CHICAGO, April 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The metro Chicago housing market burst into bloom even before the first daffodils opened, with March home sales activity hitting its highest level since 2006. In the seven-county metro area, a total of 8,078 home sale transactions were closed in March, 13 percent more than the 7,169 sales in March of last year and just more than the 8,057 sales transactions recorded in March 2007.
Home prices were on a similar trajectory last month, with the median sales price for homes in the metro area reaching $205,000, 16 percent higher than in March of last year and the highest March median sales price since 2008.
"The gains we saw in March resulted primarily from a combination of strong demand and an expanding inventory of homes for sale," said Jim Merrion, regional director of the RE/MAX Northern Illinois real estate network. "Plus, mortgage interest rates remain extremely attractive. We anticipate the current trends to continue through the next two quarters at a minimum."
The RE/MAX analysis is based on sales data about attached and detached homes in the Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will as gathered by MRED LLC, the regional multiple listing service.
Another factor that helped drive the median sales price higher was the continuing shrinkage in the percentage of transactions that involved short sales or foreclosures, so called distressed homes. In March, distressed homes accounted for 28 percent of all sales in the metro Chicago area, compared to 37 percent of March sales a year earlier and 44 percent in 2012.
Sales activity rose in six of the seven counties, led by Will County, which had a 22 percent increase. Other gains were 14 percent in Cook, 9 percent in DuPage, 8 percent in Kane, 3 percent in Lake and 18 percent in McHenry.
The median sales price rose in all seven countries: 19 percent in Cook, 10 percent in DuPage, 22 percent in Kane, 7 percent in Kendall, 18 percent in Lake, 8 percent in McHenry and 10 percent in Will.
Chicago had a 15 percent increase in sales activity and an 11 percent gain in the median price.
March sales activity was especially strong in the detached-home segment of the metro Chicago market, where 5,096 transactions were closed in March, up 18 percent from March of 2014 and the most for any March since 2006. The median sales price for detached homes gained 13 percent to $215,174 when compared to March of last year.
The attached-home portion of the market, consisting largely of condominium units and townhouses, registered a 5 percent increase in closed transactions, with 2,982 properties changing hands. However, the median sales price climbed a remarkable 17 percent to $182,500, compared to $156,000 a year earlier.
"Our feeling is that the attached market was impacted by what may have been a lack of inventory in the suburbs. Chicago saw a 17 percent increase in attached sales last month, so clearly there is strong demand," Merrion said. "In the suburban areas we saw the average market time for attached homes generally remained well under 100 days, and there were substantial increases in median sales price in many areas."
In Lake County, for example, the March median sales price of attached homes was 26 percent higher than in March 2014, and average market time fell 17 days to a brisk 81 days for sold properties. In DuPage County, the median price rose 18 percent and average market time was 89 days.
RE/MAX has been the leader in the northern Illinois real estate market since 1989 and is continually growing. The RE/MAX Northern Illinois network, with headquarters in Elgin, Ill., consists of 2,200+ sales associates and 105 independently owned and operated RE/MAX offices that provide a full range of residential and commercial brokerage services. Its mobile real estate app, available for download at www.illinoisproperty.com, provides comprehensive information about residential and commercial property for sale in the region. The northern Illinois network is part of RE/MAX, a global real estate organization with 100,000+ sales associates in 90+ nations.
SOURCE RE/MAX Northern Illinois