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Good, bad news on Kendall home sales : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Good, bad news on Kendall home sales
Foreclosed homes continue to sell, but property values also continue to slide

by Matt Schury


When it comes to the Kendall County housing market the same news can be taken as both good and bad.

For instance, a recent report by RE/MAX Northern Illinois showed that a third of all homes sales in the past two years have been distressed properties sold by banks.

The good news is the foreclosed homes are moving, Lisa Streit, a broker associate for RE/MAX Town and Country said.

"The inventory is turning and that means it is stimulating the economy, she said.

The bad new is that the distressed homes continue to lower values.

"It is awful news because it does a lot to our home values, bank owned properties typically bring our property values down-a normal homeowner," she said.

The report shows that out of 3,817 homes sold since 2010, 1,338 or 35.1 percent have been bank owned sales. Last year 595 distressed homes were sold compared to 514 in 2010, a 15.8 percent increase. In the first six months of 2012, 229 bank-owned homes were sold.

The median price of those bank owned homes in 2011 was $116,500 a decrease of $16,500 or 12 percent from two years ago. The median price of those homes sold so far this year was $104,950.

Looking at all the home sales over the last two years shows a similar pattern of an increase in units sold and a decrease in median price. Two years ago the median price of a home was $173,000, about $16,000 more compared to last year when the median price was $156,900. With 791 homes sold during the first six months of 2012, the median price is $155,000.

Steit's advice to homeowners who are not in a distressed property is to stay put.

"Unless you have to sell your home don't. Just hang in there and hold onto your homes as long as you can improve them as need be. Don't over improve them," she said. "It's going to take some time for us to recuperate from this."

In the meantime she suggested homeowners hold banks' feet to the fire when it comes to maintaining foreclosed properties.

She said to notify the banks if the grass is really high or it looks like the property is falling into distress as well as letting the city or town know. Banks have field service people to maintain the property, she said, but they have a large inventory to take care of and might not get to every property.

"There's a number on the window, call if the property is getting really bad or you see a broken light or a broken window," she said.

Additionally, with all the foreclosures there is added stress on the rental market, Streit explained.

"A lot of people that are in foreclosure, they can't afford to go out and buy another house, their credit is destroyed yet these are people with families, they're not going to apartment complexes-you need a home," she said. "We need more affordable housing in Kendall County-rentals and that kind of thing because there is such a demand."

Streit's advice for someone in a situation where they may lose their home is to look at all their options. She said they may take a large loss on the home from a short sale but it might be worth it in the long run.

"If you can get your home short sold you should, you should absolutely do that (short sale) because it's less of a mark on your credit. When you go to purchase a new home, you can recuperate from this quicker than if you were in a bankruptcy or a foreclosure," she said. "I would encourage people if they are in that situation not to just put their head in the sand and wait for a foreclosure. I would say to be proactive and call the bank and work with them."

Laura Ortoleva, a spokesperson for RE/MAX, reminded people that this is not isolated to just Kendall County or Illinois or even the U.S. These are the effects of the global recession and the ability to come out of it.

"This is the result of a global recession," she said. "This isn't like your typical recession where you could go somewhere else-to another country-and get out of it. The whole world receded at the same time."

Looking into the future, she said the best thing to happen would be steady growth.

"I see the economy continuing to improve but at a very slow rate," she said. "You don't want rapid recovers or rapid crashes because it shows an unstable economic environment. I'd rather see a slow, steady gain even though that's hard for people."

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