The pace of January home sales in the seven-county metropolitan Chicago real estate market continued the positive trend seen over the last nine months, according to an analysis by RE/MAX. Compared to the results of January 2012, this January saw the number of homes changing hands rising 36 percent more than in January of last year, while the median price moved up three-tenths of a percent to $140,400.
Looking at data on home sales recorded by Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC, the regional multiple listing service, RE/MAX reports that January home sales totaled 6,141 units, up from 4,509 units a year ago.
“The absolute number of homes sold in January tends to be relatively modest in relationship to other months, but the 36 percent year-over-year increase suggests that the rebound in housing activity is maintaining, if not increasing, its momentum,” said Laura Ortoleva, media spokesperson for the RE/MAX Northern Illinois real estate network. Another piece of data supporting that conclusion was the reduction of 32 days in the average time that a home sold in January spent on the market before a sales contract was signed. Known as average market time, this period fell from 174 days in January 2012 to 142 days this January.
Sales registered a solid increase in all seven metro counties in January, ranging from highs of 69 percent in Kendall County and 39 percent in Cook County to 28 percent in both McHenry and Will counties. The median sales price rose in four counties and slipped in 3, but all changes, both positive and negative, were 5 percent or less. In Chicago, sales activity climbed 33 percent and the median price rose 7 percent to $155,000.
As has been the case in January for the last several years, there was a considerable uptick in the percentage of home sales involving distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). Distressed sales accounted for 49 percent of all January sales this year, up from 44 percent a month earlier but down from 52 percent in January 2012.
For detached homes, the median price rose to $158,000 in January, up 4 percent from $152,000 a year earlier. The average time those homes spent on the market fell from 167 days in 2012 to 140 days this year. Detached-home sales in the metro market increased by 34 percent in January to 3,876 units from 2,890 units a year earlier.
All seven metro counties, as well as the City of Chicago, showed gains in detached sales, and the median price rose in five counties and in the city. In terms of sales gains, the strongest performance was in Kendall County, where sales were 59 percent higher this January than last. The next best result was in Cook County where the gain was 42 percent, followed by DuPage, up 36 percent; Kane, up 27 percent; McHenry, up 26 percent; Lake, up 22 percent, and Will, up 14 percent. Sales in Chicago climbed 36 percent.
Kane County was the top performer in terms of improved home prices, with the median price rising 17 percent to $153,750. Other changes in the median price were as follows: up 2 percent in Cook to $140,000; down 3 percent in DuPage to $230,000; up 5 percent in Kendall to $176,750; up 2 percent in Lake to $167,000; down 2 percent in McHenry to $152,000; up 11 percent in Will to $167,000 and up 6 percent in Chicago to $125,000.
The average market time shortened in all seven counties, but the drop in Kendall County was dramatic, as the average fell from 218 days in January 2012 to just 97 days this January.
For attached homes, the picture in January was somewhat similar but not identical. Sales volume was up 40 percent in the seven-county area to 2,265 units when compared to January 2012, and the average market time dropped to 145 days from 187 days. The median price slipped to $111,000 from $115,250 a year ago, a 4 percent decline.
Sales volume climbed in all seven counties, with the collar counties showing the most robust gains. Leading were Will and Kendall, with increases of 103 percent and 92 percent, respectively. Results for the other counties were as follows: Cook, up 35 percent; DuPage, up 28 percent; Kane, up 57 percent; Lake, up 60 percent, and McHenry, up 39 percent. Sales volume climbed 31 percent in Chicago, which also had the most positive change in median price, a gain of 8 percent to $200,000. This jump had a positive impact on Cook County, which accounted for 68 percent of all attached sales in the metro area during January. Cook recorded an increase in its median sales price of 0.8 percent to $126,000. The median price also crept up 0.1 percent in Will County to $105,000.
Average market time also shortened across the metro area, especially in DuPage and Will Counties, where the improvement was 71 days and 64 days, respectively.