The January through June sales statistics for Forest Park real estate sales are now available and things are finally looking up.
Dorothy Gillian, of ReMax in the Village illustrates the uptick this way: “Two years ago, I was getting calls from people to whom I had originally sold a house, and I had to tell them it was worth less than what they had paid for it. I hate giving bad news but it was not worth what it was. But in the past two months, I have been able to tell people their property has increased in value, as it supposed to do.”
Gillian’s credentials are well established; she was the top selling agent in Forest Park the past two years, and by volume sold the most property.
“I’ve been in a lot of houses in Forest Park,” says Gillian. “I know the inventory, know the facts on properties. Started my business just as the market was dropping off. Fortunately, I was at an established place in my life where I could handle it I would love to have started four years earlier when people were making money hand over fist, but that wasn’t a good time for my family. So I started in a failing market but I saw the glass as half full, and the situation really taught me how to sell real estate. It was a character builder. “
“We are seeing values increasing all over, said Gillian, “and definitely in Forest Park.”
“That didn’t happen for a while,” she added. “We are starting to come back, and that’s what you want. The laws of supply and demand apply; we are experiencing low inventory, which helps draw values up. There are also multiple offer situations. This phenomenon is more prevalent in Oak Park, but in Forest Park we too are seeing multiple offers, buyers competing for a property.
“Before, it was a buyers’ market, but it is switching over to a sellers’. And buyers are on the web and know what a property’s price should be. When a property is priced well, you can expect 96 to 97% of the list price. But only if it is priced well.
“The first principle of real estate,” Gillian noted, “is a property is only worth as much as someone will pay for it. Do people overpay in this market? Sometimes, if there is competition, and you really want that house, there can be value in paying a little more just to secure that desired property.”
The median price for single family homes and two-plus bedroom condos and townhouses has increased by 15 percent since July 2013. Average market time for houses has fallen from 108 days to 74 and for 2+ bedrooms from 212 to 94.
The market is softer for one-bedroom condos, up 8 percent since this time last year and not quite as toxic as they have been in the past. Selling time has dropped from 179 days on the market on average to 109.
The inventory – the amount of real estate available for sale – in Forest Park is currently tipped in the buyers’ favor. Said Gillian, “We have just under a five-month supply of single family houses right now. A six-month supply would mean it favors buyer and seller equally. For 1-bedroom condos there is a three-month supply; four when you include townhouses. Properties selling fastest are ones in ‘done’ condition, kitchens and bathrooms updated, move-in ready, so if you’re selling now it behooves you to get the work done or lower the price accordingly.”
Gillian noted that the highest price a Forest Park single family home received in 2011 was $445,000; in 2012 it was $475,000, and in 2013 $530,000.