Chicago’s on-market housing inventory at record low

Residential sales have bounced back, but inventory hasn’t kept up

Chicago /
Jan.January 07, 2021 02:47 PM
Chicago’s on-the-market housing inventory sunk to its lowest point in over a dozen years. (Illustration by The Real Deal)

Chicago’s on-the-market housing inventory sunk to its lowest point in over a dozen years. (Illustration by The Real Deal)

The Chicago area housing market has been a case study in extremes.

The pandemic sent sales into a tailspin in the spring and part of the summer. Now, inventory of homes on the market has plummeted, according to Crain’s.

As of December, there were enough homes listed to sustain just 1.8 months worth of sales, the lowest inventory since January 2008, Crain’s reported, citing Midwest Real Estate Data.

Generally, a four- to six-month supply of homes on the market notes a functioning market.

Sales took off beginning in August, when 13,360 homes sold across nine counties, representing nearly 20 percent year-over-year increase. In Chicago alone that month, 2,813 homes sold, up 8.2 percent from 2019.

The rise in demand — suburban luxury sales also jumped — meant that most of the decent supply on the market was soon snapped up. Sellers have not listed properties at the pace they once did and new construction, slowed by the pandemic, has not kept up, either. The diminished supply compares to a near eight-year run of inventory hovering at between three and seven months. That streak ended in October, when it dipped.

A new nationwide report in Realtor.com found the lack of inventory widespread. It showed that as of late December, Chicago had about 34 percent fewer homes on the market compared to the same period in 2019.
There are supply exceptions.

The condo market in the Loop has stalled out. Crain’s reported in December that there was two years worth of unsold condo units, after buyers decided to head for the suburbs for more space amid the Covid restrictions.

Jennifer Ames, a partner at Engel & Volkers Chicago, told Crain’s that “the market is definitely tighter on single-family homes outside downtown, where you see a lot of inventory and longer market times.” [Crain’s] — Alexi Friedman 


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