The good news is the Chicago-area just had its best month for home sales on a year-over-year basis.
The bad news? Sales were up only 0.2 percent and actually down from the month before.
July saw 11,697 home sales in the nine-county metro area, an increase of 25 homes from the same month last year, according to the latest report from Illinois Association of Realtors. Still, it marked the first month in 2019 that sales had not decreased year over year.
But it was still below June numbers, which saw 12,002 home sales. But that is a particularly busy month, and the total represented a nearly 12 percent drop from the same month in 2018. Year over year, June has so far been the worst month for home sales in 2019.
The year’s previous best month came in May, when sales dropped by 3.6 percent, according to the association.
The monthly rebound, coupled with low interest rates and modest price increases, should be a good sign for the market. But the warning lights are ahead, industry pros said.
“The gyrations in the stock market and the constant discussion about the possibility of a recession are likely to affect consumer confidence in the months ahead,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. Market turmoil and limited supply have also kept potential homebuyers on the sidelines.
The drop in sales continues to be more dramatic in Chicago, where sales dipped by 5.3 percent year over year in July. While the median price in the metro region was up 3.5 percent to $259,000, the median price in Chicago rose by only 0.4 percent, to $306,250, according to the association report.
Tommy Choi, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors, said the indicators of steady prices and the relatively low number of days homes spend on the market shows that demand is still strong.
“The market is in a stabilizing period,” said Choi, who is broker-owner at Keller Williams Chicago-Lincoln Park. “The same trends we’ve been seeing in the market lately continue to persist.”
Chicago was forecast to have one of the weakest housing markets in the country this year. Even the luxury market has not been immune to the slowdown, with new Downtown condo sales the lone bright spot for the submarket.