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The Latest Numbers: Sales Down, Prices Up in Chicago Housing Market

Sales Down, Prices Up

Sales Down, Prices Up

Home sales continued their downward trend during the heart of the summer selling season, according to the latest sales numbers from the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

The good news though, is that those Chicago condominiums and single-family homes that do sell this summer are fetching higher prices.

According to the REALTORS® association, the city of Chicago saw 2,664 home sales in July of this year, down 8.2 percent from the same month one year earlier. In July of 2012, the city of Chicago saw 2,902 home sales.

On the positive side, the median price of homes sold during July in Chicago rose to $270,000. In July of 2013, those homes that sold in the city fetched a median sales price of just $250,000, or 8 percent less during the same month this year.

The median price is not to be confused with the average home sales price. The median price is that price at which half of all homes sold for a higher amount and half sold for a lower figure. In July, half of all Chicago homes sold for less than $270,000, while half sold for more than that amount.

This is not a new trend in the city. Housing sales have been slowing for months while median prices have been on the rise. If you’re trying to sell a house, it’s necessary to work with an educated REALTOR® who can market your home to the widest pool of potential buyers. A REALTOR® will ensure you receive a fair price for your Chicago condo or single-family home.

And if you’re buying? You need a REALTOR® to make sure that you don’t overpay for a home. The inventory of available single-family homes and condos in Chicago is tight today. The right REALTOR® can help you locate your dream home during times of tighter inventory, and will make sure you pay the right price.

Spoken by Mario Greco | Discussion: No Comments »

Crain’s Conclusion: Plenty of Positives in Today’s Chicago Housing Market

Crain’s Conclusion: Plenty of Positives in Today’s Chicago Housing Market

Crain’s Conclusion: Plenty of Positives in Today’s Chicago Housing Market

Crain’s Chicago Business recently attempted to sum up the current state of the Chicago housing market. Crain’s conclusion? It found four signs that the Chicago housing market was in solid shape and a potential red flag that future problems might await.

First, the good news. Crain’s reported that in June non-distressed homes — homes that were not sold through the foreclosure or short sale processes — accounted for nearly 78% of all the home sales in the Chicago region. This is the highest that this figure has been for at least 3.5 years, according to the Crain’s story.

Don’t believe that the region is free of its foreclosure problems. As the Crain’s story says, Illinois is still struggling with the 3rd highest foreclosure rate in the country. But the high percentage of non-distressed home sales in June is certainly a good sign.

Crain’s also reported that Chicago-area homes are taking less time to sell. In June, homes in the area sold in an average of 71 days, according to Crain’s, about 25 days faster than during the same month one year earlier. And back in 2011, it took Chicago-area residents an average of 180 days to sell their properties.

In more positive news, the rate at which local home prices are appreciating is slowing. That might sound like bad news. But as Crain’s explains, no one wants to see housing prices rise too high too quickly. That happened before, and it led to the housing crash that started in late 2006 and early 2007.

Finally, the number of home sales in the Chicago area is on the rise again, Crain’s said. In June, the nine-county Chicago area saw 8,801 home sales. That was up 10% from the 7,998 homes sold in June of 2013, according to Crain’s.

The news, though, isn’t all good. Crain’s said the number of homes available for sale in the Chicago area continues to be too low for demand. That is making life difficult for potential buyers who are struggling to find homes in the most desirable of Chicago neighborhoods.

Spoken by Mario Greco | Discussion: No Comments »

Don’t Overspend on Your Chicago Condo or Single-Family Home

Don’t Overspend on Your Chicago Condo or Single-Family Home

Don’t Overspend on Your Chicago Condo or Single-Family Home

There’s more to owning a house than your monthly mortgage payment. Homeownership comes with a host of other costs; everything from property taxes, monthly assessments and homeowners insurance to those unexpected maintenance costs.

That’s why it’s so important to not buy a home that’s too costly for your monthly income.

The Chicago Tribune recently ran a story taking a look at just how expensive owning a home can be. It’s a must-read for anyone looking to buy a first home or upgrade to a larger residence.

I firmly believe that purchasing a home is a wonderful investment. There are also intangible benefits to owning a home: A home is a safe harbor for you and your family, a place to celebrate important milestones.

But you also have to be realistic when buying a condominium or single-family home. If you overspend on your home, you won’t enjoy it. You’ll be too busy trying to pay your bills on time each month. Overspending on a home can eventually lead to missed mortgage payments and, in the worst cases, foreclosure.

So work closely with your REALTOR® to find a home that fits comfortably in your budget. The good news is that Chicago offers homes at a wide variety of price points. Finding one that you can afford should be doable.

According to the Tribune story, though, about one-third of homeowners in the Chicago area are cost-burdened. This means that they spend more than 30% of their monthly incomes on housing costs. The story adds that 14% of Chicago-area homeowners are severely cost-burdened. These owners spend more than half of their income on housing.

Spending this much on your Chicago home is truly a burden. Avoid this mistake by not stretching your budget when shopping Chicago condos or single-family homes. That bigger home might have everything you want. But you won’t appreciate it when you’re struggling to cover the mortgage bill each month.

Spoken by Mario Greco | Discussion: 5 Comments »

Why Your Home Isn’t Selling

Dated decor photo via MSN & Realtor.com

Dated decor photo via MSN & Realtor.com

You know that home sales are supposed to hit their peak in Chicago during the city’s summer months. This is the prime time of the year for many home buyers.
But your house has been sitting on the market for months, drawing barely a showing. What’s wrong?

Well, selling a home is a challenging job. There could be several problems keeping your Chicago condominium or single-family home from selling. This story from MSN Real Estate lists several potential problems. But in my experience, here are three of the most likely reasons why your home isn’t attracting offers.

Price: If you’ve set the wrong listing price, you won’t sell your home. Period. Far too many homeowners want to list their homes at an unreasonably high asking price. This is especially true for those owners who purchased their condos or single-family homes during the height of the housing boom. The truth is, buyers today won’t overpay for your home, no matter how nice it is. Buyers understand what homes are selling for these days. Asking them to pay more for your home won’t work. They don’t care how much you spent for your residence in 2005.

Curb appeal: The inside of your home might be sparkling. It might boast a renovated kitchen or a large master bathroom. Many buyers, though, will never see these features if your front law is choked with weeds or your driveway is cracked and dotted with holes. Curb appeal matters. Many potential buyers will simply move on when they see a home with an overgrown lawn or peeling paint. They won’t even step inside the residence.  Spend some time planting flowers, pulling weeds and painting your porch railing. You don’t want to drive away potential buyers before they even have a chance to tour your home.

Clutter: Buyers want to tour homes that are spacious and airy. If your home is filled with too much furniture, knick-knacks or personal items, your home instead will feel small and dark. Potential buyers won’t be able to picture themselves and their families living in your home. Take some time to clean out as much furniture and personal items as possible. And, if your budget allows for it, hire a professional stager to make your home look its absolute best.

Spoken by Mario Greco | Discussion: 4 Comments »

Are You Ready for a Small Home?

How small of a home could you live in? That’s the question asked by a recent story in Crain’s Chicago Business.

The story highlights the case of Doug Immel, who lives near Providence, R.I. Immel recently moved into his dream home, one that boasted just 164 square feet of living space.

That’s pretty small. But as the teacher says in the story, the home was also inexpensive, costing just $28,000. This means that Immel has no mortgage. Instead, he invests the money he would have otherwise spent on mortgage payments into a mutual fund. He says it’s a protection against any future job losses.

Of course, 164 square feet is far too small for most people. But Immel’s story isn’t just an oddity. There are plenty of U.S. home buyers who prefer smaller homes to sprawling mansions. Not only do smaller homes cost fewer dollars to buy, they also suck up less money to maintain. And everything from housework to lawn work becomes simpler when you’re living in a smaller home.

The good news for Chicago buyers? It’s not that difficult to find an affordable smaller home in today’s market. Yes, housing prices have been rising for the last several months. But they’re still far below where they stood in late 2005 and early 2006, the peak months of the former U.S. housing boom. This means that smart buyers can find good small homes at solid prices in even the most desirable of Chicago neighborhoods, places like Lincoln Square, Lincoln Park and Lakeview.

Of course, you’ll have to consider several factors before you decide to purchase a small home in the city. There are plenty of positives with owning a home with fewer square feet. But there are challenges, too. You’ll need to determine just how much space your family realistically needs. Remember, in a small home there aren’t as many places where you and your family members can escape for privacy or quiet time.

But if a small home is right for your family, Chicago offers plenty of reasonably priced condominiums and single-family homes today.

Spoken by Mario Greco | Discussion: 1 Comment »

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