Local Business

McHenry County home sales fall 6.7 percent as prices rise

CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County home sales fell 6.7 percent in August as sale prices increased and the inventory of properties on the market slightly increased.

McHenry County home sales declined from 526 in August 2013 to 491 in August 2014, a decrease of 6.7 percent, according to figures released Monday by the Illinois Association of Realtors. Through the first eight months of the year, home sales were down 9.3 percent to 3,084, compared with 3,399 during the same period in 2013.

The median sales price for homes in McHenry County increased to $170,000 in August, up 5.1 percent from $161,750 in August 2013. Year-to-date, home prices are up 8.2 percent to $165,000, compared with $152,500 during the first eight months of 2013.

In August, the median sales price for single-family homes was down 1.8 percent to $188,000. For condos, prices were up 15.4 percent to $118,000.

Countywide, real estate prices remain below peak levels.

The inventory of homes for sale in McHenry County in August increased 1.7 percent to 2,477, compared with 2,436 in August 2013. Homes also spent less time on the market. The number of days on market until sale dropped from 80 in August 2013 to 65 last month, a decline of 18.8 percent.

“Homes that are priced right and staged correctly will sell quickly,” said Don Prigge, managing broker for Baird & Warner’s Crystal Lake office and soon-to-open Carpentersville.

Since snapping up many of the McHenry County homes priced below $100,000 in the wake of the housing bust, investors have been less involved in the local market, Prigge said. That mirrors a broader national trend.

And millennials haven’t stepped up to fill the gap. Many millennials aren’t planning to stay with their job long enough to buy a house and don’t want to be tied down, Prigge said.

In Lake County, existing home sales fell 22.6 percent to 972 in August, down from 1,256 in August 2013. The median sales price in Lake County last month was $233,500, up 6.1 percent from $220,051 in August 2013. The inventory of homes for sale in Lake County in August increased 1.1 percent to 4,761, up from 4,711 in August 2013. The number of days on market until sale was 56, unchanged from August 2013.

In Kane County, existing home sales in August were down 15.3 percent to 669, down from 790 in August 2013. The median sales price in Kane County last month was $199,000, an increase of 13.7 percent from $175,000 in August 2013. The inventory of homes for sale in Kane County in August was up 0.8 percent to 3,130, compared with 3,106 in August 2013. The number of days on market until sale was 55, down 15.4 percent from 65 in August 2013.

Nationally, fewer Americans bought homes in August, as investors retreated from real estate and first-time buyers remained scarce.

Sales of existing homes fell 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. That snaps a four-month streak of gains. August sales are down from a July rate of 5.14 million, a figure that was revised slightly downward.

Much of the decline came from the exodus of investors, who had been buying properties in the aftermath of the housing bust and recession. Investors accounted for just 12 percent of August purchases, compared to 17 percent a year earlier.

Overall, the pace of home sales has dropped 5.3 percent year-over-year.

The August figures show that real estate recovery has depended largely on investors and all-cash sales, instead of families looking to buy a house.

“It is apparent that much of the juice in the existing home sales market remains centered in all-cash purchases by speculative buyers,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at the consulting firm MFR.

The rebound from the housing bust that triggered the recession has been painfully slow. The share of Americans who own homes has trended downward over the course of the five-year recovery, as more Americans are becoming renters. The ownership rate fell to 64.7 percent through the middle of this year, down from a peak of 69.2 percent toward the end of 2004, according to the Census Bureau.

Sales were curbed by winter storms earlier in the year. They began to accelerate through the summer as mortgage rates eased back from 52-week highs. But the combination of rising home prices last year and sluggish wage growth has limited sales.

Rising prices through much of 2013 and weak income growth priced out many would-be buyers. Only 29 percent of purchases in August came from first-time buyers, well below the historical average of 40 percent.

The median sales price has risen 4.8 percent over the past 12 months to $219,800, but it slipped slightly in August compared to prices in July and June.

Sales of existing homes continue to lag last year’s pace of 5.1 million. Annual sales of 5.5 million are consistent with a healthy housing market, according to analysts.

There is a 5.5 month supply of homes listed for sale. The supply has increased over the past year, yet it remains below the standard level of six months.

Sales tumbled 5.1 percent in the West and 4.2 percent in the South last month compared to July.

Part of that decline was offset by rising sales in the Northeast and Midwest.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Loading more

Digital Access

Digital Access
Access nwherald.com and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.