Morning Minute: First-time buyers help push U.S. home sales higher in September

Image: Bigstock

Image: Bigstock

National home sales climbed higher in September, thanks in part to an increase in home purchases by first-time home buyers, who saw their share of sales climb to 34 percent last month, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reported Thursday.

Nationally, home sales rose 3.2 percent compared to last month and are up 0.6 percent compared to September 2015. While Illinois prices were up, home sales were down slightly, a decline of 0.6 percent annually.

“The home search over the past several months for a lot of prospective buyers, and especially for first-time buyers, took longer than usual because of the competition for the minimal amount of homes for sale,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Most families and move-up buyers look to close before the new school year starts. Their diminishing presence from the market towards the end of summer created more opportunities for aspiring first-time homeowners to buy last month.”

In other headlines:

Top Tips for the Coming Tsunami of First-Time Home Buyers –

Internet & Real Estate Agents: Some Things Change, Others Remain the Same – NAR Economists’ Outlook blog

Mortgage Rates Highest in Four Months, Still Near Record Lows – Freddie Mac

Illinois home prices increase in September; Sales slow slightly


September brought continued annual gains in Illinois median home prices, while statewide sales declined slightly, according to Illinois REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in September 2016 totaled 13,940 homes sold, down 0.6 percent from 14,029 in September 2015.

The statewide median price in September was $180,000, up 5.0 percent from September 2015 when the median price was $171,350. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“Sellers are still seeing the benefits of a market where prices have consistently risen for the past four years,” said Doug Carpenter, ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR, of Mokena, president of Illinois REALTORS® and managing broker of Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell in Orland Hills. “The tight inventory of homes on the market and a decline in the average time it is taking to sell show buyers are still in the market, they just aren’t finding as much as they would like from which to select.”

The time it took to sell a home in September averaged 58 days, down from 65 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 64,934 homes for sale, a 13.2 percent decline from September 2015 when there were 74,794 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.46 percent in September 2016, an increase from 3.44 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In September 2015 it averaged 3.90 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in September 2016 totaled 9,895 homes sold, up 0.1 percent from September 2015 sales of 9,887 homes. The median price in September 2016 was $218,000 in the Chicago PMSA, an increase of 5.1 percent from $207,500 in September 2015.

“Annual sales growth in September was flat in Illinois and Chicago,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “Prices, though, continued to increase and this trend is expected to prevail for the next three months. Both the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index pointed to positive directions at the national level as a result of a positive outlook on the labor market. Unfortunately, job growth in Illinois has been way below the national level, dampening housing sales.”

According to the data, forty-three (43) Illinois counties reported sales gains for September 2016 over previous-year numbers, including St. Clair County, up 18.8 percent with 265 units sold; McHenry County, up 17.1 percent with 479 units sold; and DuPage County, up 3.6 percent with 1,223 units sold. Fifty (50) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Winnebago County, up 13.5 percent to $105,000; Kane County, up 12.9 percent to $210,000; Peoria County, up 8.3 percent to $129,900; and Cook  County, up 4.7 percent to $225,000.

The city of Chicago saw a 3.2 percent year-over-year home sales decrease in September 2016 with 2,336 sales, down from 2,414 in September 2015. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in September 2016 was $261,500, up 4.6 percent compared to September 2015 when it was $250,000.

“We continue to see a vibrant Chicago real estate market with homes moving quickly and with steady median price gains,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “It is taking 42 days to sell a home, indicating buyers are eager to purchase when they find the right property.”

Sales and price information are generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 28 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of Oct. 7, 2016 for the period September 1 through September 30, 2016. The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

Morning Minute: Why now could be the right time to list your home

Image: Bigstock

Image: Bigstock

Need a reason to finally put your home on the market? How about five.

Read the article, “5 reasons homeowners should list their homes today,” from Inman for some of the market factors that make now a good time to list your home, including low inventory which is creating a sense of urgency among buyers. Read more.

In other headlines:

America’s Most Stressed—and Most Chill—Cities –

7 Ways to Improve Your Prospecting for 2017 – YPN Lounge blog

Morning Minute: Homeowner equity is heading higher, CoreLogic reports

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Source: Bigstock

More U.S. homeowners are gaining equity in their homes, according to a recent report and video from CoreLogic. There are variations geographically, but U.S. homeowners on average gained about $11,000 in home equity in the last year, CoreLogic reports. In Illinois, the gains averaged $5,000 per homeowner. Find a video, infographics and more from CoreLogic and also read coverage from REALTOR® Magazine’s Daily Real Estate News.

In other headlines:

Why now is the perfect time to invest in real estate – HousingWire

How to Reinvent a Room to Attract Buyers – Styled, Staged & Sold Blog

Morning Minute: The diversity of U.S. housing styles

Where you live in the U.S. can shape the architectural style you choose for your home. takes a look at these geographical differences in the blog post, “A Nation United—and Divided—by Our Homes’ Architectural Styles.” As expected, Pueblo-style homes are popular in the Southwest and Cape Cods are most common in the East, but ranch-style homes top the list overall. Read more.

In other headlines:

FBR: Mortgage lending set for best quarter since 2007 – HousingWire

9 maneuvers to escape procrastination quicksand – Inman