I was reasonably optimistic about the early trend for Chicago’s 2011 real estate market but then I pulled May’s data and it’s not such a rosy picture.
Of course, as we all expected, when compared to last year’s government induced frenzy, Chicago’s home sales numbers for May are down by more than 18%. The official Illinois Association of Realtors numbers don’t come out for another 2 weeks but it shouldn’t be too far off of my number.
More concerning is the trend in contract activity, which until recently had been tracking nicely above 2009 levels at least. However, if you look at the graph below you will see that although we are still above 2009 levels we’re not seeing the normal seasonal uptick that we should be. It’s looking like both April and May are trending down since March when they really should be trending way up at this time of the year.
Looking at the distressed property (short sales and foreclosures) market in Chicago may provide some insight into what’s going on. If you look at the graph below you will see that the distressed percentage of sales in Chicago has recently been on the decline – significantly on the decline. In fact, the percentage dipped below 40% for the first time since November. So it would appear that the fall off in contract activity could be soley driven by a decline in distressed property sales – which would be a good thing. Yeah, I could actually run some more numbers but I actually have to get some real work done in between analyzing this stuff.