Sizzling Hot Chicago Real Estate Market Had Record Sales In April

I think April had record sales but I can’t be entirely sure. Check out the graph below (all the April values are flagged in red) and notice that last month was slightly lower than April 2005. However, all the April 2005 sales are posted after 16 years but there are still a few April 2021 stragglers that have not been posted. My best guess is that when everything is posted this April will exceed 2005.
Also note that the graph below only goes back as far as 1997 but there is a clear pattern that the further back in time you go the lower sales are. The only reason sales surged around 2005 and then subsequently crashed is because of the housing bubble and its aftermath. So last month likely had either record sales or was close to it.
No matter how you look at it April was sizzling hot. There’s no point in comparing it to April 2020 because sales sucked with the pandemic. But it was 26.5% above April 2019 levels just to give you a decent benchmark. And almost all of that increase came from the sales of condos since single family homes are in such short supply. Condo sales were up 39.4% from April 2019.

Chicago monthly home sales
Chicago home sales have been declining now for several years but the pandemic 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

If you want to know where sales are heading you have to watch contract activity and, again, April set a record with 16.1% more contracts written than in 2019 (again, no point in looking at sucky 2020). Also, it was the 11th consecutive month with a year over year increase in activity. So May should have decent closings.

Chicago home sale contract activity
Chicago home sale contract activity blew past all previous years, hitting another record high for this time of year after plummeting to record lows when the pandemic first hit.

Pending Home Sales

Pending home sales hit a 5 year high but also ended up at the upper end of the range shown in the graph below going back 9 years. Once again, comparing it to 2019, we added 869 units, which covers about 30% of May’s anticipated sales.

Chicago pending home sales
After hitting historic lows the backlog of homes likely to close in the next 1 – 2 months has reached the highest levels in 5 years.

Distressed Home Sales

The percentage of sales that are distressed just keeps hitting impossibly low levels. Look at the graph below. In 2012 it was unthinkable that it could drop as low as 1.5% but it just did. Compare that to 4.1% last year. Of course, the fact that there is a moratorium in place on foreclosures is probably helping to drive the percentage to zero but here we are.

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

Chicago’s inventory of homes for sale has also been plummeting to ridiculously low levels. Detached homes remain at a mere 1.3 month supply as any desperate home buyer in the city can tell you. But now attached homes are down to a 2.3 month supply, which we’ve only hit once before. And that is after inventory spiked to the highest level in almost a decade after the pandemic hit. Normally we only experience that kind of swing with our weather.

Chicago home inventory
After a big Coronavirus induced spike in April 2020 the inventory of homes for sale dropped back down. Detached inventory keeps setting new record lows while attached inventory is dropping to the lower end of the historic range.

Chicago Home Sale Market Times

So, with sales so strong and inventory so low you would expect homes to be flying off the shelves and that’s exactly what they are doing. Well, at least that’s what detached homes are doing – selling in record time. For detached homes that sold in April the average market time was only 60 days, down from 91 days in 2020 and 99 days in 2019. But, what’s even more amazing is that half those homes sold in only 12 days or less, down from 37 days last year. That’s incredible.
Attached homes are actually taking a little longer to sell right now, which is a bit puzzling but maybe that will change soon? April closings took 81 days to sell on average, up from 75 days last year. Similarly, the median moved up to 29 days from 25 days last year.

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.

Be sure to visit our Web site if you are interested in other data on the Chicago real estate market.
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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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