As expected the originally reported February home sale numbers for Chicago were wrong. After I contacted the Illinois Association of Realtors they discovered that the original data they received from the Chicago MLS only included 28 days. That damn earth orbit just complicates everything!
This actually makes a comparison with February of last year rather difficult because a) you can't just ignore February 29th since a lot of closings get scheduled for the last day of the month and b) you can't just use 29 days and c) the official snapshots of the prior month are usually taken on the 7th of the month but now the IAR took the revised snapshot on the 22nd, after more sales were recorded.
The IAR February home sales release now says:
In the city of Chicago, home sales rose 2.2 percent for the 28-day comparable period, from 1,056 homes in February 2011 to 1,079 homes in 2012. Adding in Feb. 29 numbers, home sales increased 16.6 percent, from 1,056 homes sold in February 2011 to 1,231 homes sold in February 2012.
But here's my take. First of all, just to be clear, there is no 28 day comparable period because of the skew on the last day of the month. On the 7th of March I showed 1188 closings for the full month. That should be scaled by 28/29 to make it comparable. That reduces the number to 1147 or an 8.6% increase, which is pretty healthy.