DOWNERS GROVE – Sales of single-family, detached homes in suburban Chicago increased 28 percent in August 2013 compared with the same period a year ago, according to statistics released by the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS.
The region it covers – which includes about 200 communities in DuPage, Lake and suburban Cook counties – experienced notable sales gains last month, as reflected in information provided by Midwest Real Estate Data. The median sale price for detached homes also increased 17.5 percent from the previous August.
According to Michael Parent, president of MOR and vice president of operations for Burnet Title’s Chicago Region, the sustained activity is being driven by a number of factors, including lower inventory levels and rising interest rates.
“Lower inventory levels mean buyers are more involved, they don’t have their pick between 20 different homes,” Parent said. “That’s brought back a sense of anticipation and excitement that is really helping to move the market.”
Other notable trends include:
• Return to a preference for traditional listings, which are selling at a slightly quicker rate than distressed properties as buyers look to close quickly and move on with their lives.
• Upper-end homes priced over $500,000 moving very well in many local markets, with properties of all types and prices generally doing well across the board.
• Home prices on the rise overall, with prices still stabilizing in certain towns, such as in communities with high remaining inventories of distressed properties.
“Sellers have to be realistic about prices – remember, they still need to make it through the appraisal process,” Parent said.
Parent also noted rising interest rates and the prospect of tighter lending restrictions resulting from the Dodd-Frank Act are motivating buyers to act.
“It’s important not to wait: as interest rates increase, your buying power will go down,” Parent said.
Still, he said rates today remain very reasonable, noting that buyers in the ’80s and ’90s had to contend with double-digit interest rates.
“We’re now back to the norm,” he said. “Buy a starter home as a stepping stone, let your money work for you as the market continues to improve. Then in three to five years you can buy a bigger home. For a while, people wanted it all at once.
“Overall we’re heading in the right direction. I don’t think we can ask for more.”
In a year-to-year comparison of sales of single-family detached homes, several suburban communities saw increased sales activity, including Brookfield (140 percent increase from August 2012), Ingleside (129 percent), LaGrange Park (133 percent), Tinley Park (100 percent), Wauconda (127 percent), Wheaton (173 percent) and Winthrop Harbor (129 percent).
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