We’ve got another week and a half before the Illinois Association of Realtors comes out with the official numbers but it looks like Chicago home sales continued to be weak in March – down almost 20% from last year’s level. In all fairness last year’s sales numbers were inflated by the tax credit that subsidized home purchases and resulted in a flurry of activity in the first half of the year. Just wait until we get to May and June for some really depressing drops.
However, for a preview of what is to come check out the contract activity in the graph below. Yes, 2011 is running behind 2010 but not by anywhere near 20% so things should improve somewhat going forward. More importantly, 2011 is running ahead of 2009 at least, confirming that we have at least bounced off the bottom in activity. If this trend continues throughout 2011 you can get a pretty good idea of where we are going to be by the back half of this year – up 50% from 2010 (I subsequently retracted that statement). I guess I’ll need to take a closer look at this over the weekend.
However, the sales mix is still pretty abysmal, with almost 51% of transactions involving distressed properties. And some nutty politician wants to outlaw the inclusion of foreclosed properties in appraisals? Yeah, let’s exclude half the sales.