The local residential real estate market leaves something to be desired, according to longtime Forest Park-based realtor Jerry Jacknow.

“Business is horrible; residential real estate is not moving to any degree,” said Jacknow, owner of the residential real estate company Jerry Jacknow, Inc., 7342 Madison St. Jacknow has been a realtor for 45 years, has owned his own business for 26 of those years and is a longtime member of the Oak Park Area Association of Realtors. He’s seen the ups and downs of the local and regional markets.  

“We have all kinds of listings, but no buyers,” Jacknow said. He doesn’t keep track of the residences sold in town, though, he said. 

But Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) does, and the Forest Park Review looked at sales figures of single-family homes that the company provided, from 2005 to Aug. 31, 2011 (the most recent data available), to try to gauge the local market. 

The median prices of single-family homes sold in Forest Park have been steadily declining since 2007, according to MRED. But the percentage declines have remained about the same each year since 2007.

As of Aug. 31 (about two thirds of the way through the third quarter of the financial year), the median price of homes sold in town was $160,000. There’s still another quarter to go before the financial year is over, but that figure means the median price of single family homes sold has actually risen by 18 percent, compared with Jan. 1-June 30, which was $135,000. The median price also climbed from the first quarter to the second quarter by 37 percent ($115,000 to $158,000). 

Over the last five years, however, prices have fallen. In 2007, the price peaked at $245,000, a 45 percent increase from 2006, when it was $169,263. Each year since then, though, prices have been falling by 13-16 percent. From 2007’s high point until the end of August 2011, the price fell by some 35 percent. 

Jacknow attributed the 2007 peak to a wave of residential developments that were built in several areas throughout Forest Park around that time, but neighboring Oak Park and River Forest both saw the median prices peak, as well.

Generally speaking, homes in Oak Park and River Forest sell for more than they do in Forest Park. Presently, the median sales price is $288,500 in Oak Park, and $512,500 in River Forest.

In 2009, following the economic crash at the end of 2008, River Forest actually saw a slight increase in the median sales price of single-family homes. The price jumped by 10 percent, to $502,500. The previous year it was $454,000.

Meanwhile, the number of homes sold in Forest Park has also decreased every year since 2005.

“A lot of it has to do with the mortgage funding. … The restrictions are so tight that people aren’t buying,” Jacknow said, adding that in order for the overall economy to pick up, consumer spending needs a shot in the arm. But this likely won’t happen soon because of the scarcity of jobs, and the subsequent need for people to be frugal.

“People have to start spending money,” he said. “Everybody is afraid, though. Even if they have a job they don’t know if they’re going to keep it.”

He then said, only half joking, “You want to buy a house?”