Next week, on Thursday, the Illinois Association of Realtors is going to release their sales statistics for the month of July, unless of course there is another delay associated with their famous goof. With pretty high certainty the July home sales numbers for Chicago are going to be about 4.6% higher than last July. But that's misleading because last year was all dorked up by that home buyer tax credit nonsense. After everyone rushed to buy a home before the end of April there was no one left to buy a home in the later months. Consequently, sales for the remainder of the year were abysmal - the lowest in like 13 years. But in reality the July home sales just got moved to May and June - i.e. July was artificially depressed. So you really need to throw last year out of the equation entirely.
So if you then compare this July to 2009, which was really an abysmal year, you see that we are running almost 16% below 2009. In fact, I suspect that this is the lowest July since 1997 because the 3rd quarter of 2009 was the lowest quarter since 1997. Unfortunately, I don't have monthly data going back to 1997 but this appears to be a reasonable conclusion. After all, the first quarter of 2011 was the lowest quarter in 13 years and the second quarter was on par with 1997 levels (though it was a tad above 2009).
And it doesn't look like things are getting any better either. Contract activity, which leads sales by a month or two, is running below 2009 levels also.
And then there are the distressed sales, which are running at a higher percentage than 2009 - a bit more than 1/3 of all sales. Sure, they are running below 2010 levels but, again, those percentages were also distorted by that home buyer tax credit. The non-distressed homes were scooped up early in the first half of the year.