Market Conditions: February Sales Actually Rose 3.9% Year Over Year

Chicago skyline November 2010 final

Nearly every month in 2014 showed declining sales compared to 2013 even though mortgage rates moved lower.

Finally, February 2015 bucked that trend as sales rose year over year.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

The city of Chicago saw sales of 1,448 homes in February 2015, up 3.9 percent from last year. The median price of a home in Chicago was $212,000, up 21.1 percent over February 2014.

Here is the sales data for February going back to 1997 (courtesy of G). It is slightly different from the IAR’s data:

  • 1997: 881 sales
  • 1998: 991
  • 2000: 1383
  • 2001: 1151
  • 2002: 1677
  • 2003: 1566
  • 2004: 1814
  • 2005: 2228
  • 2006: 1855
  • 2007: 1703
  • 2008: 1454
  • 2009: 870
  • 2010: 1257
  • 2011: 1092
  • 2012: 1250
  • 2013: 1411
  • 2014: 1361
  • 2015: 1448

Here is the Median Price Data also going back to 1997 (thanks G!):

  • 1997: $117,000
  • 1998: $132,000
  • 1999: $143,750
  • 2000: $161,500
  • 2001: $180,200
  • 2002: $212,000
  • 2003: $215,000
  • 2004: $229,900
  • 2005: $268,900
  • 2006: $267,500
  • 2007: $270,000
  • 2008: $290,000
  • 2009: $218,125 (with 31% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2010: $176,000 (with 46% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2011: $150,250 (with 50% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2012: $140,300 (with 52% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2013: $158,000
  • 2014 $175,000
  • 2015: $221,000

Lower sales in February 2014 were blamed on the weather which was a one, two punch of both cold and snow.

Remember, February closings usually went under contract earlier- in December and January.

This year, winter weather wasn’t really a factor until the record cold and snow in February (which should show up in the March and April closings, if it impacted sales at all.)

The Illinois Association of Realtors doesn’t blame the weather this year. It blames low inventories.

Statewide, inventories are down 4.8% but market times have ticked up to 91 days from 88 days.

“Sellers should definitely be motivated by this market,” said Jim Kinney, ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and vice president for luxury sales at Baird & Warner in Chicago. “The lower inventories and relatively short time it takes to sell a home are indicators that the housing market is quite robust entering into the busy spring season.”

Mortgage rates continue to be well under the year ago levels. A 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.68% versus 4.32% a year ago.

“Chicago’s spring buying season is starting strong. In a sign of buyer confidence, year-over-year city sales increased for the first time since last summer despite the low inventory,” said Hugh Rider, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and co-president of Realty & Mortgage Co. “This is welcome news for potential sellers who might have been tepid about putting their home on the market. Homeowners also can be motivated by median sales prices that continue to top last year’s.”

Last year, the weakness in the spring remained throughout the year.

With these improved February numbers, will Spring 2015 be a different story?

Illinois home prices surge 13.1 percent in February; Home sales decline 1.7 percent amid tight inventories [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, March 23, 2015]

189 Responses to “Market Conditions: February Sales Actually Rose 3.9% Year Over Year”

  1. The national existing home sales for February also just came out.

    The NAR didn’t blame the weather either (although that was definitely the case in Boston).

    It also blamed low inventories.

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  2. If there is all this pent-up demand, why aren’t the homebuilders building more?

    They are still building at recession levels. It’s pathetic. Why aren’t they announcing new condo towers in River North?

    All that is being built right now are luxury buildings. There are 4 or 5 of those that have been announced.

    Here’s the latest: http://9walton.com/

    This is the sister building to Walton on the Park next door which was supposed to be built but they didn’t build it due to the recession. Walton on the Park is now rentals.

    9 Walton prices to start at $1.5 million.

    Where are the condo buildings with $400,000 1-bedrooms and $650,000 2-bedrooms? Why isn’t anyone converting one of the new rental towers?

    Everyone says demand is there.

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  3. Related, just sold 111 W Wacker for 328 million, 504 units at $651,000 per unit. It’s easier and more lucrative to sell the whole building than go condo. Related does have a rental/condo building in the design phase in Streeterville. The market at some point will flip back to condos once there is either a saturation of rental or increase in prices/demand. Younger people would rather rent than buy.

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  4. There are a couple places in western River north being built new.

    400 W Huron and 676 N Kingsbury

    The market is showing that people want 3+br and 2+ba with their new construction as these are flying off the shelves even at $600-700/sqft

    There is an econo-midrise being built by cmk in the south loop @ 1345 S. Wabash

    High rises take a loooong time to plan for, especially such a high risk thing as a condo tower, as a previous poster said, its much easier just to do a rental tower these days and sell the whole thing to a pension fund or whoever than deal with individual sales.

    I do think that if a new tower in RN/GC wherever was built it wouldn’t have a hard time selling unless the units were poorly laid out.

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  5. HOLY COW! The party is back on again. Buy now OR BE PRICED OUT FOREVER!

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  6. Don’t forget about 4 Elm and 100 W Huron

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  7. “HOLY COW! The party is back on again”

    Yep, that median price is all the way back up to the 2000 median + CPI.

    Which might mean something if you put stock in the median.

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  8. I’m annoyed that property taxes are going to go up because of increased property values. I don’t understand how the city can claim they need to raise property tax rates when they are about to get a windfall now that property values are increasing. Am I wrong in thinking this way?

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  9. Property values aren’t rising fast enough to cover the ballooning pension debts due to years of deferring payments. The era of artificially low Chicago property taxes coming to an end.

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  10. “I’m annoyed that property taxes are going to go up because of increased property values. I don’t understand how the city can claim they need to raise property tax rates when they are about to get a windfall now that property values are increasing. Am I wrong in thinking this way?”

    “Won’t you please think of the pensioners!” -Maude Flanders

    In all reality, this city is trying to greatly cut down on its overall head count of employees since the salary, benefits, and retirement costs are enormous. It’s much better to pay them overtime instead. Property taxes have to go up to pay for this, unless a new revenue source comes along (hint: DOWNTOWN CASINO / allowing for thousands of more luxury apartments and condos. The city desperately needs to stop NIMBYS from preventing development that would pay millions in property taxes.)

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  11. “when they are about to get a windfall now that property values are increasing. Am I wrong in thinking this way?”

    Not how the tax scheme works in Chicago.

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  12. They need to cut city jobs and cut the salaries of the current workers. This page has a link to all of the salaries of CTA employees: http://www.transitchicago.com/foia/

    The salaries for nearly all of the employees are crazy. A bricklayer helper should not be getting $29.03 an hour. it’s insanity. The CTA alone employs 10,523 people. It should not employ that many people. Bus service should be completely cut. Private companies can fill that niche.

    This is just an example of one of the city services. I’m sure all of the others are like this too. Before they raise property taxes to pay for lazy people who get gigantic pensions, they should cut everything they can possibly cut.

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  13. Been reading this site for awhile, family and I moved here last summer, renting in the GZ trying to decide if we are city people or not. We have two kids under three and would like to buy and get settled. What would you tell Good friends new to the city- time to buy or time to wait?

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  14. I think the city needs to take a good look at certain property tax exemptions; specifically for churches. I have nothing against (most) religions, but even at a discounted tax rate, think about how much revenue that could bring in for the city without affecting property taxes for the rest of us.

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  15. “I think the city needs to take a good look at certain property tax exemptions; specifically for churches.”

    Do you recall the hullabaloo when the City wanted to charge churches for their water usage?? The uproar would be deafening.

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  16. I agree Phil. Churches/temples/mosques/etc should have to pay the same property tax as everyone else. They should be taxed like any other business.

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  17. I thought they are now paying for water anon (tfo). Are they not?

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  18. “I thought they are now paying for water anon (tfo). Are they not?”

    More than zero, less than the real cost.

    A NFP with net assets of under $1m gets 100% exemption:

    http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/fin/supp_info/Revenue/Summary_of_Municipal_Code_11-12-540.pdf \

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  19. Why should religious institutions be counted as NFPs? I suppose the ones that run food pantries at least provide some good to the community. They should be taxed in a similar way as country clubs because they are like country clubs but without the golf.

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  20. ” like country clubs but without the golf”

    also without trees for the pervy flasher members to hide behind…

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  21. Thanks anon, religious orgs should pay the full cost of water. That really gets me mad.

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  22. And childless couples and singles should not have to pay for schools.

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  23. Considering how much money criminals and poor people with kids cost the city, maybe Chicago could pay them to move to Gary. If the city spends about $10,000 per kid at a public school, why not pay poor families to leave and never come back?

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  24. Rather than sending them to Gary, let’s put them on a boat and send them to Cuba. This way they can’t hitchhike back.

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  25. “And childless couples and singles should not have to pay for schools.”

    And no one should have to pay for the medicare and social security of the childless…

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  26. Anybody who says childless folks shouldn’t have to pay for schools only works if they weren’t educated by those same public schools.

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  27. Instead of paying poor people to leave, why don’t they stop paying for them to stay. I live in a highly sought after 29 second walk to train close to the loop high rents and there’s a low income building down the block. It makes no sense why tax payers are subsidizing probably 90% of market value for each apartment. What?!

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  28. Nornan Bates Mother on March 23rd, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Country clubs are taxed at the lowest improved rate for the clubhouse and vacant land, sometimes vacant-agricultural, for the course. City should up the rates to Vacant-improved for the course. Agree with ending the church exemption, it’s a joke. Childless couples, singles, empty-nesters-none should be charged for schools. The whole premise that the amount I contribute to schools, roads, police and fire protection, etc., is based on the value of my real estate investment is BS. I choose to live in a nice area in a nice crib, so I have to subsidize the education expense of the carpetbagger who lives in a crap apartment with 6 kids? When Rahm, who will win, declares bankruptcy, all of this will change….

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  29. Or we could just allow more dense, pedestrian and traffic friendly developments that have decent architecture (no blank concrete parking podiums). That alone would help our massive budget deficit. Throw in getting rid of TIF zones in high income areas (Loop and South Loop TIF’s fore example) and all of a sudden we’re making massive strides to our budget deficit. And while I’m on a rant, give a swift kick in the *** to the Friends of the Parks Organization that opposes the Lucas Museum and Obama Library since these are major tourist destinations that would attract millions of additional dollars a year in tourism.

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  30. “Property values aren’t rising fast enough to cover the ballooning pension debts due to years of deferring payments. The era of artificially low Chicago property taxes coming to an end.”

    It’s interesting that this was discussed in this same thread a year ago. Everyone was in denial then about it (and continue to be.) The state legislature gave all the cities that were not in compliance with their pension obligations 5 years to figure out a plan. Chicago hasn’t done that. So here we are with the $500 million bill coming due this year.

    The only way to pay it is through increased property taxes. Nothing else will find that much money that quickly. That is the budget of the entire police department.

    Rising property taxes are the reality.

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  31. “High rises take a loooong time to plan for, especially such a high risk thing as a condo tower, as a previous poster said, its much easier just to do a rental tower these days and sell the whole thing to a pension fund or whoever than deal with individual sales.”

    They don’t take a long time to plan. There are dozens of new buildings being built in the GreenZone right now. In fact, they keep announcing new rental high rises just about every month. Once you own the land, it doesn’t take long at all.

    However, I do agree that bank loans are riskier for condo buildings because you actually have to sell the units. But, again, it’s not like this hasn’t been done in Chicago over the last 50 years. In far worse economies than what this one is, I might add.

    It seems riskier to build an all luxury high rise than one that is at the lower price point. The lower price point will always sell.

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  32. “Younger people would rather rent than buy.”

    Then why are prices rising for condos in the GreenZone? Who is buying in The Silver? Or SONO? Or any of these buildings? Are they retired baby boomers?

    Why isn’t there massive inventory available in the condo buildings as owners dump them to rent?

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  33. Who is buying?????

    We might be late to the party but Chinese have found Chicago.

    http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/January-2015/The-New-China-Pipeline/

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  34. Chinese developers are all over the U.S. now with a direct pipeline to Chinese clients, Wanda is developing at lakeshore east.

    http://www.mingtiandi.com/real-estate/outbound-investment/china-vanke-in-ny-real-estate-project-with-hines-and-rfr/

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  35. “We might be late to the party but Chinese have found Chicago.”

    Yawn. Agents have been telling me for three or four years that Chinese buyers have been buying in the Gold Coast for their children who are in college. There’s nothing new in it. And, frankly, those parental buyers have simply replaced the American parents who were doing the same thing before the bust.

    Although many of the agents have told me that the Chinese refuse to buy outside of the downtown neighborhoods, especially the Gold Coast even if their child is a student at, say, DePaul. They don’t consider even Lincoln Park to be “the best” and they want “the best.”

    But compared to other cities, Chinese investment buying isn’t really a factor.

    Thank god!

    Who wants to be Vancouver or Silicon Valley where Chinese investors are buying $2 million homes and letting them sit empty? What the f*ck is the point of that? I want to live in a real city with people living there. Isn’t something like 15% or 20% of all Vancouver housing stock sitting empty now? I thought I read that somewhere. That is some seriously messed up stuff.

    Americans and Canadians shouldn’t really complain, I suppose. We’ve been distorting foreign markets with our money for the last few decades. How expensive would houses on, say Roatan really be if not for the North Americans flocking there and driving up prices? Or even in Dominican Republic or parts of Mexico? The locals probably curse us too.

    But I hope Chicago stays nice and boring so it remains a relatively affordable city to live in.

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  36. More information

    http://www.mingtiandi.com/real-estate/outbound-investment/chicago-leads-worlds-cities-for-outbound-chinese-real-estate-investment-in-q1/

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  37. I didn’t attend public school. I don’t have kids. I shouldn’t have to pay for other people to send their kids to school. People should think before they have kids. Kids are expensive. Sorry, I don’t want to be part of the village that raises other people’s kids.

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  38. preach jenny, PREACH!

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  39. @jenny so nobody who has children attending public schools put thought into their decision to have kids? You could also flip it and say maybe they thought about the fact that their tax dollars are going to go to public schools anyway so maybe they should utilize them. Seems like a prudent decision to me.

    We understand you don’t want to be part of the village. So maybe you should leave. That’s always an option. Or maybe you should run for office and put together a new plan to rid your area of public schools.

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  40. I am not in the military and I am opposed to all violence. I shouldn’t have to pay for the military.

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  41. The military, like the police keep society safe as a whole. I don’t benefit from paying for kids to go to schools that are no better than day care, but cost significantly more.

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  42. Jenny, what about food stamps and public housing?

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  43. Education doesn’t help society?

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  44. nope public schools aka educational daycares don’t help ANYONE.
    I would love to know what percentage of private school teachers are recipients of daycare diplomas. Because that would mean private school kids are getting taught by dummies too. Gasp. Guess us public schoolers might as well go get on public assistance.

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  45. ” the police keep society safe as a whole.”

    Except for the unarmed black kids they keep killing. Or that dude in Walmart in Ohio. Not keeping them safe.

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  46. “schools that are no better than day care, but cost significantly more”

    Jenny clearly has no idea what day care costs around here…

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  47. The senseless ramblings of Ayn Rand, channeled by Jenny.

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  48. “The NAR didn’t blame the weather either (although that was definitely the case in Boston).

    It also blamed low inventories.”

    Blame? Blame for what?

    “US new home sales hit 7-year high in February

    The Commerce Department said on Tuesday sales jumped 7.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 539,000 units, the highest level since February 2008.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/102530152

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  49. “nope public schools aka educational daycares don’t help ANYONE.”

    You don’t benefit from the urban yoots being in school instead of pickpocketing you on your commute into work?

    If you are paranoid about apple pickers then you should fully support public school and after school programs that keep the yoots occupied for several hours per day. There’s a reason most of these incidents happen in the summer months when school is out.

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  50. “Rather than sending them to Gary, let’s put them on a boat and send them to Cuba. This way they can’t hitchhike back.”

    Yes, and let’s dust off the Madagascar Plan again and get that going. End the “sanctuary city” nonsense. The religious leaders in this city don’t ever admonish the illegals for breaking at least 3 commandments every single day of their lives! It’s like “hey, you lied, you cheat, you take what isn’t rightfully yours….no problem!”

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  51. I don’t know what is worse: lack of compassion towards children (even animals have this towards the young of their kind or even cross spices) in people like Jenny or lack of basic understanding that if people don’t reproduce we cannot maintain retirement benefits and services for the elderly.

    BTW, I have lived in a few places in the world and each have their own issues, but I have never seen a higher concentration of obtuse egotistical antipathetic
    individuals than in US. Take anti-vaccers and tea baggers.

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  52. I have compassion for children and animals. I just don’t want to pay for the kids since the parents should take responsibility for them.

    For animals, I strongly support the idea of creating no-kill shelters and would MUCH rather pay for dogs/cats to be kept in happy/health environments than pay for someone else’s child. People can control when they have kids. Animals can’t.

    I might like to have a child someday, but I realize I am not in the financial position at the moment to have a child. It irritates me that less responsible people have kids and then I have to pay for those kids.

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  53. “Rising property taxes are the reality.”

    No doubt about it. Kosher-nostra Rahm and Jesus Garcia have no plan. They can’t fix or change the basic laws of mathematics.

    I gave up on this country’s political scene when something as basic as the populist Tea Party, which simply advocates balanced budgets, was shot down by our elite, pundits, pols, media, and ultimately the citizenry itself! And part of this was due to racism, because the people who advocated for common sense and balanced budgets happened to be white and gentiles. There is no solution.

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  54. “The senseless ramblings of Ayn Rand, channeled by Jenny.”

    Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum

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  55. meh I figure it will just lead to less kids on the dole, ya know? I’m ok paying for less unwanted children. They usually lead to problems, roaming about in bands in their teenage years and such.

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  56. “roaming about in bands in their teenage years”

    Yeah, f’ing hippies playing that rock’n’roll noise! Get off of my lawn! Or at least replace the catalytic converter on that damn conversion van.

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  57. Aren’t people stealing things like catalytic converters these days? One of my coworkers had something stolen out of her car’s engine. I can’t remember what, but I think it was the catalytic converter.

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  58. Steve Heitman on March 24th, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    jenny on March 24th, 2015 at 9:25 am

    “I didn’t attend public school. I don’t have kids. I shouldn’t have to pay for other people to send their kids to school. People should think before they have kids. Kids are expensive. Sorry, I don’t want to be part of the village that raises other people’s kids.”

    Then get out. While you don’t want kids and don’t want to pay for their education, our country would be pretty screwed if everyone thought like you. Do you also not want to pay for the military and the streets and sewage system? What if I didn’t own a car and complained about the damn cost of roads. If you don’t like it then get the f out!

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  59. “Or at least replace the catalytic converter on that damn conversion van.”

    Oh they’ll more than likely steal your catalytic converter than replace their own… lol

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  60. Steve Heitman on March 24th, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    “jenny on March 24th, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Aren’t people stealing things like catalytic converters these days? One of my coworkers had something stolen out of her car’s engine. I can’t remember what, but I think it was the catalytic converter.”

    You sound like you would be a real peach to meet in person! Kill me now…

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  61. I seriously think I know jenny IRL. Do you own a german shephard?

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  62. No german shepherd. Sorry to disappoint you.

    …and I suppose you can’t get rid of public schools entirely, but they shouldn’t cost so much money.

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  63. I always assumed “jenny” was a character from a performance art project by a grad student at Northwestern.

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  64. Where is HD to defend his sweet Jenny’s honor?

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  65. “Where is HD to defend his sweet Jenny’s honor?”

    HD’s wife found out…

    Anyway, that was mainly Bobbo, no?

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  66. I think we were shipping for Bobbo and jenny but HD showed more interest. I wonder if it was in peat due to Jenny claiming she doesn’t eat and HD though he’d be able to save on food cost and out it away for next time the basement floods.

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  67. In peat >> in part
    Though >> thought
    Out it away >> put it away
    I’m not drunk just typing on someone else’s device :)

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  68. “Sorry, I don’t want to be part of the village that raises other people’s kids.”

    This phrase doesn’t mean what people actually think it means. It took a village to raise children when we were all hunter gatherers. There was a mens’ hut and a womens’ hut. Everybody slept with everybody and lacking DNA testing, and values such as monogamy, nobody knew who anyone’s child was. The men were mostly absent as they went off hunting and gathering in the woods all day and the women would all raise the child collectively because they all shared the same fathers.

    This all changed with the rise of agriculture, where the ability to grow and store food (aka wealth in the iron age) became a more important trait in communities, causing fewer men to mate. My opinion is that the wealthier men kept all the women for themselves and that changed men’s ability to mate with multiple members of their tribes.

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/03/neolithic-culture-may-have-kept-most-men-from-mating/

    What does this have to do with Jenny?

    Many states, including Red states like Texas, pool taxes and distribute it for education state wide, rather than relying on just local property tax to fund schools. It’s been proposed in IL too, so its a more indirect funding of education, rather than the system we have know.

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  69. “HD’s wife found out…”

    Between jenny and the firecracker and that pretty jewish girl, I can understand her position. HD does seem (at a minimum) wistful about past romances.

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  70. “Where is HD to defend his sweet Jenny’s honor?”

    In the history of the world, compulsory public education paid for with tax dollars is a relatively new concept, first instituted in the United States in the 1800’s I believe. Before then, it was every family for themselves when it came to education in the sense of what we think of as education today.

    Most people were educated back in the days, just a different kind of education. They were trained to farm, or do a trade, or provide some sort of service for a ruling household. Maybe they couldn’t read very well, or be familiar with the various indoctrinations of today’s education (vs. the various indoctrinations of the past!) but people weren’t troglodytes living under a bridge.

    Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing to make schools a buyer pay system, rather than a tax payer funded system we have now. Everyone admits schools are bloated with layer upon layer of administrators making 100k+ a year, while teachers get the short end of the stick. and pensions, don’t get me started on pensions….and all that bureaucracy has made so many public schools into gangland infested hellholes (like my former public school that used to regularly sent graduates to the ivy leagues but now is literally gang infested) and education daycares.

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  71. ““HD’s wife found out…”

    Between jenny and the firecracker and that pretty jewish girl, I can understand her position. HD does seem (at a minimum) wistful about past romances.”

    In my experience, most women aren’t interested in married men; and those that are interested in married men are bit screwy and probably carry hpv or some other disgusting vd.

    As part of a former job I saw lots and lots of medical records…and my goodness, and I regularly saw young single people with vd listed in the records….it makes the prospect of dating again scary to me. I have newly single friends who have told me the same.

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  72. I am too nervous about diseases and way too selfish to share a man. I don’t understand people who would risk getting a disease just for a few moments of pleasure.

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  73. “and way too selfish to share a man.”

    Didn’t you know it’s better to have 50% of a good man than to have 100% of a bad man?

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  74. “gangland infested hellholes (like my former public school that used to regularly sent graduates to the ivy leagues but now is literally gang infested)”

    Palatine going down the tubes, HD??

    Thank god no one moved there on your recommendation.

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  75. They should send all of the gang members to the Australian outback.

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  76. Speaking of Bobbo, what ever happened to that nasty man G ?

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  77. “Speaking of…”

    I’m feeling a need to hear about what SFH’s in Lake View are renting for from JMM. Are they pulling $9k/month yet??

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  78. or brad’s millions, the king of leapfrog.

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  79. ” king of leapfrog.”

    Hope–for his sake–that he wasn’t greedy and dumped it when it hit 10.

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  80. VD? The last time it was actually called VD was when this was filmed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJkj3B3k9JU

    And Jenny – I was 41 when the first of my two children entered public school (kindergarten). Can I get a refund for the portion of my taxes that went to schools for the 20 years I didn’t have a child in the public schools? And a refund of the portion of my taxes that went to roads when I didn’t own a car? And the portion of my taxes that went to public sewers for that year I pooped in bags and used my shit as fertilizer for my yard?

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  81. Ace:

    I love old timey words: Dope, VD, ‘far out’, CRPG etc.

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  82. “Everyone admits schools are bloated with layer upon layer of administrators making 100k+ a year, while teachers get the short end of the stick. ”

    There’s no lack of gym (and other) teachers making $100k+ a year, particularly in the ‘burbs. Peruse the district 207 salaries sometime and be amazed (and I’m sure it looks the same on the North Shore, in Naperville, Hindsdale, etc.) Heck, I’m sure there are plenty of $100k+ teachers in CPS. It’s a tough job, but not a poorly remunerated one in the Chicago area.

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  83. I read that the average pension for a newly retired CPS teacher is $70,000. That is just insane and I don’t know of any middle class people in private companies getting that kind of pension.

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  84. “Heck, I’m sure there are plenty of $100k+ teachers in CPS”

    Not really. Only the top three lane/step combos get $100k+, and only by counting the pension pickup as income (which is not unfair, but..). Most of the CPS teachers who got over $100k are special education teachers at ‘alternative’ HSs.

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  85. “They should send all of the gang members to the Australian outback.”

    Agreed. But then where would we get our cheap labor force? The higher IQ Americans with long-term roots in the USA are contracepting and aborting themselves into sub-replacement fertility rates. Then they tell us we need more immigrants to replace these never-born Americans. The immigrants come from lower IQ countries. The immigrants themselves aren’t so bad….but with 2-3 generations their offspring are de-Christianized and fully taken in by gangsta-culture promoted directly at them by our satanic media.

    Chicago is a perfect fish bowl to watch this happen. Ricketts reportedly grew up Catholic but the Cubs have their home opener on Easter. Pro sports idiocy/thuggery/fanaticism/drunkenness is also a part of the gangsta culture that every son of an immigrant gets hooked on as part of becoming an american. Add to that drug use and getting fat.

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  86. 38 with the job description of “Regular Teacher” with an annual salary of $100k plus in CPS. Another 2,000+ making $90k or more. Add in special ed and a couple of other titles that sound like teaching, the counts go to 112 and 2,902, respectively. Annual benefit cost is a separate field, so I assume that isn’t included in salary.

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  87. “That is just insane and I don’t know of any middle class people in private companies getting that kind of pension.”

    Teaching is not a middle class profession.

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  88. What is teaching then? A lower middle class profession? If they are earning $70,000 – 100,000 a year, that sounds middle class to me.

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  89. oh no I see a middle class debate starting soon……

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  90. HH – you are so frickin’ weird.

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  91. The average household income in Chicago is roughly $45k/yr. Is an individual who makes double the average household income still considered middle class?

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  92. A $100k HHI puts you in the top 25% of Chicago.

    And yes I realize Jenny can’t keep up with the Joneses so she considers herself poor even though she makes $75k/yr.

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  93. The immigrants themselves aren’t so bad….but with 2-3 generations their offspring are de-Christianized and fully taken in by gangsta-culture promoted directly at them by our satanic media.

    Yes, look what happened to the Italians when Martin Scorsese started making movies! Thugs, the lot of them!

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  94. And the debate begins…

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  95. “Aren’t people stealing things like catalytic converters these days? One of my coworkers had something stolen out of her car’s engine. I can’t remember what, but I think it was the catalytic converter.”

    Yes- this happened twice at my building on the North Side. One time, the car was older and they couldn’t get it all the way off so they left it hanging. The second time, they actually got it. In a fairly public location, I might add. Very brazen.

    The police have been warning about these attacks for awhile. They’ve been happening in clusters.

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  96. “US new home sales hit 7-year high in February”

    Can you read? NEW HOME SALES.

    It has nothing to do with EXISTING home sales which is what NAR was blaming the weather on.

    And, by the way, the NEW HOME SALES, while the highest since the financial crisis, are still at recession levels.

    One good piece of news in that data, though, was that there was a surge in sales in the $200,000 to $300,000 range. If only the homebuilders were building middle class housing, they could build more units. But they’re not. Average sales price keeps ticking higher every month. It’s no wonder the average mortgage amount for new buyers is now at record highs.

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  97. The middle class is being wiped out by cheap labor immigration and globalism. The minimum wage of the illegals becomes the maximum wage for everyone else. I once visited the Turtle Wax company out by Midway airport, their ENTIRE labor force in the plant was hispanic. The execs of this company loved the cheap labor. They don’t care that it displaces the middle class of America, they make more profits for themselves and they probably live in an expensive suburb. Places like Northbrook, Glencoe and Highland Park are full of these people who self-segregate themselves from minimum wage diversity and “vibrancy”.

    so, what happens to the “middle class” is thus: The middle class can no longer use the public schools, they then have to use private schools. Therefore, they cannot “afford” more kids, they contracept themselves into sub-replacement fertility rates, and they have to use money for private school tuition. Or they are people like HD, who choose to pay up to move to a suburb devoid of “vibrancy” and diversity because they have good schools. Guess what? They have to pay $$$ for a house, and $$ for property taxes, and they also cannot “afford” more kids.

    Meanwhile, the immigrants are having tons of kids, mooching off food banks, Obamacare, Obamaphones, welfare and affirm action.

    So, they continue then to leech into former middle class areas, earning lower wages than the prior residents, and standards of neighborhoods, schools, and property upkeep, general Western Civ standards fall…and there’s more HD type flight to these very few areas left, deemed acceptable: GZ, Park Ridge, North Shore etc. The property prices continue to go up. The middle class that didn’t ask for this to happen, and are unawakened to it all, end up totally screwed, living amongst the “gangsta-culture” promoted by our anti-american media… many of these types can be seen by the tattoos they have been suckered to think are cool.

    Chicago is the perfect fishbowl to see this all happen. Scratch that, its “Chicagoland” esp. the suburbs where this phenomenon is played out in detail. Former middle class high schools like Provisos or whatever are now totally shit. Totally. Too many formerly normal suburban high schools are now deemed garbage, probably 1/2 of them and that’s being generous. The middle class got screwed and now must compete in the anal-retentive level of assholes to avoid it, and the result is less kids.

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  98. Dan: Chicago is the second largest Mexican city in America. And it’s something like the fifth largest Mexican city (just like it’s the second largest Polish city.)

    Nothing you say or do will change that. Immigrants have always brought vibrancy and their talents to the city. They continue to do so.

    “The minimum wage of the illegals becomes the maximum wage for everyone else. I once visited the Turtle Wax company out by Midway airport, their ENTIRE labor force in the plant was hispanic.”

    This is a dumb argument now in the age of NAFTA. If a company wants cheap wages, it simply moves the plant to Mexico and they can pay them a fraction of what they pay everyone here. In some cases, this IS what is happening.

    Last year, I met a young man in Mexico who was married and had a 2-year old daughter. He was a joint US/Mexican citizen. He grew up in Los Angeles but had decided to move back to Mexico because there were more jobs (thanks to the auto industry opening up dozens of plants) and the housing costs were a fraction of what they cost in California. With major middle class consumer names now opening in Mexico (Costco, Home Depot, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Walmart etc. etc.) he said he felt like he had more opportunities. His mother, however, remained in Los Angeles. She was nearing retirement, he said.

    The best thing that has happened in the last 10 years for the United States is the growing Mexican middle class. It is great for US companies, for North American trade and because it has basically ended most of the Mexican migration (especially in the last 7 years.)

    The decline of the US middle class has been happening for decades now. It’s well documented. It started with Reagan and it has been in decline ever since. But it’s the same argument many made in the 1950s when farming went to the way side. Many tried to save that way of life- but the economy had changed. It’s changing again to an information economy.

    By the way- there’s a shortage on many skilled employees right now- especially welders. People should get welding certification. Great jobs await but you’ll probably have to move to Texas.

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  99. Median Household income for the Illinois portion of the metro area is $60,564. Median Family income for the IL portion of the metro metro area is $73,413. This excludes the really poor and decrepit NWI portion of the metro.

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  100. “This excludes the really poor and decrepit NWI portion of the metro.”

    But those numbers for the city itself are much lower. 20%+ of the city is below poverty line.

    Compare the above the poverty line population, only, the city is likely very close to the burbs as a whole on median and average HH and Family incomes.

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  101. I’d be interested in knowing the median income per person with the qualification that the statistic only takes into account full time workers with a college degree or higher.

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  102. And I be interested in knowing the median income per person with the qualification that the stastic only takes into account full time workers with a college degree of higher that lives in the gold coast.

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  103. It seems slight for someone already in this price range. Plus, with the place on Astor, you aren’t paying huge assessments each month.

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  104. RealtyTrac just released data comparing home price increases with wage growth over the last 2 years.

    Not surprisingly, home prices nationally outpaced wage growth by a 13:1 ratio.

    In the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet area, wage growth was 3.1% versus 2-year median home price change of 20.5%.

    There are some cities where wages actually outpaced price increases including Tulsa and Honolulu.

    But this data points out very clearly why mortgage applications are still at 19 year lows despite record low mortgage rates. You can’t get blood from a stone. Wages/income aren’t rising fast enough.

    http://www.realtytrac.com/news/home-prices-and-sales/home-price-growth-versus-wage-growth-during-housing-recovery/

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  105. Comparing wage growth to median home price changes is just stupid. We’ve been here so many times before. Just because people are buying a higher end mix of homes now doesn’t mean housing is more expensive. So if people start buying more steak instead of hamburger and the average price of meat purchased goes up we should be worried about meat getting too expensive?

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  106. Regarding property taxes…I’ve been looking at the property tax base in the city and up through 2013 at least it was declining because the assessor looks backwards like 5 years or something. Anyway, I’m curious to see how 2014 turns out. In theory with all the new construction and rehabs the tax base should start to increase and then there’s the added benefit of rising prices.

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  107. “RealtyTrac just released data comparing home price increases with wage growth over the last 2 years.

    Not surprisingly, home prices nationally outpaced wage growth by a 13:1 ratio.”

    You can’t be that naive.

    hint: try looking over the last 7 years…
    extra hint: how did wages compare to housing prices from 2008-2012?

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  108. “But this data points out very clearly why mortgage applications are still at 19 year lows despite record low mortgage rates. You can’t get blood from a stone. Wages/income aren’t rising fast enough.”

    There is so much stupid in this I don’t even know where to start.

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  109. Sabrina did you see yesterday Goldman Sachs cut all of their interest rate predictions around the world by about 20%? I still think their predictions are too high, they went from 3 to 2.5% on the 10 year by the end of 2015… I would say we’re more likely to be at 1.5 in december than 2.5 but whatever.

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  110. “I’m curious to see how 2014 turns out.”

    2014 is going to turn out almost identical to 2013. 2015 is the reassessment year for Chicago; Rogers Park T’ship already got their reassessment letters (Laura Lou–how did yours look??), and Lake View is up next sometime in the next few weeks.

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  111. Apps are down because vast majority of people have refinanced and rates haven’t quite gotten low enough to warrant the headache associated with refinancing for a lot of owners.

    In regards to purchases, the higher end is buying and apps are strong. The changes in the mortgage market have really pushed out the marginal buyers. it makes sense that wages as a whole are not keeping up with price increases because the two are not necessarily aligned. The buyers whose wages have stagnated are not the same group who is buying. My average funded loan size last year was a little north of $550k.

    Also, younger buyers attitudes towards owning has changed so that part of the market seems to be lagging compared to previous years.

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  112. “2014 is going to turn out almost identical to 2013. 2015 is the reassessment year for Chicago”

    Yeah, but I would think that 2014 would get the benefit of new construction and rehabs.

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  113. “In regards to purchases, the higher end is buying and apps are strong. The changes in the mortgage market have really pushed out the marginal buyers. it makes sense that wages as a whole are not keeping up with price increases because the two are not necessarily aligned. The buyers whose wages have stagnated are not the same group who is buying. My average funded loan size last year was a little north of $550k. ”

    I don’t doubt your niche, high end, mortgage brokerage, but considering that the average sales price in entire Chicagoland area is in the 200’s and your average mortgage is in the $500’s, I don’t think your view is necessarily representative of the market as whole. Your opinions are generally valid and spot on, but there are plenty of people purchasing homes in the 200’s and $300’s all over the areas, and in fact, that’s probably the hottest market.

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  114. “My average funded loan size last year was a little north of $550k.”

    This isn’t even close to the reality of 99% of buyers. Thank you HD for pointing out that the vast majority of buyers are buying near the “median” price which is in the $200,000s. The average mortgage amount is at a record high right now but it’s still at $280,000.

    Millions of people live in the Chicagoland area in homes that are priced well below $500,000.

    But for the purposes of the GZ, prices are high compared to middle class areas.

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  115. “Apps are down because vast majority of people have refinanced and rates haven’t quite gotten low enough to warrant the headache associated with refinancing for a lot of owners.”

    Um…no. Refinancing fell off a cliff 2 years ago and hasn’t come back.

    Purchase apps are running just 1% over last year’s level- as of last week (which was pathetic AND coming off the worst winter in 50 years in 2/3rds of the country.) And that is with the changes made at the new year with FHA which make it easier for first time buyers to buy. But they’re still not.

    If purchase apps don’t pick up in the next 4 weeks, then this spring is the same as last spring which wasn’t good. And with a weak spring came a weak summer and fall. All with nearly record low rates.

    Yellen has indicated that rates will rise later this year. That doesn’t bode well for mortgage rates. You’d think that anyone looking to buy would be rushing out to buy right now. And some well priced properties are selling quickly. But if you’re overpriced or there is some other kind of flaw, then no such luck.

    Also, there seems to be a glut of upper price point properties now. I should do a bunch of posts on the Gold Coast because the inventory seems the highest there in the GZ.

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  116. “I still think their predictions are too high, they went from 3 to 2.5% on the 10 year by the end of 2015… I would say we’re more likely to be at 1.5 in december than 2.5 but whatever.”

    Bonds are in a massive bubble. What do bubbles do? They have spectacular blow offs. So this one will too. Even if the Fed is raising rates- who knows.

    But it’s going to take a lot of people down with it when it finally busts. Look at all the money moving into bond funds this year. Are people nuts? They honestly think stocks are overpriced comparatively.

    But that’s a bubble. No fear.

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  117. There is a reason mortgage applications are still at 19 year lows.

    You can’t have rising home prices and stagnant wages with mortgage rates at their lowest in history and, basically, not going much lower. Falling rates is the only way the “story” has worked since 2001 when mortgage rates were 7%. We are a monthly payment nation. Sure, your house can go up 20% if mortgage rates go down enough so your monthly payment is the same.

    No one stops to think about what happens when that equation changes. Unless you get massive wage growth, which is inflationary, by the way, and not happening, then, at some point, prices cannot rise or no one can afford to buy one. That’s the stalemate we are seeing nationwide now.

    Look at the new homebuilders. What was their hottest category of sales in February’s “hot” number? It was $200,000 to $300,000 in Florida. (New home sales were at 2013 levels in every other region in the country in February, by the way.) That’s the second home market. The winter sucked in the Northeast and people went down to Florida and plucked down some money to get a second home.

    That is it.

    Otherwise, the rich, who are benefiting from exploding stock portfolios, are buying and selling homes. Not many others are.

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  118. “There is a reason mortgage applications are still at 19 year lows.”

    Yes. And you don’t know what it is.

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  119. “If purchase apps don’t pick up in the next 4 weeks, then this spring is the same as last spring which wasn’t good. And with a weak spring came a weak summer and fall. All with nearly record low rates.”

    What in the HELL are you talking about? Prices continue to go up year over year. One day you are talking about how prices are at record highs past the bubble peak, and then the next you talk about how “bad” the last year was. Which is it?

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  120. Apps are down because you have to be qualified to get a loan. Strange concept I know, considering the last decade or so…

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  121. “You can’t have rising home prices and stagnant wages with mortgage rates at their lowest in history and, basically, not going much lower.”

    You can when prices fell because demand fell and supply went up without a change in wages and then over time that dynamic reverses.

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  122. You can also see rising prices if more middle/upper middle class people are moving into Chicago. I’ve been seeing a lot of new comers to Chicago apply for and accept positions in the company where I work.

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  123. Sabrina, you are contradicting yourself. “Otherwise, the rich, who are benefiting from exploding stock portfolios, are buying and selling homes. Not many others are…” This is the point I was making in regards to pointing out average loan size I had last year. In addition, as others have noted, the mix of buyers has changed.

    I don’t think anyone disagrees that the lower end is stagnant. However, that is not the market that the readers of this blog care about. The greenzone is benefitting from the influx of people wanting to live in the city and those workers are decidedly not your lower income / blue collar workers.

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  124. “Yeah, but I would think that 2014 would get the benefit of new construction and rehabs.”

    Rounding error on the Aggregate EAV for the City.

    2013 AgEAV =~ 62 B
    2013 New Property EAV =~ $280m

    45 bip increase.

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  125. Very interesting data. Where did you get the new property EAV?

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  126. “I don’t think anyone disagrees that the lower end is stagnant. However, that is not the market that the readers of this blog care about.”

    Or the proprietor. What’s the average and median list price for a featured property here? Gotta be over $500k.

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  127. Pick “new property” for report type:

    http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/tsd/taxagencyreports/Pages/default.aspx

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  128. “Sabrina, you are contradicting yourself. “Otherwise, the rich, who are benefiting from exploding stock portfolios, are buying and selling homes. Not many others are…” This is the point I was making in regards to pointing out average loan size I had last year. In addition, as others have noted, the mix of buyers has changed.”

    No I’m not.

    You cannot have a healthy housing market with millionaires buying and selling properties. Historically, 40% of the housing market has been first time home buyers. Right now, it is 20%. You can all say “the millenials are renting” but if that’s true, who will buy the starter home so the Generation Xers and older millenials can move out of their condos to a house in the suburbs? Apparently- no one.

    This is all apparent and obvious in the data. This is why mortgage applications continue to remain at 19 year lows even though mortgage rates are their lowest in 50 years. That’s a huge warning sign right there- because mortgage rates WILL go up- and then what? My god- the housing market will be even worse than it is.

    There is a glut of properties in the upper bracket in the Gold Coast right now. I’m not sure why everyone has decided to get out of that particular neighborhood, but there’s a lot to choose from. And, frankly, there just aren’t enough rich people to buy all the $1 million+ properties that are out there. Heck, there aren’t even enough rich people to sell the $3 million custom homes that are being built all over the GZ. And this is WITH the stock market soaring. When that has a correction, the upper housing bracket will too.

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  129. Sabrina,

    It’s hard to have this discussion when in one post you go from talking about starter homes to the Gold Coast. Sometimes you throw in San Francisco and New York anecdotes. Let’s see if we can focus this and I’ll do a deep dive on the data:

    Pick an area – if you want to look at the Green Zone then define what community areas you are talking about.
    Pick a price range
    Pick a type of home

    The broader you can make this the more meaningful the data will be. And we’ll see how the market is really doing. Tomorrow I’ll have access to really preliminary March data but it will be a starting point.

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  130. BTW, Case Shiller out this morning and prices back on the rise. Condos up 4.1% YOY.

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  131. “You can all say “the millenials are renting” but if that’s true, who will buy the starter home so the Generation Xers and older millenials can move out of their condos to a house in the suburbs?”

    Prices will drop due to no demand and they will get scooped up by cash investors and rented to millenials. There are some ugly times ahead for 1 and 2 bedroom condo owners.

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  132. There are still tons of affordable/safe neighborhoods in Chicago (Peterson Park, Beverly, Mount Greenwood, Sauganash, Forest Glenn, Peterson Woods, Edison Park). How cheap do you want the houses to be?

    Middle class people are being priced out of places like Logan Square, but there are plenty of other neighborhoods where a family can get a single family home for less than $500,000.

    (Logan Square has officially surpassed North Center as my lease favorite neighborhood.)

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  133. “You can all say “the millenials are renting” but if that’s true, who will buy the starter home so the Generation Xers and older millenials can move out of their condos to a house in the suburbs? Apparently- no one.”

    If someone is renting, you do know that SOMEONE owns that place right?

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  134. “If someone is renting, you do know that SOMEONE owns that place right?”

    And right now the folks who do that are willing to pay (imo) ridiculously low cap rates for those rentals. As if “rents will never go down”.

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  135. ““If someone is renting, you do know that SOMEONE owns that place right?””

    Yeah, they rent the basement from their parents…

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/02/10/millennials_living_with_parents_it_s_harder_to_explain_why_young_adults.html

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  136. ” they rent the basement from their parents”

    Not in your neighborhood they don’t. Unless the mer-people have moved in.

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  137. IMO, the difference now is that the 1/1 and 2/2’s will be owned by a different set of people. In the past, 20-somethings bought their 1/1 or 2/2’s and then lived in them for 3-5 years and then sold. That same 1/1 may have changed hands 3-5 times over 15 years. Now, I think you have “investors” that own that unit for 15 years, and rent it out 3-5 times over that same period of time.

    So, the level of “buying demand” is the same. The “buyer demographic” is very different.

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  138. So everyone here is married with a few kids at schools age? There are many people who buy 1/1 and 2/2s:
    – Single people (not all singles are 20 year olds)
    – empty nester
    – divorcees who might not have full custody of their kids
    – couples that don’t want or have children
    – people who buy them to rent them out as investment
    – out of towners who buy them as in towns
    – wealthy or upper middle class people who buy apartments for their kids, say if the kid is in school
    – foreign investors (we plan to keep a place in Chicago even if we decide to move oversees)

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  139. “If someone is renting, you do know that SOMEONE owns that place right?”

    Yes- big conglomerates own those places they are renting. They are building another 6,000 units in the downtown alone- and some more in other parts of the GreenZone. This isn’t the mom and pop landlord with 3 units. The millenials we are talking about are renting from large corporations. It is not doing anything to reduce the number of condos.

    Heck- I just linked a week or two ago to several more corporate landlords who have decided to unload their rental condos in River North. They’re not dumb.

    By the way- if you sit in any of the city Starbucks long enough you inevitably overhear landlord horror stories from mom and pop landlords. Or maybe I just happen to really tune in when they start talking about the crazies that they thought were “normal” and then after a year of living in the property don’t tell them when the toilet is leaking so that mold grows up the walls in the bathroom.

    Awesome.

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  140. “Sauganash, Forest Glenn, Peterson Woods, Edison Park”

    Ha! ha! ha!

    What a good laugh I’m having tonight.

    These are upper middle class neighborhoods with homes starting above $400,000.

    If you would have at least listed Chatham, then we’d be talking.

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  141. “BTW, Case Shiller out this morning and prices back on the rise. Condos up 4.1% YOY.”

    Yeah- those condos in Arlington Heights and Naperville are selling fast. And for November, December and January- no less.

    This is why NO ONE cares about Case Shiller. It’s delayed by months and it includes the entire metropolitan area.

    And why would ANYONE be cheering rising housing prices, by the way? It’s already unaffordable. And with rising rates, will become even more so. Why are so many damn people in this country obsessed with housing prices and having them rise at 5% or 10% a year? That’s not sustainable and has NEVER been sustainable in this country. It only ends one way- badly. I don’t understand why anyone wants the bubble to reinflate. But so many people on here are rah-rahing it as if it’s completely normal. It’s not.

    Yeah- housing prices are at record highs in many places including some neighborhoods of Chicago’s GreenZone and in cities like San Francisco. What a drag on the economy. It sucks people’s savings and life away when they overspend on housing. Who wants that?

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  142. Sabrina,

    You didn’t take me up on my offer above. Why not?

    And homes can not be unaffordable because by definition they are affordable to those who are buying them.

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  143. Sabrina, you and I have a very different definition of middle class. Two city bus drivers ($60,000 a year each) can afford to live in many of the neighborhoods you call upper middle class. A two adult family earning $40,000 a year is not middle class. They are low income. What do you consider middle class? I really am curious.

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  144. What rising rates sabrina? lol

    Are you long TBT or something? I mean seriously what is your deal?

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  145. “What do you consider middle class? I really am curious.”

    Not to go down this rabbit hole with everyone, but I second that question, as it is the basis of so much of the ‘affordability’ discussion here.

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  146. here you go read this or something http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/08/why-americans-all-believe-they-are-middle-class/278240/

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  147. Interesting article. This is a fun quiz. It’s British though: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22000973

    I came out as “established middle class.”

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  148. I’m on of the Elites… WTF?

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  149. “This is a fun quiz. It’s British though”

    It makes you ‘elite’ if you net over 100k, but rent, have no savings, socialize with the working class, and enjoy the ‘working class’ leisure activities. Which is quite incompatible with any normal understanding of class in Britain.

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  150. Hmmm established middle class, sounds jolly good to me sir!

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  151. gringozecarioca on April 1st, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I came up as ‘precariat’. Would have been ’emergent’ had I not written in ‘smoking pot’, next to video games, for hobbies.

    Well can always move up next year. That’s what the slot machines are for.

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  152. BTW, March sales were definitely higher than last year but it’s too soon to put an exact number on it.

    I’m still waiting for Sabrina to tell me what specific data I should look at to prove that the market is not healthy:
    – Geographic area
    – Price range
    – Type of housing

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  153. How about 2 bedroom condos in Lincoln Park in the $400k t0 $550k range?

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  154. When you define it that narrowly the data gets pretty noisy. I was thinking more like condo vs. SFH and broad price ranges. Also, I don’t have an easy/ fast way to focus on just 2 bedroom condos. However, I will give you the results of all LP condos from 400 – 550K and it shows that March sales were up 36% over last year. In a week that number will be higher because of more sales being recorded.

    And March sales for the entire city will be up by at least 9% over last year.

    Seems like a damn healthy market to me.

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  155. “Seems like a damn healthy market to me.”

    Sabrina is a glass 1/8th empty kinda gal.

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  156. I’m still convinced she only keeps this site running just in case interest rates rise and she can say:

    “Ha! Ha! Ha! I TOLD YOU SO!!!”

    It will be interesting to see how long she can wait it out. I mean, you can’t get blood from a stone.

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  157. “Seems like a damn healthy market to me.”

    Mortgage applications for the last week of March were 58% below 2007 and still at 19 year lows.

    Is that “healthy”? Compared to what we saw in 2010-2011, then, yeah. It’s definitely off the lows. But first time buyers are still at multi-decade lows. There are still too many investors and all cash buyers.

    Sales are above 2014 levels, which they should be. 2014 was not a good year- despite the realtor rah-rahing. So, yeah, sales SHOULD be higher.

    My god people. Do you have to be reminded just how good things are right now?

    Unemployment for those with a college degree = 2.5%.
    Mortgage rates still near all-time lows
    Stocks at all time highs
    Bonds at all time highs
    Art selling at record prices
    Gasoline at multi-year lows
    Inflation non-existent
    Housing prices in top neighborhoods far above all time high prices

    How could housing NOT be booming? How could it NOT be the best housing market EVER?

    But for some unknown reason- it’s not.

    Why?????

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  158. “Mortgage applications for the last week of March were 58% below 2007 and still at 19 year lows.

    Is that “healthy”?”

    yes, for the most part only qualified buyers are getting loans now

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  159. “Mortgage applications for the last week of March were 58% below 2007 and still at 19 year lows.”

    Chicago applications? That’s all I care about. I’m talking about the Chicago market.

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  160. “yes, for the most part only qualified buyers are getting loans now”

    Wow. Thanks.

    You mean the population hasn’t increased in the last 19 years? So it’s “normal” for it to be lower than in 1996? Huh. Go figure.

    Thanks for clearing up the dilemma Sonies. It all makes sense now.

    By the way- the FHA and other government agencies have actually really relaxed mortgage requirements. Sure, it’s not like in the housing bubble but it’s much looser than the last few years. That was the whole point in loosening it. Yet, that hasn’t done anything to push more homebuyers into the market. Low mortgage rates aren’t doing it either. Are all the buyers going to wait until rates go higher? Then what? That means the properties will be even MORE expensive.

    We already have an affordability problem. It will get even worse.

    Something has to give.

    Either high prices or low incomes.

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  161. And 2007 was a crazy year. No point in comparing anything to the near top of a bubble. And are they below last year? If not then they are not at 19 year lows.

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  162. Did anyone else see the two realtors on the local news this morning talking about the housing market?

    One said it was a buyers market. The other one said it was a sellers market. Then they both back tracked saying that it all depends on where you are buying and at what price point.

    But one of the agents did say that in the City of Chicago, if your property is on the market for 2 weeks and it doesn’t yet have an offer, then it’s overpriced and needs to be cut.

    How many sellers are listening to that advice? Not many that I’ve seen.

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  163. “However, I will give you the results of all LP condos from 400 – 550K and it shows that March sales were up 36% over last year.”

    How many closed Gary?

    Was it 10 units in 2014 and 13 in 2015?

    You see- when you look at something that narrow, you can’t really use percentages because it’s meaningless.

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  164. “And are they below last year? If not then they are not at 19 year lows.”

    Last year was at 19-year lows. Just because it’s above last year’s (which last week was- but you can’t compare weekly you have to look at the monthly numbers which are still anemic) doesn’t mean that it’s still not at 19-year lows. Last year was HORRIBLE for mortgage applications. The lowest in a generation. So yeah- it’s still awful and super low.

    Rates are 307 basis points below 2007 yet applications are 58% below.

    Purchase applications are down 66% since 2005- which was the peak (2007 was NOT the peak.) Yes- those were the bubble years. But rates are at bond bubble lows now. It’s a bubble now too- just of a different kind (aided and distorted by the Fed. Thanks Janet!) So what happens when the Fed “normalizes”?

    Will all of you be saying when rates are 5% or higher that you “can’t compare with 2014 and 2015 because rates were under 4%”?

    Many people don’t believe the Fed will EVER raise rates again.

    If that’s the case- and rates stay at these low levels for infinity and beyond, what will be the stimulus to actually push housing into a healthy market? Why is it still so sick? Nothing the Fed has done has worked to bring back normal market conditions. Prices in many prominent neighborhoods have gone past peak but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. If it was, we’d have inventory at 6 months and we don’t.

    Construction jobs are still only about half the level of a normal housing market. They are at recession levels -despite unprecedented crisis level action by the Fed. And they’ve been building multi-family housing at a fast clip. But it hasn’t been enough. Not even close.

    It’s a conundrum that everyone is ignoring. They think because a $30 million condo sells in Chicago that it’s “healthy.” It’s not. Not even close.

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  165. “2014 was not a good year- despite the realtor rah-rahing.”

    Proof?

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  166. These guys think the market is healthy: http://dsnews.com/news/04-02-2015/study-reveals-housing-market-to-be-at-its-healthiest-level-since-2001

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  167. “But one of the agents did say that in the City of Chicago, if your property is on the market for 2 weeks and it doesn’t yet have an offer, then it’s overpriced and needs to be cut.”

    Yeah, so that the realtor can make a quick buck. Do you have any idea what percent of properties sell after 2 weeks without a price cut? It’s huge.

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  168. “You see- when you look at something that narrow, you can’t really use percentages because it’s meaningless.”

    I pointed out that this was a pretty small market to look at but to answer your question (the numbers have changed) it went from 22 to 32.

    This is precisely why I asked YOU to define the market that is not healthy because no matter what we define you’re going to disregard it. But you STILL haven’t defined it for me. WHAT MARKET DO YOU WANT ME TO LOOK AT?

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  169. “Yeah, so that the realtor can make a quick buck. Do you have any idea what percent of properties sell after 2 weeks without a price cut? It’s huge.”

    But time is money to everyone. holding out a few months for an extra couple of thousand is not worth anyone’s time. only in the used home selling business can a product sit so unbelievably long without a price cut.

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  170. But it’s not a step function, right? I’ve seen properties sell close to list after quite a while.

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  171. Why is the average property selling after around 45 days then? Thats a lot longer than 2 weeks… in fact I would imagine to find true price discovery and have everyone possible see the property, 6 weeks is about right.

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  172. Chicago home sales in March hit an 8 year high, up 15.7% over last year but IAR will report around 12.3%: http://www.chicagonow.com/getting-real/2015/04/chicago-real-estate-market-update-home-sales-8-year-high/

    What’s wrong with this market? Why is no one buying? It will not end well. You can’t get blood from a stone.

    Sorry, Sabrina. I actually love you but….

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  173. Gary- the link to your article even says that March contracts were only up 6.3% year over year. That is good- but last year sucked as we still had the polar vortex in March last year.

    So- no- the market isn’t that hot. It’s better than last year- but that’s not saying that much. But it’s nowhere near even a “normal” Chicago market.

    Why not?

    March home sales are January and February contracts (maybe some December contracts too.) It’s encouraging the home buyers were out looking in the dead of winter this year. But now that it’s spring, they should REALLY be out looking.

    Again- we have the BEST market conditions of our lifetime. Of ANY lifetime, actually. Of the last 100 years.

    We have low unemployment and record low mortgage rates. You can still put down anywhere from 3% to 20% down and buy. Many buildings now allow 3% down.

    I don’t understand why sales aren’t SOARING. They are up- but if you showed someone from Mars the chart of the last 10 to 15 years they wouldn’t go “wow- look at how wonderful the market is in 2015. Amazing.”

    Everyone keeps talking about low inventory- which it is. But it’s not so low that there are multiple offers on every property. In fact, quite a few are just sitting there. It’s such a hodge-podge this spring. Some properties are selling the first day they are listed because they are in the right location and have the right finishes. But you try and sell with that old kitchen, and think you’re going to get more than you paid just 3 years ago, you’re probably not.

    It’s so strange this year.

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  174. “Why is the average property selling after around 45 days then? Thats a lot longer than 2 weeks”

    That realtor would say, “because they are overpriced.”

    With just 4 months of inventory- everything that is priced correctly should be selling within 2 weeks (or even days, frankly.)

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  175. “Proof?”

    Chicago housing sales were down 11 out of 12 months last year.

    But if you want to say that was a “good year” – feel free Chuk. Party on.

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  176. “With just 4 months of inventory- everything that is priced correctly should be selling within 2 weeks (or even days, frankly.)”

    I disagree. 4 months of inventory means that it will take 4 months to sell everything. If it was uniformly distributed (it’s not) that would be 2 months on average. In reality the average property is selling in 100 days, which is close to a record low since 2008. My data doesn’t go back further than that.

    It’s worth waiting for the right buyer to come along.

    And we recently sold a 2/2 condo just west of the loop in 3 days with 20 showings and 3 offers. It was NOT underpriced. Some anecdata to consider but we see multiple offers all the time.

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  177. “But one of the agents did say that in the City of Chicago, if your property is on the market for 2 weeks and it doesn’t yet have an offer, then it’s overpriced and needs to be cut.”

    In a hot market, when SHOULD you cut? Many properties in the GZ ARE going under contract within days. If yours isn’t, how long do you wait?

    Until the requests for showings slow to a trickle?

    Do you do the old “re-listing” trick- where you take it off the market after 3 weeks and re-list it as “new” at the same price (or better yet, $100 less) than the old price?

    Do you wait for another unit in your building to come on the market at a better price and THEN lower?

    I’m just curious.

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  178. I’ve been seeing quite a few properties that were on the market for a few months last year, didn’t sell, and were removed. They are now coming back on the market- sometimes at the same price as last year.

    With some of them, it appears that maybe they were rented over the last year.

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  179. You cut when the data and the feedback tell you to cut. There is no rule of thumb except for dumb realtors.

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  180. “You cut when the data and the feedback tell you to cut.”

    This is why I’m asking. If you don’t have a contract with an updated property in the GZ with the features buyers look for within a week in this market- do you cut then? Two weeks? A month? 3 months?

    What’s “the data”? Didn’t you look at the “data” to set the price in the first place?

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  181. “What’s “the data”? Didn’t you look at the “data” to set the price in the first place?”

    Once you list it you get a lot more data that you didn’t have before you listed it. A lot of realtors don’t bother to look at it. They just count the showings.

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  182. “Chicago housing sales were down 11 out of 12 months last year.”

    So, sales were down but prices were up and you are calling that a bad year.

    Obviously then, you think that if sales were up and prices were down, that would be a good year?

    This is why you have been so wrong for so long. You have no idea how to interpret any data. You see what you want to see.

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  183. “Once you list it you get a lot more data that you didn’t have before you listed it.”

    Like what? Just curious… Obviously offers, low ball offers and such but are there other things I’m missing?

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  184. Falling sales has NEVER been an indicator of a healthy housing market- especially with mortgage rates near all-time lows.

    Lol.

    It is YOU, Chuk, who interpret the data how you want to see it.

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  185. Well, apparently this is unknown to a lot of realtors – or unused – so I don’t want to give away any trade secrets but it’s Internet data from various sites and then every single showing should be followed up with detailed feedback – not just “they didn’t like it”. Not just some auto-survey that kicks out.

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  186. Mortgage purchase applications for last week spiked 12% year over year.

    Finally. We are starting to see the buyers come out.

    They are still under the recent peak level which was in mid-2013 (just before the taper tantrum that slowed the housing market.) But at least they are headed in the right direction.

    However, they are still 31% under the same week in March 2001. So they are nowhere near a “normal” level. And I would consider the 2001 market to be pretty normal. The purchase apps basically doubled from that level by 2005- when they peaked.

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  187. I have no idea what that means for Chicago real estate

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  188. “It is YOU, Chuk, who interpret the data how you want to see it.”

    No. I interpret it correctly. Bullish or bearish.

    How else do you explain your being so wrong while I have been so right?

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  189. Anecdata: client flags 9 properties to look at on April 1. Today 4 of those are under contract. See this all the time. Market seems pretty hot from where I sit.

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