Mortgage rates fall to new lows

Sep. 27, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Freddie Mac's survey shows the average 30-year-fixed mortgage fell to 3.4 percent, which matches a previous record low set in July.

The low mortgage rates could be spurring something real estate agents have not seen in quite some time: bidding wars.

The Garchars want a more open floor plan for their young children. They bought their five-bedroom Hinsdale home two years ago, but they are now listing it.

"I know they've gotten multiple offers all around us, and we're hoping soon something comes in," said home seller Bianca Garchar.

Down the street, Steve Sobkowiak of Oakley Home Builders sold a home on the second showing and a previous home they built had two simultaneous offers.

"We were literally at the table, and the client and the realtor came to present and offer, and literally the phone rang with another offer," said Sobkowiak.

The Illinois Association of Realtors saw home sales up nearly 24 percent last month and some areas are expected to see even more growth in this quarter ending in September.

Home sales are forecast in Kankakee to go up 3 to 4 percent from last year. Rockford up 4 to 5 percent. Bloomington-Normal up 12 to 17 percent. Chicago is predicted to have the biggest increase from last year up 34 to 46 percent.

"I've not stopped working since the summer," said realtor Karla Mina. "The summer was crazy, and i thought, maybe, oh, it would slow down in winter -- but no, it is so busy."

Mina is a realtor with Coldwell Banker and a member of the Chicago Association of Realtors.

She says low interest rates and growing job security are helping move sellers and buyers.

"My advice to buyers out there: come on with your best game, because if you like it, chances are the next buyer down the street likes it too. And we're bidding and everybody is bidding higher," said Mina.

While home sales are up in some areas of Illinois, home prices statewide are down slightly from last year, something important for homeowners to keep in mind when pricing their homes to sell.

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