Chicago housing market sees jump in contracts signed, but clampdown slowed that roll

Nearly 20% more homes went into contract in March, but more than half were in first 2 weeks

TRD CHICAGO /
Apr.April 07, 2020 09:28 AM
Chicago saw a spike in houses that went into contract in March, but the numbers declined after the statewide coronavirus restrictions took hold. (Credit: iStock; Unsplash)

Chicago saw a spike in houses that went into contract in March, but the numbers declined after the statewide coronavirus restrictions took hold. (Credit: iStock; Unsplash)

Nearly 20 percent more Chicago homes went into contract in March compared to the same time last year, though a statewide stay-at-home order severely slowed that roll.

In the Chicago area, 16,525 homes went into contract last month, far above the 13,932 homes that went into contract in March 2019, according to regional multiple-listing service Midwest Real Estate Data, as cited by Crain’s. The data also showed that more homes hit the market last month compared to 2019.

The coronavirus onslaught has ground much of the U.S. economy to a halt and in Chicago, more than half of those homes went into contract before Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order took effect on March 21, according to the data.

That means a slowdown will likely be reported in April. The data bears that out because contracts plummeted in the last weeks of March, the report noted.

To combat the spread of the pandemic, the governor’s order closed all non-essential businesses — though construction projects, no matter the type, are still considered “essential.” Brokerages can also remain open, though most around the city have closed, and agents say they have shifted to virtual showings. Pritzker extended his order, which had been set to expire April 7, through the end of the month.

Listings also ticked up 11 percent last month, to 27,419, according to the data. But that, too, comes with a caveat. Over 8,700 homes hit the market in the beginning of the month, and just 4,500 in the final week.

Chicago luxury homes sales have remained steady, however, and have even seen a slight week-to-week increase among the very top. Last week, the five most expensive homes that sold totaled $14.4 million, marking the third week in a row that the total ticked up. [Crain’s] — Alexi Friedman 


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