The fourth quarter may be a time of plummeting temperatures in Chicago and greater Illinois, but the change of the seasons had little effort on the quarter’s home sales, which posted surging gains for both areas.
According to the latest data from the Illinois Association of Realtors, sales in the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area were up 20.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010, while quarterly sales in Illinois climbed 14.8 percent year-over-year and 11.1 for the city of Chicago.
Bob Floss, the president of the Chicago Association of Realtors, said buyers continue to come out strong in the Chicago markets and drive sales.
“Chicago continues to show an absorption of properties in the market by aggressive buyers seeking great opportunities to purchase now,” Floss said. “With interest rates at historic lows and sellers and buyers looking to make real deals close, 2012 remains an excellent time for first-time, right-size buyers, or investors to get off the fence and make long-term investments in real estate.”
Loretta Alonzo, the president of the Illinois Association of Realtors, was similarly positive in her comments.
“For homebuyers who are feeling confident enough to re-enter the housing market, this data shows there is great opportunity for them,” Alonzo said. “Growing optimism about the economy and low interest rates generated a lot of interest in real estate in the final part of the year.”
The 2011 fourth quarter interest rate for 30-year, FRMs averaged 4.0 percent in the North Central Region, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. It was down from 4.31 percent in the third quarter and also down from 4.44 percent a year ago.
One area both Chicago and Illinois continue to struggle with, though, is pricing. Year-over-year prices for Illinois were down 10.8 percent, and in the Chicago are, they were down 14.0 percent, and in Chicago itself, 8.6 percent.
Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois, said that he expects year-over-year sales gains to continue in 2012.
“Looking forward there is the likelihood that there will be year-over-year sales gains in the state through the first quarter of 2012,” Hewings said. “While we are seeing the time on market for homes decline to less than ten months, the large foreclosure inventory could create some challenges in the housing market this year.”