Real estate rebound? Existing-home sales inch upward in Chicago region
By Mary Ellen Podmolik
August 18, 2009
July sales of existing homes in the Chicago region posted the first year-over-year gain in at least two years, a sign that the local housing market may have, from a sales volume standpoint, bottomed out.
The same cannot be said of prices, which, while showing improvement on a monthly basis, remain far below year-ago levels.
There were 7,828 homes sold during July in an area that includes much of northern Illinois and parts of southern Wisconsin and northwest Indiana, according to Midwest Real Estate Data LLC, the local provider of real estate data to the industry. That compares with 7,642 sales the previous month and 7,752 sales in July 2008.
That's an improvement of only 76 homes from a year earlier, but in the current economic environment, the housing industry welcomes any gain it can get.
The median sales price of $208,700 in July compared with $205,000 in June. However, the median sales price of a home in July 2008 was $249,000.
Many of the purchases are thought to have been made by investors capitalizing on the large number of distressed properties on the market and by first-time buyers taking advantage of the $8,000 federal tax credit that expires Dec. 1.
Some 37 percent of local properties sold last month were either foreclosures or short sales, Re/Max International Chairman Dave Liniger, said Monday while in Chicago.
"It appears we have bottomed out in the real estate problem here," Liniger said.
He added if Congress does not extend the tax credit, as the housing industry has called for, there will be panic buying of properties in October in order to secure the credit, and then the real estate market will again drop.
Sales of existing homes statewide and the Chicago area, as reported by the Illinois Association of Realtors, are scheduled to be released Friday.
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