Suburban luxury market stalls as buyers flock Downtown

Inventory is piling up in some of the ritziest suburban housing markets while the city housing market heats up

545 College Road (Credit: Redfin)
545 College Road (Credit: Redfin)

Chicago’s success in luring corporations — and their workers — to the city from the suburbs is having a big impact on the suburban housing market.

Far-flung suburbs with a high concentration of luxury homes are experiencing a particularly slow housing market, as homebuyers chase the jobs moving back into the city, according to Crain’s.

Luxury home developers in the 1990s followed corporations out to the suburbs, building massive homes near the headquarters of companies like Sears in Hoffman Estates. But corporate relocations back to the city — and changing preferences among younger buyers — have caused market for those larger luxury homes in the suburbs to dwindle.

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The problem is impacting areas like Lake Forest, which has just over a year of housing inventory on the market, and Barrington, which has 11 months of available inventory, according to Crain’s. At least 10 suburbs have more than eight months of inventory. (Six months of inventory is generally considered a healthy housing market.)

That influx of inventory is causing some homes to sell for less than they did a decade or more ago.

The problem comes even as the local luxury market had a record-breaking year in 2018, though much of that was thanks to the success of downtown developments like No 9 Walton. Luxury home sales have plummeted this year, with even North Shore lakefront mansions suffering in the current housing market. [Crain’s]Joe Ward