Slow, steady improvement forecast for home sales in La Grange
Dean Rouso, a broker with the Dean Rouso Home Team and Baird & Warner, at a home for sale in the La Grange historic district. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 11, 2013 6:10AM
LA GRANGE — Continued improvement is expected in the housing market on the heels of a positive year, real estate brokers concur.
“In terms of recovery, 2012 was a great year, and 2013 is estimated to be even better,” said Dean Rouso, team leader of the Dean Rouso Home Team at Baird and Warner in La Grange and director of sales development for the corporation.
But while the number of homes sold increased in 2012, there was not a corresponding hike in prices.
That is because of a supply and demand dynamic, Rouso said. When the number of homes available for sale drops and the demand from buyers rises, home prices go up.
The Mainstreet Organization of Realtors, which compiles statistics reported by area sales agents, notes activity jumped substantially in the first 11 months of 2012 with 162 homes sold compared to 113 in 2011 and 138 in 2010 in La Grange.
Home prices continued to decline with the average dropping from $474,932 in 2011 to $416,192 in 2012, down from $444,934 in 2010. But houses moved more quickly with the average number of days on the market dropping from a high of 189 in 2011 to 149 in 2012, compared to 158 in 2010.
Joan Smothers, owner of Smothers Realty Group in La Grange, said sales were up close to 20 percent in 2012, though a corresponding increase wasn’t seen in home values.
“The year before, it was really tough to get things to sell at any price, but during 2012, the market started to stabilize,” Smothers said. “Buyers realized it probably wasn’t going down much from where it was, and sellers realized it is what it is.”
Still, Smothers is optimistic prices will increase in 2013.
The top selling price range was between $350,000 and $500,000 in La Grange and between $200,000 and $350,000 in LaGrange Park, Rouso said.
Smothers said homes priced at $400,000 or less were most in demand throughout 2012, but as the year drew to a close, homes listed at $650,000 to $850,000 were selling in a week or two, because fewer were on the market.
Low interest rates and buyers and sellers coming to terms with the new market reality since 2007 will combine to result in homes selling more quickly and transactions being easier, Smothers said.
Foreclosures and short sales will continue to be a factor on the market, though not as great an influence, Rouso and Smothers agreed.