Naperville’s housing market picking up speed in volume and price
By David Sharos For The Sun October 22, 2012 3:26PM
Updated: November 25, 2012 11:27AM
Naperville-area Realtors are saying houses are selling faster and in greater volume, reflecting promising numbers recently reported by the National Association of Realtors. They also say homebuyers are counting on buying at the bottom of the housing market.
“Buyers believe that the bottom has been reached, and there is nowhere to go from here but up,” Naperville Re/Max broker Jeff Stainer said.
Last week, the National Association of Realtors reported that September homes sales in Chicago rose more than 23 percent from the previous year and 24 percent in the nine-county Chicago area. Those numbers buck the national trend; sales fell 1.7 percent in September throughout the country.
Naperville’s numbers make the area one of the hottest in the nation.
“I think other areas of the country like Las Vegas, Arizona, Florida and parts of California were hit with the recession earlier, while Chicago lagged behind a few years before things crashed here,” said Teresa Ryan, of Naperville’s Ryan Hill Realty. “Their recovery started before ours, and a lot of their inventory has now been absorbed so sales are down. But there’s no question the market here is absolutely reflecting a surge.”
Statistics Ryan offered from the latest Multiple Listing Service report back up her analysis. According to the MLS, September sales in DuPage County were up 11.9 percent last month as compared to a year ago, while those in Naperville jumped 25.7 percent.
Prices in DuPage fell 5.5 percent last month, which Stainer said has sent more buyers scurrying to find homes “because they believe prices have finally bottomed out.”
“We also have fewer bank owner short sales now in this area, as well as less inventory,” he said. “Homes that were available during the spring market have pretty much sold through.”
Ryan said the Naperville market’s attractiveness continues to grow, as the MLS indicates. In addition to sales more than double those of DuPage County, prices actually increased here 1.5 percent in September. And on top of that, homes are selling more quickly.
“The number of days homes were on the market fell 21 percent in DuPage and nearly 30 percent here in Naperville,” Ryan said. “This is a great stat that shows the market and the economy here is recovering.”
Stainer said that, in the past week, he sold five homes, including two in Naperville to foreign buyers who purchased properties without even physically seeing them. “These were people who were being transferred here to this country and knew that Naperville was a desirable area to be,” he said.
John Doenges, a senior vice president with Naperville’s John Greene Realtor, said September sales a year ago were up for the company and have surpassed them again a year later.
“We were actually up 22 percent last year from September 2010, and with interest rates about as low as they’re going to go, people are seeing the light and feel that now is the time to buy,” Doenges said. “Having local businesses like Navistar in the area has helped, and I think profits for companies are going up, so there’s no excuse not to diversify and move people around again.”
Doenges also said the rental market is pricing itself out of the picture and that “renting a three- or four-bedroom home in Naperville for as much as $2,500 a month no longer makes sense.”
“I can show someone a nice $300,000 home here and have a monthly payment that is far less than $2,500 for someone that can put 3.5 percent down,” he said. “The housing market is typically slower heading into Christmas, but there are people who realize with the current prices and interest rates, they can buy up in their own neighborhood.”
Jim Freier, another broker with Re/Max in Naperville, agrees that the rental market is changing and that another surge in local sales is coming from a shift from individual home buyers to investors. “Investors are picking up these properties here in DuPage and Naperville, and I’ve personally seen a shift where my clients now are 80 percent investors and 20 percent individual buyers,” he said.
The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report.