Home sales up in Barrington
Residential properties sales in Lake Zurich and Barrington are up compared to this time last year, reflecting a countywide trend in the housing market. Coldwell Banker real estate agent Suzanne Luby shows a Barrington home. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times
Updated: November 26, 2012 10:42AM
BARRINGTON — Residential property sales in Barrington are up compared to this time last year, reflective of Cook and Lake County trends in housing markets.
“It’s one of the busiest Novembers I’ve had,” said Corinne Guest, owner of Royal Advocate Realty.
“Clients can’t find houses and it’s been a long time since I’ve said that,” she said.
Cook County recorded a 49 percent increase in transactions this past October compared to year-earlier data, according to a RE/MAX Northern Illinois analysis of transaction data compiled by Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC, the regional multiple-listing service.
The Cook County real estate market also saw positive gains in home prices and the time required to sell a home. The median sale price in the county increased from last year by 4 percent to $149,900, and the average market time fell by 30 days to 136 days.
In Lake County, 41 percent more home sales were recorded in October over the same month last year. On the other hand, there was no change in average sale price or market time. In both 2011 and 2012, the median sale price for a home has remained at $150,000 after being on the market for an average of 154 days.
While residential property sales in Barrington have also been on the rise, median home prices aren’t what they used to be.
Last month the area recorded 70 sold units, more than double the amount of sales in October 2011, according to data reported by RE/MAX Northern Illinois.
The number of home sales this year through Oct. 31 was 501, representing a 36 percent increase over the previous year.
Barrington homes continue to take longer to sell than the county’s average day count, though the village is also experiencing market time improvement.
The average time to sell a home in the Barrington area dropped in 2012 by 29 days to 206. The median price of a home sold between January and October of this year was $415,000. During the same period in 2011, the median was $469,000.
The lower figure is still better than what sellers had endured immediately after the recession.
“For a long time we saw market activity (sales) really well below $400,000,” said Coldwell Banker real estate agent Suzanne Luby. “People have been sidelined for years.”
“I think in many cases now it’s people deciding it’s time to pull the trigger.”
Guest said it would be difficult to say whether homes prices are stabilizing locally because of the uniqueness of the properties.
“Barrington houses are not cookie cutter,” she said. “Most of our houses to one degree or another are somewhat custom.”
As residential real estate prices and sales began to decline in 2008, opportunities to invest in homes to rent have skyrocketed. The recent uptick in property transfers is partially due a growing number of investors.
A national tracking survey of housing conducted Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance found that investors accounted for 22 percent of all home sales by July 2012.
“The rental market is red hot,” Luby said. “If somebody had cash in the wings and wants to make a smart move right now, they can buy homes that are so devalued and put a little money into them to turn them around.”
Though far less rentals are available in Barrington than in neighboring markets, the number is still slightly higher than it used to be, she said.
One property-owning client of hers eventually turned to leasing after listing the house for five years. Luby said the homeowner has had no trouble finding renters.
“People are standing in line,” she said.
And while steadily increasing home sales may indicate a renewal of confidence in the housing market, too many uncertainties still exist, Luby said.
“It’s definitely better than it was because there’s more movement in market but it’s far from healthy,” she said.
“The real benchmark is to see if over time inventory is falling,” added Guest.
“We’re in a recovery for sure.”