CHICAGO, April 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Home sales in the metropolitan Chicago area continued to lag last year's levels in March and throughout the first quarter of 2018, extending a trend that began in mid-2017, RE/MAX reports.
First-quarter homes sales in the seven-county metro area totaled 20,198 units, dropping -7.6% from the same quarter last year, while in March there were 8,725 sales completed, -8.7% less than March 2017.
Nonetheless, the median sales price for homes in the first quarter and March topped year-earlier figures. For the quarter, the median sales price was $235,000, up +6.8%, while for March the median price of $244,990 represented a +4.7% increase.
"The shortage of homes for sale continues to play a dominant role in the market," observed Jeff LaGrange, Vice President, RE/MAX Northern Illinois Region. "The total listing inventory at the end of March was -8.8% below the comparable 2017 level, but for single-family homes, the decline was even more severe, with supply down -11.9 percent."
LaGrange pointed out that compared to the current year, March 2015 sales were only -4.4% lower at 8,322 units, but the end-of-month inventory was +23.4% higher.
"Given the inventory buyers are working with today, the level of sales is quite good, but clearly the market would benefit from greater supply," LaGrange said. "We've seen a combination of lower sales and a higher median price nearly every month for the last three quarters, and that situation seems likely to continue for some time."
Homes sold during the first quarter and in March spent an average of 98 days on the market before going under contract. That is four days less than during the same quarter last year and two days less than March 2017.
Sales data used by RE/MAX is collected by MRED, the regional multiple listing service. It covers detached and attached homes in the Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will. Detached homes are typically stand-alone single-family dwellings. Attached homes include condominium and cooperative apartments along with townhouses.
The first-quarter results for the metro area were largely echoed in the results for each of the seven counties. All seven counties saw total sales decline, and all registered a higher median sales price.
The only double-digit sales activity declines were in Will, at -10.9%, and Kane, at -10%. The other counties saw sales fall between -1.9% and -8%. Price increases ranged from +1.3% in Lake to +11.3% in McHenry. In Chicago, sales dipped -5.6%, while the median price rose +5.9%.
Sales of Detached Home
On a quarterly basis, detached-homes sales fell -7.4% to 12,595 units in the metro area, and the median sales price rose +6% to $249,000. However, the impact of the limited inventory was felt more sharply in March, with sales down -11.7%, even as the median price gained +4% to $260,000. Average market time for the quarter shortened to 109 days from 114 days last year.
All seven counties experienced lower quarterly sales activity, ranging from -2.6% in DuPage to -10.6% in Kendall. Median prices rose across the board, with McHenry leading the way at +7.4%, followed by Cook at +6.8%.
Chicago's first quarter delivered a +7% increase in the median sales price of a detached home, while sales activity fell -5.4%.
Sales of Attached Homes
The attached-home market benefitted from a more stable supply of properties for sale, with the inventory at the end of March just -0.5% lower than it was a year earlier. Sales for the quarter were 7,603 units, -4.7% lower than in the same period last year, while the median sales price climbed +8.1% to $204,000. Average market time was 80 days, two days less than last year.
The median price climbed in all seven counties and in Chicago, led by increases of +18.8% in Kendall, +12.7% in McHenry, +9.8% in Lake and +8.5% in Chicago. Attached sales were down -3.7% in March, and the county-level results diverged markedly. For example, attached sales climbed +24.7% in McHenry and +17.4% in Kendall, but fell -25% in Will and -21.8% in Kane.
RE/MAX Northern Illinois has been the leader in the northern Illinois real estate market since 1989 providing a full range of residential and commercial services. With more than 2,200 sales associates and 106 offices throughout the area, RE/MAX Northern Illinois has helped thousands of families with their home buying and selling needs. For more information, visit illinoisproperty.com or download the Illinois Property mobile real estate app.