Chicago Real Estate Market Update: Highest September Sales In 15 Years

Well, it looks like the Chicago real estate market is still managing to eke out records despite all the effects of the pandemic speeding up and slowing down activity. The graph below shows all the monthly home sales history going back to 1997 along with all the September data points flagged in red. You can see how this September was up against a really strong September last year that blew away 2019. So, it’s actually quite impressive that we were able to beat last September by 2.1%. In fact, it might be more instructive to point out that this September beat 2019 by 34.2%.
But you won’t get this perspective when the Illinois Association of Realtors releases their numbers in a couple of weeks. They will actually report a 0.5% decline in home sales from 2020 due to a flaw in their methodology.
As has been the case for several months now, condo sales are really driving the volume. While detached home sales are down roughly 14% from last year attached sales are up about 6%.

Chicago monthly home sales
Chicago home sales had been declining now for several years but the Coronavirus really tanked the market in May and June of 2020. The market returned to more normal levels starting in July and is now setting new records.

Chicago Home Contract Activity

The good news is that we are still setting records for home sale contracts written during the time period that I’ve been tracking this, with this year running 0.9% ahead of last year and 25.7% ahead of 2019. So we are poised to continue to set sales records for another month or two since contracts lead closings by that much.

Chicago home sale contract activity
Chicago home sale contract activity is still showing tremendous strength relative to historic levels.

Pending Home Sales

Pending home sales continue to decline from the highs set last year, losing 491 units in September. However, it remains higher than 3 of the other past 4 years. So they continue to support closings but with a diminished capacity to do so.

Chicago pending home sales
After hitting historic lows the backlog of homes likely to close in the next 1 – 2 months rebounded during the pandemic but is now starting to retreat again

Distressed Home Sales

Distressed home sales have fallen to a negligible portion of Chicago’s real estate market, representing only 1.8% of the total in September, down from 2.8% last year. It’s hard to believe it can go much lower but the foreclosure moratorium has been depressing this number. Now that it has expired we should see this percentage rising over time.

Chicago Distressed Home Sales
Since the housing crisis the percentage of home sales that are distressed has steadily declined to almost negligible levels.

Chicago Home Inventory

Given how tricky it has been to measure Chicago’s home inventory levels during the pandemic I continue to use my own calculation rather than the canned programs available to realtors. Both detached and attached inventory reached new lows for September with only a 2.3 month supply of detached inventory and a 4.2 month supply of attached inventory. It’s still a great time to be a seller in Chicago – perhaps even during the off season this year.

Chicago home inventory
After a big Coronavirus induced spike in April 2020 the inventory of homes for sale dropped back down. Both detached and attached inventory keep setting new record lows.

Chicago Home Sale Market Times

With such low inventory levels it should be no surprise that homes are selling incredibly fast. The average detached home sold in only 44 days in September – a record low for that time of the year – with half the homes selling in 17 days or less. Attached homes took slightly longer to sell this year than last – 67 days with half the homes selling in 32 days or less.

How long it takes to sell a home in Chicago
When the pandemic first hit Chicago market times rose but now they are actually quite a bit lower than last year. Detached homes are at a record low.

#RealEstate #ChicagoRealEstate #Coronavirus
Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area’s full service real estate brokerage that offers home buyer rebates and discount commissions. If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market or get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry you can Subscribe to Getting Real by Email using the form below. Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.

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