Elmhurst real estate blog

Elmhurst & DuPage County Illinois

Thomas Makinney


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Home Sales Continue to Rise as Home Prices Drop

by Thomas Makinney

November of this year brought about a surprising increase in sales to the Chicago area, 71.6% to be exact, from November of 2008.  According to the Illinois Association of Realtors, there seems to be a few key reasons for this trend which shows this as the fifth month for the year over year improvement.

-    Built-up Demand from Buyers
-    Low Interest Rates
-    Government Tax Credit for First Time Home Buyers

The increase is also at an incredible rate due to the struggling economy of 2008.  October and November of last year brought about the lowest home sales Chicago had seen in years as it reflected the nations’ financial crisis.  A market on the rise stimulates trust and, hopefully, will bring about a resurgence of both motivated buyers and sellers.

And, although these statistics show a stumbling economy gaining balance and strength… we are not yet fully up and running.  Median prices for homes in Chicago continue to fall.  

In November, the median home sale was $189,000 bringing the average down 9.1% last year at that time.  Below are more examples of this sales increase/price decrease trend.

-    Total regional sales for this year were at 6,826.  Last year this number was at 3,978.
-    The City of Chicago saw 1,859 market sales for November as opposed to last year’s 1,094.
-    Median sales in the city are down 3.4% from last year with an average price of $215,000.
-    Total Illinois sales were at 10,361 in November of this year, bringing sales up 64%.
-    Statewide median price was $155,000 a decrease of 4.3% from November 2008.
-    The average interest rate last month, according to the Realtors’ release, was 4.93% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage which is 5.0% lower than last year.

As this year draws to a close, one can only hope that the real estate market continues to see positive results.  The tax credit extension until April 30, along with the continued recovery from economic shock should contribute to the markets’ trend persistent development.

Source of Information, Chicago Business Website:

Happy Holidays!

by Thomas Makinney

Sending you warm wishes this holiday season and hopes for a happy and prosperous new year!

Also, a special thank you for your continued business and referrals over the years!

Elmhurst, IL December Real Estate Market Trends

by Thomas Makinney

The various graphs below will give you a visual report of Elmhurst, IL market statistics gathered using data from MRED*. The graphs are updated on a monthly basis so it’s easy to see the latest real estate market trends in Elmhurst. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

*Midwest Real Estate Data LLC

I make no claim as to the accuracy of this data and have provided this data as a service to others.

Assessed Value of Your Home Too High?

by Thomas Makinney

Maria and I find ourselves increasingly fielding inquiries from family, friends, and clients recently that their assessed values are above present market value. Do you think your homes assessed value is above present market value? The information below will help you determine what you can do!

Appealing an Assessment

Reasons for an Appeal

You have a legitimate reason to appeal your property tax assessment if you can prove any of the following:

1. The assessed value of your property is higher than the property's actual market value. (As determined by a recent sale or appraisal.)

2. The assessment of your property is based on inaccurate information, such as incorrect dimensions for a building or lot.

3. The assessment of your property is higher than those of similar surrounding properties.

Eight Steps to Appeal an Assessment

There are eight steps you can follow to appeal your property assessment.

1. Determine the fair market value of your home.

2. Determine the prevailing level of assessments in your township.

3. Determine the assessed value of your property.

4. Discuss your appraisal with an assessor.

5. Determine the basis for your formal complaint.

6. File a written complaint with your county Board of Review.

7. Present your evidence of unfair assessment to the proper review board.

8. If unsatisfied with the Board's decision, appeal to the State Property Tax Appeal Board.

Source of Information, York Township Website: http://www.yorkassessor.com/York/content.asp?file=appeal

A Tale of Two Markets

by Thomas Makinney

I think that by now it’s clear to just about everyone that the recession has ended. But the real question is whether the recovery has yet begun. Signs of hope abound in real estate as sales, pending sales and starts are all up. The market at lower prices ranges is booming and gradually that activity will creep up the price scale, even though the number of foreclosed properties for sale increases. This is the way it has always been in real estate cycles and this one is no different. It may have been more severe, and it may have seemed that much more intense because of the wealth losses that happened, but the timing is about average for a cycle. The only questions left are the contribution of the first time buyer tax credit, and whether the credit will be extended. My answers: a lot and about a 60-40 proposition (the reverse of what I would have said a month ago.)

So that’s the good news; now for the bad. The key to any economic recovery is the creation of jobs. In the early Nineties, recovery was jump started by technological change and job creation boomed. In the early years of this century, there was no such boost and recovery was weak. We are looking at the same scenario right now. There really is no job engine pushing employment and the economy. More importantly, that technological change (as well as the emergence of a global economy) made many jobs redundant. Prosperity allowed us to ignore this; austerity requires that we face it. Each month the job loss figures become less bad; they have “improved” from losses of nearly 700,000 in January to about 250,000 in September. Eventually—probably sometime in early summer 2010— we will start adding jobs, but not at a significant rate.

But the real estate market is definitely groping toward recovery and nationally, the numbers look good. In September, sales were up nearly five percent, even though they fell slightly in the Midwest (although they are up for the year to date). Prices remain an issue, in that they fell in every sector of the country. Here the Midwest showed the best with only (!) a seven percent drop over last September.

For the Mainstreet market area all of these trends are reflected in that we have two different pictures presented by DuPage and Cook Counties. For the sections of Cook County in the Association’s jurisdiction, sales are up, and days on the market are essentially unchanged. This suggests that the sales rate has risen to the point where it matches the flow of inventory into the market. In both of these, Cook resembles the national housing market pattern. Where it deviates from this is in the area of prices. Here there has been a significant drop in average sales price, much greater than the Midwest average. Part of the explanation here may be that the market is being driven by bargain hunters and first time buyers. Both of these groups will naturally look at lower priced properties either because they cannot afford more or because they want to make modest bets on a recovering market. In DuPage county the pattern is nearly reversed. Sales are down from the third quarter of 2008, and days on the market up noticeably. And while prices have fallen less than they did in Cook County, the percentage fall is higher than the average in the Midwest.

Looking ahead, I believe that the rally in the housing market will continue in that sales will continue to improve as we move into 2010. This will be intensified if the first time buyer tax credit is extended. Right now, the Congress has already extended the credit until June 2010 for military returning to the U.S. from service abroad. That’s not an indicator, but rather a strong suggestion as to the current thinking in Washington. Prices, however, are not about to turn and it will be late Spring or early Summer 2010 before we can expect to see upward movement.

By: John Tuccillo

Elmhurst, IL November Real Estate Market Trends

by Thomas Makinney

The various graphs below will give you a visual report of Elmhurst, IL market statistics gathered using data from MRED*. The graphs are updated on a monthly basis so it’s easy to see the latest real estate market trends in Elmhurst. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


*Midwest Real Estate Data LLC

I make no claim as to the accuracy of this data and have provided this data as a service to others.

Extension and Expansion of the Homebuyer Tax Credit

by Thomas Makinney

You may have caught wind of the recent $8,000 Tax Credit Extension, but may be wondering what this entails and how it applies to you.  Even if you’re not a first time home buyer; keep reading!  There have been exciting additions in hopes of getting the nation’s housing market back on its feet!

Who Qualifies for the Tax Credit?

  • First-time home buyers who purchase homes before April 30, 2010.
    • Note:  To qualify as a “first-time home buyer” the purchaser or his/her spouse may not have owned a residence during the three years prior to the purchase.
  • Current home owners who buy a home before April 30, 2010. 
    • Note:  You must have lived in the home being sold or vacated for five of the past eight years.

What type of Homes are Included?

  • Any of the Following: single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops.

What is the Tax Credit Amount?

  • $8,000 or 10% of the purchase price if less than $8,000 for first time home buyers.
  • $6,500 for current home owners
    • Note: Each home buyer’s tax credit is determined by:
      • The price of the home.
      • The buyer's income.

Is there a Price Limit on the Home I Can Buy?

  • Yes.  The tax credit only applies to homes under $800,000.

Are there Salary Limitations?

  • Yes.  These have been raised to incomes up to $125,000 for single buyers and up to $225,000 for married couples. 

What if My Salary Exceeds the Salary Limit: Can I Still Receive some Credit?

  • The full amount of the credit is available for individuals that make no more that $125,000 ($225,000 on a joint return). The credit phases out above those caps ($145,000 for singles and $245,000 for joint returns). This means if you make in between these amounts ($125,000 - $145,000 for individuals and $225,000 - $245,000 for joint filers), you can still qualify for a partial credit.

What if I am in Contract, but have not purchased the Home by April 30, 2010?

  • As long as you are in a written contract to buy the home, you will still be eligible.  However, you must close on the home before July, 2010 or you will not receive the credit.

Will I Need to Repay the Credit?

  • No!  If you buy a home and occupy the home for three years or more- you will not be required to repay the tax credit.  If you sell the property during this three year period, the full amount of the tax credit will be forfeited on the sale.

It may seem overwhelming to navigate through this process- I’m here to help with any questions you may have.  Don’t hesitate to call (630.567.5902) or email me to discuss in detail!

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Thomas Makinney

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall further than they have already. They are assuming that the best course of action is to wait for the bottom in the market and then buy. The problem with this approach is that you don't know where the bottom is until you see it in the rear view mirror, meaning until you've missed it!

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have gone up in the last six months, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, if home prices come down a little further but interest rates up, it could cost you even more to service a mortgage on an identical home!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates and low home prices, rather than to hope for a further break in prices in the future.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

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