Number of homes sold rises faster than their prices
Joy Poulos (left) of Oak Brook and Carol Lee Cikanek of Hinsdale, Realtors from Your Village Realty Group in Hinsdale, stand in front of a home on Meadowbrook Lane in Hinsdale which sold after 49 days on the market. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 6:50PM
Real estate agents in the western suburbs are busier than they have been in a long while, as low interest rates and pent-up demand prompt buyers to commit to attractively priced homes.
“Everybody I talk to said their business is gangbusters,” said Loretta Alonzo, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors, and the owner of Century 21 Alonzo and Associates in LaGrange Park.
Alonzo said with the number of contracts she’s writing and multiple offers she’s fielding, she is busier than she has been in the past four to five years.
Across DuPage County, there were 1,144 property sales in June, 20.5 percent more than in June 2011.
“Our marketplace is highly energized, not moderately energized, highly energized,” said Carol Cikanek, a broker with Coldwell Banker in Hinsdale.
What’s sparking Cikanek’s activity in the luxury home market are job relocations.
In the five weeks prior to June 7, Cikanek said she sold eight homes for prices between $580,000 and more than $3 million. Six of the eight buyers were people moving to the area for a job.
“Corporations are restructuring and remolding their business model,” Cikanek said, which involves transferring or hiring top executives from out of town. “They have a great opportunity to attract the best of the best financial people.”
And the western suburbs, such as Hinsdale and Oak Brook, are known nationally as prime places to live, Cikanek said.
During the recession, companies were cutting staff to operate leaner.
“At one point, all relocations came to a screeching halt,” Cikanek said. “We have not seen this level of transferees coming in since the economy tanked.”
In Hinsdale, 111 properties were sold this year as of the end of May, 14.4 percent more than the 97 that sold during the first five months of 2011. The median sales price in May 2012, however, fell 25 percent to $673,000 from $900,000 in May 2011. Of note, too, May’s median sales price was only 56 percent of the median list price of all homes for sale in Hinsdale in May.
Homeowners waiting for a huge rebound will be disappointed, Nellie McCarthy, a real estate agent with Prudential Rubloff, Properties, predicted.
“It took a long time to get to the bottom and it’s going to take just as long to get back up,” she said.
McCarthy believes the market is “stabilizing,” and home values will rise “in a steady climb.”
Homes for sale will not languish, however, if they are priced right.
“When a home comes on the market and it’s in great shape, and the owner did all the fixes it needs and you have three Realtors look at it, and you don’t list it with the Realtor who wants to price it the highest,” the home will attract multiple offers, McCarthy said. “Buyers know the market and the demand is there for value-priced property.”
Cikanek sold a home on Meadowbrook Lane in Hinsdale “relatively close to list price,” after 49 days on the market. The sale has not closed yet, so she could not say the exact price. But key to the sale is the seller was willing to make the changes Cikanek recommended, so the house would look “move-in ready” to potential buyers.
“We neutralized the colors and we made it a warmer tone so it brings out the woodwork,” Cikanek said. “We replaced some dated light fixtures. Buyers want a current look and feel to the home.”
Over the past 25 years, the number of single-family houses for sale within Hinsdale Central High School boundaries has been about 350 a year, Cikanek said.
Currently, “there are 231 homes for sale, including contracts pending,” Cikanek said Friday. “Our inventory is rock bottom.”
Thus, the buyers’ market is coming to an end. “Even the local buyers are going to have to start jumping in.”
With interest rates at below 3 percent, there is no reason not to.
“It’s shifting to an equal, fair game market. By the end of this year, or early next year, it will go back to being a seller’s market,” at least in this area, Cikanek predicted.