FOR RELEASE: February 21, 2014

For Further Information Contact: Stephanie Sievers, 217-529-2600

Severe winter weather cools January home sales but median prices continue year-over-year march upward

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The polar vortex and lower inventory levels may have affected January home sales which dipped 7.5 percent compared to last year, but median home prices climbed 9.6 percent over previous-year levels, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in January 2014 totaled 7,997 homes sold, down from 8,650 in January 2013. The number of houses on the market in January was down 19.9 percent compared to a year earlier, dropping from 70,254 homes for sale in January 2013 to 56,275 this year.

Home prices continued to make strong gains. The statewide median price in January was $136,950, up 9.6 percent from January 2013 when the median price was $125,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

"Severe winter weather and seasonal trends definitely affected sales in January," said Phil Chiles, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and Broker-Associate with The Real Estate Group in Springfield. "Despite diminished traffic from buyers, prices remained robust and indications are that they will continue to show strength as we enter the spring selling season."

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 4.46 percent in January 2014, down from 4.48 percent in December, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In January 2013 it averaged 3.40 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in January 2014 totaled 5,785 homes sold, down 8.9 percent from January 2013 sales of 6,353 homes.

The median price in January 2014 was $164,900 in the Chicago PMSA, up 17.8 percent from $140,000 in January 2013. The time it took to sell a home continued to drop year-over-year in January with listings averaging 71 days until sale, an 18.4 percent decrease compared to 87 days in January 2013.

“While sales growth rates sagged in January, median prices continued to rebound in both Chicago and Illinois,” noted Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois. 

Thirty (30) of 102 counties in Illinois showed annual home sales increases in January 2014. Forty-three (43) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Peoria, up 36.9 percent to $92,750; Champaign, up 28.3 percent to $141,000; Cook, up 19.4 percent to $160,000; McHenry, up 14.2 percent to $145,000; and Kankakee, up 3.5 percent to $103,000.

The city of Chicago saw a 9.1 percent year-over-year home sales decline in January 2014 with 1,383 sales, down from 1,521 in January 2013. The median price also rose to $200,750 versus $157,000 in January 2013, an impressive 27.9 percent annual increase.

"January’s activity is fairly typical for this time of year,” said Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner of Urban Real Estate. "A brutal winter doesn’t typically encourage home shopping fever in Chicago, and with inventory down  25 percent, the homes that did sell produced well above the median price by almost 28 percent to just over $200,000.”

“Investor opportunities and first-time homebuyers are still finding deals in a market that we might not see again for years to come," Farrell added.

Sales and price information is generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 30 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of Feb. 7, 2014 for the period Jan. 1 through Jan. 31, 2014. The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

The Illinois Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association whose 41,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, the Illinois Association of REALTORS® works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation to safeguard and advance the interest of real property ownership.

Find Illinois housing stats, data and the University of Illinois REAL forecast at www.illinoisrealtor.org/marketstats.        

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MEDIA ONLY: Economist Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings will be available for media interviews between 9 a.m. and noon CST on Feb. 21. 

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