Metro Chicago third quarter sales volume highest since 2007

The following market update arrived via a news release from RE/MAX Northern Illinois:

The residential segment of the metropolitan Chicago real estate market extended the upswing experienced in the first half of 2012 through the third quarter, registering the largest number of third-quarter home sales since 2007. According to an analysis by RE/MAX, home sales in the seven-county metro area rose 27 percent in the third quarter to 25,300 units. A year ago, third-quarter sales rose 20 percent to 19,911 units.

The 27 percent gain in transaction volume recorded during the third quarter outstripped the 22 percent increase in year-over-year sales registered during the first six months of 2012.

At the same time, the average number of days required for a home to go under contract after going on the market fell to 139 days in the third quarter, down from 166 days a year earlier. It was the lowest average market time since 2007.

The good news continued on the pricing front. The median sales price of a home sold in metro Chicago rose from $160,000 during the first half of 2012 to $169,000 during the third quarter, delivering a 5.6 percent gain. Third-quarter median prices declined 3.4 percent from the same period last year, comparing favorably to the 7.8 percent decline recorded for the third quarter a year earlier.

“Double-digit increases in home sales, a drop in market time and an increase in home prices, coupled with a prediction of gas prices declining significantly at the pump reflect a recovering economy and a soon-to-be-felt surge in consumer confidence,” said Laura Ortoleva, media spokesperson for the RE/MAX Northern Illinois real estate network.

Third-quarter home sales rose in all seven counties in the metro Chicago real estate market, compared to the same period in 2011. Cook County led with a 30 percent increase. Sales were up 28 percent in McHenry and Will counties, 26 percent in Lake County, 23 percent in Kendall County, 22 percent in Kane County and 21 percent in DuPage County. Sales in Chicago rose 25 percent.

Average market time improved in all seven counties. Kendall County led with a decrease of 49 days, while market time in McHenry County decreased by 36 days. Market-time reductions in the five other counties and in Chicago ranged from 25 to 28 days.

Median prices for the third quarter were higher than those in the first half of 2012. Compared to the first half of this year, the median price rose in five counties: Cook, DuPage, Kendall, Lake and McHenry, but fell in Will and Kane. Kendall showed an increase in median price (3 percent) compared to the year-earlier period, while declines in the other counties were 6 percent or less.

The attached-home segment, which consists primarily of townhouses and condominium apartments, recorded a strong increase in sales activity (up 34 percent) and a large decrease in average market time (down to 146 days from 182 days). The median price of an attached home was $134,000, down 6 percent from the third quarter of 2011 and 3 percent higher than during the first half of 2012.

Sales of detached homes rose 23 percent, with average market time falling from 158 to 135 days. The median price for detached homes during the third quarter was $187,500, 6.5 percent higher than during the first half of this year.

Sales of distressed homes (short sales and foreclosures) occurred at a faster pace than the market as a whole, increasing 31 percent for the quarter. The average market time for distressed properties fell from 165 to 135 days. Distressed properties accounted for 38 percent of all sales through the third quarter.

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