Chicago Housing Stock Dips to 11-Year Low

Posted by Amrock

Chicago homeowners are said to be “resisting” putting their homes on the market this spring buying season, which has led housing stock to dip to an 11-year low, reports Crain’s Chicago Business. There are a number of factors at play, but the end result is that Chicagoans have less choice in homes and price.

Single-family home stock lowest since 2007

The article reports that there were only 3,346 single-family homes on the market in the city proper in March. It’s said to be the first time since January 2007 that so few homes have been available for sale, according to data from the Chicago Association of Realtors.

The inventory figure is notable because March is known as a month when inventory tends to rise as sellers prepare for spring and summer home buyers. For attached homes, including condos and townhouses, inventory is reportedly 1.7 percent above last year’s figure, with 4,569 listings available.

Annual price gain of 4.5 fails to inspire sellers

“[Appreciation] hasn’t been enough to pull people into the market who weren’t already thinking about it,” Linda Levin, an agent with Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, told the news outlet. She noted the incentive “isn’t there” for sellers who have gained 4.5 percent value, on average, over the last year – a healthy but not extravagant profit.

Another factor was said to be sellers who wouldn’t be able to afford a new home. The article notes one in ten area homeowners is still underwater on a mortgage after the last bubble burst a decade ago.

Sellers compete with turnkey properties

New construction within the city has taken off, meaning buyers don’t have to fuss with older structures if they want to live in a prime area of the city. For those buyers who do consider existing homes, most reportedly want a turnkey solution. “They’re overwhelmed by the idea of having to do even the smallest things when they move in,” John Irwin, an agent with Baird & Warner, said. A turnkey property is more money and work for sellers who are already not enthused.

Finally, the article notes that some sellers are simply waiting and watching. Volatility in the markets, political drama, and local economic issues have reportedly given many would-be sellers pause. “The prices aren’t there for them yet, but they’re watching and when prices go up enough, they will sell,” noted Brad Lippitz, an agent with Compass.