Median home prices in Illinois rose 6.3 percent in February over previous-year levels while statewide home sales decreased 2.8 percent for the same period, according to Illinois Realtors.
Statewide home sales, which include single-family homes and condominiums, totaled 8,461 homes sold in February, down 2.8 percent from 8,704 sales in the same month last year.
The statewide median price in February was $170,000, up 6.3 percent from February 2016, when the median price was $160,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.
"Inventories plummeted in February, no doubt frustrating some potential buyers but creating opportunities for the sellers who did have properties on the market," said Illinois Realtors President Doug Carpenter of Mokena, managing broker of Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell in Orland Hills. "As we move into the spring, more properties should come on the market, but it will take some time for supply and demand to find equilibrium."
In the nine-county Chicago region, February sales totaled 5,891 homes, down 5.2 percent from sales of 6,214 homes last February. The median price was $210,000 in the Chicago area, an increase of 12.0 percent from $187,500 in February 2016.
The Chicago region includes Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.
Statewide, the time it took to sell a home in February averaged 74 days, down from 81 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 51,227 homes for sale in Illinois, a 14.9 percent decline from the same month last year when there were 60,168 homes on the market.
The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.17 percent in February, an increase from 4.15 percent in January, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In February last year, the rate averaged 3.66 percent.
"Prices continue to move in a positive direction," said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. "While consumer confidence reflects optimism about the economy, the housing inventory continues to shrink, suggesting that while more optimistic, many homeowners are not yet tempted enough to consider moving to a larger or more expensive home."
Forty-six Illinois counties reported sales gains for February over previous-year numbers, including Rock Island County, up 74.3 percent with 122 units sold; Peoria County, up 13.0 percent with 148 units sold; and Kane County, up 0.3 percent with 385 units sold. Fifty counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Lake County, up 28.0 percent to $215,000; Cook County, up 10.5 percent to $210,000; and McLean County, up 6.0 percent to $158,000.
The city of Chicago saw a 4.0 percent year-over-year home sales decrease in February with 1,505 sales, down from 1,567 last February. The median price of a home in Chicago was $246,000, up 4.2 percent compared to February 2016 when it was $236,000.
"We're in an active home sales environment," said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors. "We are seeing listings offered in advance of the spring market, with condos, in particular, benefiting from increased consumer confidence. The recent announcement of a rate hike, plus the hot stock market and higher wages, heralds an increase in home prices and a rapid decline in market time in the months to come."