The Illinois Association of Realtors just released home sales for Chicago, the broader metropolitan area, and the state. While home sales in the state of Illinois were only up 15.7%, sales in the metropolitan area were up 32%, and Chicago sales were up a whopping 41.5%. We track monthly home sales for the broader metropolitan area in the graph below going back to January 2006. In addition, the graph shows the 12 month moving average, in order to remove the effects of seasonality, and each of the Februaries have been flagged for comparison over time.
As you can see, sales in January and February are very close to where they were in 2008, which is a considerable improvement over 2009, but still way below the peak year of 2006.
Of course, the tax credit, pent up demand, and record low mortgage rates (the best in 50 years) are largely responsible for this incredible surge and contract activity thus far in March indicates a continuation of this trend. However, the record low employment level in the Chicago area does give one pause.
The IAR press release does go on to talk about median prices but I routinely ignore those statistics because they don’t mean anything. Median prices are largely a reflection of the mix of housing sold and provide very little indication of what is actually going on with prices.