May’s 0.1 percent year-over-year gain in the median sales price of existing homes in the nine-county Chicago area broke a 49-month losing streak that stretched to April 2008. The last time they showed a year-over-year increase was March 2008, the month John McCain earned enough delegates to secure the Republican presidential nomination.
Does that $100 finally signal a turnaround for Chicago’s housing market, particularly because, from May 2010 to May 2011, the median price dropped 10.8 percent?
“What it signals is the first stage of the bumpy ride at the bottom,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the regional economics applications laboratory at the University of Illinois. “I think the trend is going to be modestly positive, but there may be months where it is not.”…
Not every county recorded improvement in its median price, but in Cook County, which accounts for more than half the Chicago area’s sales activity, the median price rose 3 percent, to $170,000, from $165,000 in May 2011. And in Chicago, where overall sales rose 19.6 percent, May’s median sales price of $203,000 was up 6.8 percent from a year ago, largely because of an 11.9 percent gain in the median sales price of single-family homes.
My take: the housing recovery will still take quite a while. A $100 increase the region probably doesn’t mean much and it is not until we see a number of consecutive months of an uptick that we can claim this is a trend. Even then, it could take years (decades?) to make up the drop in housing values.