We get the Illinois Association of Realtors' August sales release in 1 1/2 weeks and what it will show is the 14th straight month of year over year sales increases and the 6th straight month of double digit year over year sales increases. Closings last month were up by 23.7% over last year.
August Home Sales In Chicago
The graph below goes back to 1997 and all the August data points are flagged in red. The light blue line represents a 12 month moving average that takes the seasonality out of the data. As you can see last month had the highest sales in 5 years, though it is still well below the level of 2007. August was basically at 1999 levels.
Home Contract Activity
Contract activity continues to be extremely strong, with August 29.7% ahead of last year. Once again this is the highest level of activity that we've seen in 5 years so it looks good for continued strong comps in the actual sales numbers.
Earlier in the year there were significant discrepancies between contracts written and deals closed and the backlog of pending deals was growing. It could have been a seasonal effect. But now that gap has closed quite a bit and the backlog is on the decline. At the end of August there were 5781 pending sales, which is 2.6 months worth of closings at the current sales rate. What's odd in these numbers though is that the growth in contract activity is still stronger than the growth in sales, yet the pending sales is shrinking. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to dig into this mystery.
Home inventories continue to plunge in the city of Chicago, reaching a 5.4 month supply of attached homes and a 6.5 month supply of detached homes in July. As you can see in the graph below this is a record low for the past 5 years. This data comes from the Chicago Association of Realtors and they haven't produced the August numbers yet. However, in a few days we will be updating our own condo inventory numbers and will have August numbers.
Distressed Property Sales
Finally, distressed property sales (short sales and foreclosures) continue to be around 34% of the total - 34.3% in August to be exact. The last 3 months have pretty much fallen in line with 2011.