Illinois home prices rise in March, inventory remains tight but improved

Illinois home sales decreased 11.6 percent over previous-year levels in March while median prices increased 9.7 percent, according to the March housing report released today by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. Some insights into the latest market statistics:

“Low housing inventories and a decrease in the number of days to sell a home in Illinois are signals that consumers are feeling much better about the economy. While the number of homes on the market increased from February levels, it’s already clear the spring market will still be characterized by fewer choices and moderately higher prices.” – Phil Chiles, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and Broker-Associate with The Real Estate Group in Springfield.

“Although the annual sales rates have declined, the month to month changes continue to be strongly positive. In addition, positive housing price gains, continuing declines in the foreclosure inventory levels and the increasing share of sales of homes priced above $200,000 suggest a housing market that is responding positively to signals from the economy.” -  Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois.

“Relative to the number of homes available for sale in the marketplace, Chicago is still selling more homes than it did this time last year. Most of the transactions which closed in March are homes that went under contract in January and February, despite the inclement winter which definitely impacted an already anticipated slower winter market. Buyer demand continues to outpace available inventory; Sellers looking to make a move should be jumping off the fence now while buyers are still able to capitalize on attractive interest rates.” - Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner of Urban Real Estate.

Morning Minute: In time for spring housing market, mortgage rates at six week low

The spring home buying season is here and buyers heading out to look for a home will have the added incentive of affordable, low mortgage interest rates. Freddie Mac reported that rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 4.27 percent last week, marking a six week low. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.33 percent. Read more.

In other headlines:

Rules of engagement in home appraisals – Chicago Tribune

Report: A Third of Home Owners in Foreclosure Have Equity – Daily Real Estate News

New-Home Construction Ramps Up in Midwest, Northeast - Daily Real Estate News

Morning Minute: Getting Boomerang buyers back in homes of their own again

Boomerang homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure or short sale during the recession, may not have to wait as long to qualify to buy a home again, under the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Back to Work Program. Instead of waiting as long as 36 months to qualify for an FHA-backed loan, the agency’s program has shortened it to as little as 12 months. Read more from NAR.

If you are a REALTOR® working with today’s boomerang buyers, find presentations and resources from IAR’s recent Illinois Housing Leaders Conference, which featured the topic, “Helping Boomerang Buyers Get Back in the Market.”

In other headlines:

Sprinkler Mandate Poses Question Of Cost Vs. Safety – WICS TV

Mortgage Rates Go Up Then Drop Back Down After Release Of FOMC Minutes – WAND TV