Home sales in May offered some encouraging news for the metropolitan Chicago real estate market, according to an analysis by RE/MAX. Compared to activity in May 2011, sales this May were 23 percent higher. The average time those homes spent on the market before finding a buyer fell by 14 percent to 160 days. The median sales price of a home rose 1 percent.
RE/MAX counted 8,194 home sales in the seven-county Chicago metro area in May, up from 6,644 in May of last year. It was the highest May total since 2007. The median price rose to $172,000 from $170,000. The inventory of homes for sale was 18 percent lower than it was a year earlier. The RE/MAX analysis is based on transaction information from Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC.
“The fact that the market gained strength during the second quarter, which is traditionally the busiest time of the year for home sales activity, is a good sign for the longer-term outlook,” said Laura Ortoleva, a spokesperson for the RE/MAX Northern Illinois real estate network. “We expect to see similarly positive results in June.”
May sales also turned in a solid performance when compared to activity during April, the prior month. Sales in the metro area were up 20 percent, and the median sales price rose 7.5 percent.
Among positive factors boosting the Chicagoland housing market this spring, according to RE/MAX, has been a steady slide in the percentage of sales involving distressed properties. Distressed sales, which include short sales and foreclosed homes, accounted for 36 percent of all sales in May, down from 52 percent in February.
The number of home sales transactions completed increased in six of seven metro-area counties during May when compared to the same month in 2011. The greatest gains were in DuPage and Will counties (both up 29 percent), while McHenry County was up 27 percent and Cook County gained 26 percent. Sales climbed 15 percent in Lake County and 6 percent in Kane County. In Kendall County, May 2012 sales were just a single transaction short of the May 2011 total. In Chicago, sales activity rose 19 percent.
The median sales price rose in three of the seven counties, including Cook, the largest in terms of total transactions. Kane and McHenry were the two other counties in which median prices increased. Home prices were also up in Chicago, registering a 6 percent increase.
The average time it took for a home sold in May to go under contract declined in all seven counties, led by Kendall where the average fell from 201 days a year earlier to 116 days this May. The average market time declined at least 20 days in all counties except McHenry, which had a nine-day reduction. In the City of Chicago, market time fell by 25 days to an average of 142 days.
Sales of detached homes rose 22 percent in May compared to the same month of 2011, rising to 5,163 units. May sales also were 20 percent higher than in April of this year.
Sales of detached homes increased in six of the seven counties compared to May 2011. The steepest increase, 32 percent, was in McHenry County. As for the other counties, sales were up 27 percent in Will, 25 percent in Cook and DuPage, 15 percent in Lake and 7 percent in Kane. In Kendall County, sales slipped by 4 percent or 5 units. Sales in Chicago rose 9 percent.
The median price of detached homes in May was $187,500, up 4 percent from the $180,000 median price a year ago and 6 percent higher than in April of this year.
The median sales price of detached homes rose in Cook (up 6 percent), DuPage (up 4 percent), Kane (up 7 percent) and Lake (up 1 percent) counties and was unchanged in Will County. Kendall and McHenry counties had a lower median price this May than in May of last year. The median sales price in Chicago showed sharp improvement, rising 13 percent to $149,950.
An increase of 26 percent in closed sales in May across the metro area shows that the market for attached homes (primarily townhouses and condominium apartments) is continuing its 2012 rebound. Transaction volume in the seven-county area totaled 3,031 units compared to 2,397 a year earlier and 2,516 during the prior month.
The number of attached homes sold was higher in all seven counties during May, but the size of the increases varied widely. Sales were up 38 percent in Will County and 37 percent in DuPage County, 27 percent in Cook County, 16 percent in Lake, 11 percent in Kendall, 6 percent in McHenry and 2 percent in Kane. In Chicago, May sales activity was 25 percent higher than in the same month of 2011.
The median price for attached homes sold in the seven-county area during May was $141,000, compared to $145,000 a year earlier and $130,000 during April of this year. The median price for attached homes fell in six of the seven counties and in Chicago. McHenry County had the only increase, gaining 6 percent to $105,000. The decline in Will County was 18 percent, while the other declines were substantially smaller: 6 percent in Kendall, 4 percent in Cook and Kane, 2 percent in Chicago, and 1 percent in Lake and DuPage.