An inside look at Chicago real estate

Increase in Existing Home Sales Surprises Economists

Mark.Miles By
Mark Miles
   | Market News

The latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that February home sales for existing properties rose from the previous month by 2.9% countrywide. It is the first time we’ve seen a sales boost since July of 2007 and it’s the biggest increase in a year. The slight jump was a surprise to economists who believed February’s national home sales volume would decrease from January’s numbers. Some say the increase is due to sellers dropping their sale prices, which would explain the decrease in median sales prices of 8.2% from a year ago.

Although the Illinois housing market experienced a decline in single-family home and condo sales from February of last year, there was a 15% increase in sales from January of this year, according to reports from the Illinois Association of Realtors. In Chicago, median condo sale prices were up 10% from February of 2007, however the number of condo sales in the city fell by nearly 10%. The rest of the Chicago’s residential real estate saw similar trends with existing home sales falling from a year earlier, but sales prices remaining fairly stable with an increase of 0.1%.

Even though industry analysts were surprised by the new NAR report, they are cautious to interpret this as the mark of a turnaround for the national housing market. Still, real estate experts and economists point out that mortgage rates continue to be low, offering barrowers good deals on their home loans now. Plus, the surplus of inventory won’t last forever, especially if this rise in sales volume indicates an increase in overall sales activity.