Spring homebuying season off to cool start in Chicago area: report

March was a worse month for the local housing market than February, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors
By Joe Ward | April 22, 2019 03:00PM

A spring rebound in home sales failed to materialize in March

Despite a big increase in the number of homes sold in March, the local housing market continued its buyer-friendly shift.

The Chicago metro area saw 8,122 homes sell in March, an increase over the 5,600 homes sold in February but a 10 percent year-over-year decline, according to a monthly report from the Illinois Association of Realtors.

March was actually a worse month for the market than February, generally considered one of the slowest months for home sales, when the number of home sales dipped 4 percent year over year.

Chicago-area prices, meanwhile, increased in March by 0.4 percent to $240,000, after a 1 percent increase in February..

The numbers were even worse in Chicago proper, where March home sales decreased by 13.6 percent year over year and prices dropped by 6 percent year over year.

In January, Chicago home sales dropped by 10 percent year-over-year. A more dramatic decrease of 16.5 percent was recorded in December, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors.

The relatively modest sales decreases in February had some hoping that a springtime rebound was in play. Through March, that has not been the case. But with local home prices stalling — and with Chicago and Illinois’ new leadership now in place — buyers might finally be in a position to act.

“The data is reflective of a spring where buyers are being deliberate in their spending,” Tommy Choi, broker-owner at Keller Williams Chicago-Lincoln Park and president of the Chicago Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “As the spring selling season ramps up, we’ll start to see more activity again, although at a more measured pace reflective of the current consumer climate.”

Chicago has been forecast to have one of the weakest housing markets in the country this year. Local real estate experts, however, have said that low interest rates, increasing inventory and Millennial interest in the home buying could give the market a jolt.