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Average market time for home sales drops below 100 days

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

CHICAGO – Eager homebuyers reduced the average market time for homes sold during July to only 97 days in the seven-county metropolitan Chicago real estate market.

It is the first time the monthly average has dropped below 100 days since September 2006, the height of the housing boom, RE/MAX reports.

The faster pace of July sales was accompanied by robust residential sales totals and strong growth in home values. The RE/MAX analysis compared July sales this year to those of July 2012.

Home sales in the metro area totaled 11,739 units, up 36 percent from the prior July, while the median sales price climbed 19 percent, to $204,975.

The July results yielded the largest percentage increase in both transactions and median sales price of any month this year.

The supply of homes for sale expanded in July, rising to 34,472 detached and attached properties, which was the largest inventory number for any month this year.  Based on the July sales pace, there is currently a 2.9 month supply of homes on the market. A year ago, there was a 5.6 month supply. 

“What seems to be driving the housing market right now is a combination of factors, starting with strong demand from buyers and an inventory that remains quite limited compared to that demand,” said Laura Ortoleva, spokeswoman for RE/MAX in northern Illinois. “Rising mortgage interest rates are another motivating factor for buyers. Rising rents are making the option of home ownership more attractive to renters.”

Ortoleva said home prices have moved higher, and while they may not be back to the levels of 2007 in most areas, they are encouraging homeowners interested in selling to list their properties. 

“That has helped the inventory level a bit, but we are seeing what amount to sellers’ markets emerging in some parts of the metro area,” she said.    

Sales of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) represented 29 percent of all July home sales, compared to 36 percent a year earlier and just 28 percent in June of this year.

The faster pace of sales was seen in all seven metro counties during July, as were increases in the number of homes sold and the median sales price.

Average market time was less than 110 days in six of the seven counties, most importantly in Cook County, where it was just 90 days, including an average of 78 days in the city of Chicago. Cook County accounted for 55 percent of July home sales in the metro area.

The median sales price climbed at least 7 percent in all seven counties when compared to July of last year, led by a 23 percent increase in Cook County to a median of $208,900. The median price increases in the other counties were: 10 percent in DuPage, to $241,000; 19 percent in Kane, to $173,000; 18 percent in Kendall, to $184,500; 15 percent in Lake, to $220,000; 7 percent in McHenry, to $165,000; and 16 percent in Will, to $185,000. The median price in Chicago jumped 25 percent, to $247,000.  

The number of homes sold in July climbed at least 15 percent year-over-year in all seven counties and Chicago. Sales rose 54 percent in McHenry County, to 525 units, while they were up 46 percent in DuPage, to 1,527 units; 43 percent in Kane, to 821 units; 40 percent in Lake, to 1,202 units; 36 percent in Will, to 1,006 units; 33 percent in Cook, to 6,441 units; and 15 percent in Kendall, to 216 units. Sales in Chicago rose 32 percent to 2,890 units. 

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