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Will County home sales on the rise

Updated: February 6, 2014 6:37AM



Five years after the U.S. housing market collapsed, home sales and values in the Will County area finally seem to be rebounding.

“It is just a much more vigorous marketplace,” said David McClintock, CEO of the Joliet-based Three Rivers Association of Realtors.

McClintock said his association’s members are much busier than they have been in recent years.

“If something comes on the market and it’s priced right, there’s a lot of activity,” he said. “Good property priced competitively is going to move and have a lot of offers.”

Will County home sales increased 18.2 percent from 6,932 to 8,194 for the first 11 months of the year compared to the same time period last year.

The median sales price rose 10.2 percent, from $157,000 in November 2012 to $173,000 last month.

Statistics for both Grundy and Kendall counties showed similar positive trends. Grundy County home sales increased 24.9 percent year to date and the median sales price was up 5.6 percent from $141,700 to $149,700.

Kendall County home sales increased 22 percent during the first 11 months of 2013 and the median sales price was up 6.5 percent from $155,000 to $165,000.

Housing inventory and the number of days homes are sitting on the market also dropped in all three counties.

The statistics, reported this month by the Illinois Association of Realtors, signal a continued housing recovery, McClintock said.

Appraisal values still are lagging in some cases and financing can be tough to get for some buyers. But McClintock said he would take those issues over the former housing market catastrophe any day.

“They’re good problems,” he said.

Real estate agent and association President Karen Robertson agreed with McClintock’s optimistic outlook.

“It’s crazy busy,” said Robertson, who has been a real estate agent for 11 years. “It’s been my best year in real estate, personally, and I’m looking forward to a really vibrant spring.”

Robertson said homeowners who think they are “underwater” on their home value and owe more than its worth should have someone assess their property value. It’s possible the value has gone up enough to allow them to move, she said.

Many people were stuck in their homes because prices had plummeted, but that may no longer be the case, she said.

Also, enough time has passed that some property owners who sold their homes through short sales for the amount owed can get back in the market now if their credit is repaired, she added.

“We call them boomerang buyers,” she said.

Short sale buyers aren’t the only ones coming back — so are real estate agents. The association saw its membership peak at 1,800 when Will County was flying high as one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. Membership dropped to about 900 members when the market hit rock bottom. Now it’s back up to 958, Robertson reported.

“We’re seeing people come back to the business as a profession,” she said.

New construction also seems to be coming back to the county. Robertson said some of the builders are returning to the area after leaving during the downturn.

And even though appraisals are lagging and financing can be tricky for some buyers, Robertson said interest rates remain low and there are a lot of good deals out there.

Overall, the real estate roller coaster seems to finally be heading up, more slowly than during its heyday, but more consistently than in the past several years.

“We’re back,” Robertson said.



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