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Brutal weather impacts Illinois home sales

Prices are up, inventory is down

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The dismal winter took its toll on Illinois homes sales in February, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors.

February home sales were down 6.2% from February 2013. Statewide home sales, including single-family homes and condominiums, in February 2014 totaled 7,868 homes sold, down from 8,388 in February 2013.

“February's weather was not any more welcoming to buyers than January in Chicago. People do not want to go shopping for homes in unseasonably cold weather,” said Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors and managing partner of Urban Real Estate.

The number of homes on the market demonstrates the fragility of the housing recovery. The number of houses on the market in February was down 19.2% compared to a year earlier, dropping from 70,053 homes for sale in February 2013 to 56,620 this year.

The decrease in homes available led to a higher median price for home sales in a basic display of supply and demand. The statewide median price in February was $132,500, up 6.9% from February 2013 when the median price was $124,000.

“The combination of increasing median prices and mixed signals from sales continued in February,” noted Geoffrey Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois.  “Clearly, the dismal, persistent winter weather dampened enthusiasm for the housing market in early 2014.”

The nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will, was hit hard by the winter weather in February, subsequently home sales were down by 8.2% from February 2013. The Chicago area saw median home prices rise from $140,000 in February 2013 to $156,000 in 2014.

But there may be some light at the end of the tunnel as spring approaches. "Buyers are, however, ready to move and as homes come on the market, they are aggressively making their best offers,” Farrell added. “Median pricing is up, signaling a strong market on the rise.  As sellers get their homes show-ready for a spring market, we believe these homes, too, will move quickly, if priced right.”

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