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RE/MAX: More Home Sales and More Stable Prices in April

The Chicago real estate market is looking up, according to a RE/MAX press release.

The Chicago real estate market saw rising sales and firmer home prices, according to an analysis by RE/MAX.

Home sales transactions increased 14 percent in DuPage in April, compared with April 2011. 

All seven metro-area counties saw gains, as well. The greatest gains were in Will County (up 38 percent) and McHenry County (up 25 percent). Transaction volume rose 18 percent in Cook, 22 percent in Kane, 8 percent in Lake and 1 percent in Kendall. In Chicago, home sales increased 18 percent.

Combined sales of attached and detached homes in the Chicago area were up 4.2 percent from March (6,501 to 6,771 units) and 18.5 percent up from April 2011 (5,713 to 6,771 units). 

Sale prices for homes have stabilized, as well. 

In DuPage County, the median price rose 10 percent to $209,000. The median price for the Chicago area was down 1.8 percent from April 2011 but 4.6 percent higher from March, when the median price was $153,000. 

The April-to-April change in median price was the smallest 12-month price decline in the last two years, according to RE/MAX. Its analysis is based on transaction information compiled by Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC.

RE/MAX Northern Illinois spokesperson Laura Ortoleva said one important factor in the stabilization of home prices has been the decreasing inventory of Chicago-area homes for sale. The number of properties listed for sale fell 25 percent from the end of March to the end of April.

Another factor aiding prices was the continuing decline in the percentage of sales during March and April that involved distressed properties. Distressed sales, which include foreclosed homes and short sales, fell from 52 percent of all sales in February to 40 percent in April.

The average market time in April was 172 days, compared with 184 days in April of last year. The average market time declined in each of the seven counties.

Attached Homes

Sales of attached homes (primarily townhouses and condominium apartments) in the metro area rose 23 percent in April when compared with April 2011. Transaction volume in the seven-county area totaled 2,516 units compared to 2,044 a year earlier. April sales were also 6 percent higher than those in March of this year.

In DuPage County, transaction volume rose 6 percent to 267 units in DuPage County. 

Overall, six of the seven counties showed an increase in sales activity, led by McHenry County where 60 closings constituted a 93 percent increase compared to April 2011. Sales activity was up 52 percent in Lake County to 150 units, up 38 percent in Will County to 117 units and up 36 percent in Kane County to 94 units. Transactions rose 22 percent in Cook to 1,790 units and 21 percent in Chicago, which accounted for 1,074 closings.  

The median price for attached homes sold in the seven-county area during March was $130,000, compared with $137,000 a year earlier and $123,550 during March of this year. The median price for attached sales rose in DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties, as well as in Chicago. The 9 percent increase in DuPage County, which resulted in a median of $122,500, was the largest gain. Kendall County had the most pronounced decline in median price, a 15 percent decrease to $91,000.

Detached Homes

Sales of detached homes were 16 percent higher in April than in the same month of 2011 rising to 4,255 units. April sales were 3.1 percent higher than in March of this year.

Six of the seven counties showed increases in detached sales compared to April 2011. Will County registered the largest increase, with a 38 percent gain. Sales were up 15 percent in Cook, 19 percent in DuPage, 20 percent in Kane, 5 percent in Kendall and 14 percent in McHenry. Sales in Chicago rose 14 percent. LakeCounty saw a slight decrease of 1.4 percent.

The median price of detached homes was nearly unchanged in April compared to a year ago, coming in at $176,500 compared to $177,000 in April 2011. The median price in March of this year was $169,000.

Three counties, DuPage, Kane and Kendall, recorded increases in the median sales price of detached homes. Kane had the biggest gain at 17 percent, followed by DuPage with 6 percent and Kendall with 4 percent. The other counties had declines in the median price that ranged from 13 percent in Lake and 4 percent in Cook to 2 percent in McHenry and 1 percent in Will. The median price in Chicago was down 0.4 percent.

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