The McHenry County real estate market thrived in 2016. We compiled  data regarding single family detached and attached homes for 2016 and  2015 from Midwest Real Estate Data to review McHenry County's housing  market changes over the last two years. Compared to 2015, prices were  up over 5.1% The average sold price of single family homes in 2016 was $221,975, where it was $210,653 as compared to 2015. Attached single family homes saw a 8.47% price increase with a 2016 average sales price of $138,806 compared to $127,054 in 2015. 4,594 single family homes sold in 2016, accounting for a total sales volume of  $1,019,752,485. The number of single family home sales showed an 11.43% increase over the prior year, while attached single family homes sales increased by 5.6%. In both 2016 and 2015, the price point with the most sales in McHenry County was between $150,000 - $199,999. 913 single family homes sold in that price point during 2015, compared to 1,022 homes in 2016; a 10.67% increase. The average time on the market for single family properties in that price point declined by 21.15% to 82 days as well.

With values showing a continued increase over the last few years, we are taking a look at the forecast what to expect in 2017. Sitting down with Rick O'Connor, Managing Broker and Owner here at Realty Executives Cornerstone, we asked what he's expecting for McHenry County real estate in 2017. "For the most part, I think the market is going to hold stable in 2017," Rick explains. "Consumer confidence is up. With the projected economic forecast, the new presidency and regime, I suspect a slight increase in overall sales. If there is any increase in value, I expect it will be minimal. 2 to 3% in total compared to 2016," he added. "A lot of the change will be dependent on interest rates. I expect they will go up to 5%. The unknown is whether they will reach 6% or not. If the interest rates reach 6%, the finances may be a deterrent for potential buyers. Those figures will play into whether or not we will continue to see a rise in ownership rates versus rental rates as well." When asked if the market warranted an increase in rental cost, Rick was confident that things would remain stable. I do not expect to see the cost of rent increase for properties in 2017 compared to 2016," he explained.

What other changes might we see in 2017? Well, we should see less investors in the market for new acquisitions. "The number of investors in the marketplace, which is shrinking because there are less homes to buy and fix up. They are not available as frequently or as often as they have been before," Rick stated.  If you're looking to sell in 2017, you should be focused on getting your home ready to market NOW. My advice for sellers is that we are expecting a strong Spring market. Don?t wait until March/April/May to be ready to list your home. You don't want to wait too long. And don't overspend. Values may be up, but stick to simple repairs, general maintenance, fresh paint and carpet along with simple staging and de-cluttering the property. As a seller, you want your home to appear as light, bright, and spacious as possible," he explains. This is becoming more of a seller's market again.  If you've been considering selling your home, now would be the time."

As far as purchasing a home, patience is key. "Buyers are in a bit of a Catch 22. Right now, inventory is limited. Therefore choices are limited. More homes are going to become available in the spring. The question is when will interest rates start to creep up. Be prepared to spend 3 to 4 months as a buyer before finding and closing on the right property to suit your needs," Rick added.

In looking at McHenry County compared to the surrounding areas, things are on par. "In comparison to Cook, Kane, and Lake Counties, the real estate market is fairly level. McHenry County is in line with homes in those areas. The numbers are not dramatically different, but there are different price points. Lake and Kane Counties are generally seen as more White Collar Counties.  McHenry County is known as more of a Blue Collar County. Our pricing is more in line with the housing prices and job market based on that," said Rick. Overall, we expect things to continue in a positive direction for the local real estate market this year. If you're buying, be patient but diligent to get the right home at the right price. As a seller, list now while inventory is down to get the best return on investment. As always, if you or your family need help in your real estate journey, please don't hesitate to contact our office for advice!