Market Conditions: October Sales Were Flat YOY as Inventory Remains Low

Millennium Park downtown view in the fall

The Illinois Association of Realtors is out with the October sales data. It was actually a ho-hum month, not hot but not cold.

The city of Chicago saw year-over-year home sales hold steady in October 2017 with 2,047 sales, compared to 2,046 in October 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in October 2017 was $262,000, up 0.7 percent compared to October 2016 when it was $260,100.

Thanks to G for all the data on October sales going back to 1997:

October Chicago sfh/condo/th sales and median

  • 1997 1,731 $129,900
  • 1998 1,855 $138,000
  • 1999 1,978 $159,500
  • 2000 2,106 $174,710
  • 2001 2,177 $200,000
  • 2002 2,503 $215,000
  • 2003 2,996 $236,000
  • 2004 2,651 $241,000
  • 2005 2,846 $268,500
  • 2006 2,630 $278,000
  • 2007 2,007 $285,000
  • 2008 1,564 $261,000
  • 2009 2,068 $215,000
  • 2010 1,225 $183,000
  • 2011 1,324 $162,000 (44% short/REO sales)
  • 2012 2,009 $175,000
  • 2013: 2,231 $218,500
  • 2014: 2,128 $236,000
  • 2015: 2,173 $240,000
  • 2016: 2046 $260,100
  • 2017: 2047 $262,000

While 2016 and 2017 sales totals were at 4-year lows for October, nothing comes close to the depressed market of 2010 and 2011.

“Steady seems to be the name of the game, and this fall is proving no different,” said Rebecca Thomson, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and Vice President of Agent Development at @properties. “Although inventory continues to tighten, we now see an increase in new construction that is fueling price gains, particularly in the condo market. As we enter the holiday season, between the healthy economy and strong demand, these trends show little signs of slowing down.”

“While consumer sentiment about the economy appears positive, there is still hesitation about the housing market,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “However, mortgage applications have increased and prices and sales in both Illinois and Chicago increased on an annual basis, a trend that is forecast to continue into 2018.”

Average market time statewide fell again, to 54 days down from 60 days in October 2016.

Statewide inventory also dropped 10.4% to 57,911 from 64,601.

The average 30-year mortgage rate remained below 4% at 3.9%. No one is panicking that rates may rise even though the Fed is expected to raise rates again in December.

Does anyone see this market loosening any time soon?

If you really wanted to move, should you try and buy during this slow winter market instead of waiting until spring when it could be crazy again?

Illinois home sales inched slightly higher in October  [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, November 21, 2017]

10 Responses to “Market Conditions: October Sales Were Flat YOY as Inventory Remains Low”


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  2. I always tell people that if they can find something at this time of the year that would be optimal. Sellers who are on the market now are a bit more motivated than sellers at other times of the year because if they can wait until spring they do. Statistically prices are lower now.

    In absolute terms there is less on the market so you do have less to choose from. But the number of buyers drops more than the inventory so you end up with relatively less competition and a higher months of supply.

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  3. Do my odds improve of being in the video if I wear an old school Gunzo’s Blackhawks Sweater?

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  4. “Sellers who are on the market now…”

    I’m guessing that sellers who are on the market now have had their properties passed over by a lot of potential buyers. Unless it’s a new listing, which is unlikely (unless they have a ding-dong realtor).

    While there is less buyer competition at this time of the year, they are competing over less desirable properties. Unless the properties are made more desirable by something like a drop in asking price.

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  5. Shopping for homes between now and the superbowl is like trying to buy a snowblower in January – there’s hardly anything left but the most expensive or crappy. Stores generally don’t stock snowblowers all winter – they get a shipment in during the fall – and that’s it. When they run out, they are gone. There are no deals and you should be expected to pay or make major sacrifices. If you want the home of your dreams, you’ll have to wait until next spring and be prepared to made high bids along with everyone else.

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    Rating: -6 (from 16 votes)
  6. There is some truth to what VB says. You can see it in the market times of what closes by month. However, sometimes you can’t control the timing of things in your life and you do what you have to do.

    You can calculate the seasonal pricing effect from the Case Shiller deseasonalized indices and determine the actual expected price impact of seasonality. I did this a while ago so the data is a bit old but it gives you an idea:

    “you’ll have to wait until next spring and be prepared to made high bids along with everyone else.” that statement in and of itself represents a belief that realized pricing is lower at this time of year.

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  7. We just went under contract on a place. We definitely had the discussion about choosing from cheaper limited inventory now or waiting for more options/higher prices and more competition in the spring. Ultimately we found a place we liked now at a price we were looking to pay. Not being immediately desperate to buy, we agreed that if we couldn’t come to a deal on this house, there were no other houses currently on the market that we willing to settle for and we would wait til spring.

    As HD alluded to, the house has some drawbacks (tiny bedrooms) that kept it on the market. They are livable for small kids, but would be a bit cramped for teenagers. Since we only have a toddler, we have some time before they will be an issue, and since we plan to live there for 20-25 years, we can live with them for now. We already have plans to dormer the second floor and fix the bedroom situation at some unknown date in the future.

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  8. Ha! So many down votes to my comment above. I went under contract myself in a cold, snowy January with limited inventory. I too made major sacrifices, as I described earlier, the home has some moderate to major external obsolescence. Not power lines and not airport traffic (thank goodness the diagonal runways are rarely used anymore!) but other things. Regardless, I got my house for a steal. And with the major renovation I got some serious equity too. Now, I know that my upside will always be limited due to the external obsolescence but my *new* neighbors on both sides of me have both completed or are undergoing major rehabs within the last year, so the external obsolescence hasn’t affected property values too much, there’s still demand for these properties.

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  9. While you’re busy patting yourself on the back, I find it funny that you of all people are touting “Equity” in your domicile.

    All that “Equity” may/can go up in smoke with the next housing correction. Next thing you’ll be taking out a HELOC to get that new SUV and vacation to Disneyworld…

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  10. Just posted my November update:

    Technically sales hit an 11 year high – but just barely. Chicago sales were up 2.2% over last year but the IAR will report them down 0.7% in two weeks. Sales have really flattened out. And inventory dropped again.

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