged in DuPage and Kane counties, but declined elsewhere, falling 2.2 percent in Kendall County, 7.6 percent in Lake County, 10.3 percent in McHenry County and 5.5 percent in Will County.
The six counties surrounding Cook all saw notable reductions in average market time, from a minimum decline of 13 percent in DuPage County to a maximum decrease of 25 days in Lake County.
In the category of detached-home sales, McHenry and Will Counties saw the largest increases in activity during the January-June period, each registering a gain of 29 percent. Kendall County had the smallest increase at 1.5 percent.
The median price of a detached home rose approximately 2.5 percent in Kane and DuPage counties and increased 3.8 percent in Chicago, but declined elsewhere – as much as 8 percent in McHenry County and as little as 0.6 percent in Cook County. The average market time for all detached homes fell by 14 days compared to the first half of 2011.
Attached homes were the big gainers when it came to transaction volume in the January-June period. All seven counties registered strong increases, ranging from 19 percent in Kendall County to 47 percent in McHenry. However, median prices of attached homes showed less of an upside. Only DuPage County, with a 1 percent gain, recorded any increase, and declines in this measure ranged from lows of 1 percent in Chicago and 4 percent in McHenry County to as much as 11 percent in Kendall County.
Average market time declined by 13 days for the entire metro area and tumbled as much as 36 days in Will County.
Another positive sign for the market is the continued decline in the percentage of sales accounted for by distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). Distressed properties accounted for 41.6 percent of all home sales during the first half of the year, which is 2.4 percent less than during the same period of 2011. In June, distressed sales were only 33.5 percent of the market.