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Home sales increase, prices stable in August

Published: Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 4:57 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 8:49 p.m. CDT

The local housing market in the Tri-Cities and elsewhere in Kane County continued to stabilize as the summer home buying season drew to a close.

According to the latest round of home sales data from regional real estate trade groups, more homes sold in the region in August, and home prices – even for foreclosures – held steady.

“Things in this market just feel healthy right now,” said Leslie Ebersole, a real estate agent with Baird & Warner in St. Charles. “Things can still get better, but we are in a much better place now.”

In the Tri-Cities of St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia, combined, 165 homes sold last month, an increase of 18.7 percent from August 2012, according to information from the MainStreet Organization of Realtors, a trade group representing real estate agents in the Chicago area.

In Kane County, overall, the statewide Illinois Association of Realtors reported that 776 homes sold in August, an increase of 14.5 percent.

Those increases included a relatively large number of homes sold through foreclosure or short sale, as well.

In the Tri-Cities, for instance, the so-called “distressed properties” accounted for about 25.5 percent of all homes sold in August. That marked an increase from August 2012, when 22 percent of homes sold in the Tri-Cities were considered distressed.

In all, 42 home sales in August were either bank-owned foreclosures or short sales. However, homes sold “traditionally” – meaning, seller to buyer with no lender intermediaries – also increased 14 percent in August.

The increased sales activity appears to have helped stabilize home prices, as well. The IAR reported that the median home price in Kane County had increased 16.4 percent in August, from $149,900 in August 2012 to $174,500 last month.

In the Tri-Cities, the average median price of homes sold traditionally in all three cities edged down by about 1.3 percent, from $312,626 to $308,583, according to MainStreet data.

But Ebersole noted that home prices for distressed properties have increased, holding the median price steady.

“People are still buying them [distressed properties], and they’re still asking to see them,” Ebersole said. “But they’re learning that there’s just not this big, screaming ‘30 percent off discount’ that maybe they could get a couple years back.

“The banks have really tightened up their prices to bring them more in line with fair market value.” Ebersole also noted that much of the activity in local home sales remains centered on homes priced at $350,000 or less.

“Anything below that gets a lot, a lot, of attention around here,” she said. “But more than that, and especially above $500,000, it’s a struggle.

“It’s kind of a tale of two markets, still.”

By the numbers Anyone willing to put their home on the market is having an easier time finding a buyer, according to the latest round of home sales data. And prices also have stabilized, as prices for foreclosures and short sales – so-called “distressed properties” – edge higher. So how did each of the Tri-Cities’ home markets fare in August 2013 vs. August 2012?

Here are some numbers:

St. Charles – 71 homes sold, up from 57; $312,000 median non-distressed home price, down from $339,000.

Geneva – 57 homes sold, up from 45; $328,750 median non-distressed home price, down from $336,000.

Batavia – 37 homes sold, unchanged; $285,000 median non-distressed home price, up from $262,500.

Source: MainStreet Organization of Realtors

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