(The city of Chicago market snapshot represents the real estate activity within the 77 officially defined Chicago community areas as provided by the Chicago Association of Realtors)
2,097 properties were sold in Chicago in March 2020. This is a 1.7% increase from March 2019.
The median sales price in Chicago for March 2020 was $320,000, up 10.1% compared to the same period last year
Listings stayed on the market an average of 105 days until contract, a 2.9% increase from March 2019
State of the Market
As COVID-19' impact spread across the country in March, the stock market decline that had started in February, continued downward before recovering a bit towards the end of the month. Volatility across the financial markets caused lenders to tighten their standards and some buyers found that they no longer qualified for a mortgage. Massive job losses also shook the economy with 6.6 million initial unemployment files claimed in a single week - ten times higher than any other week prior to this event.
While the COVID-19 effects have a different effect in various parts of the country, we expect to see impacts on the housing market now and into the future. Its continuous spread is causing many companies and individuals to change the way they work. Certainly these changes will have an effect on the local housing markets.
It's interesting to note that the March numbers showed an improvement of the market compared to March 2019. This can be allocated to the fact that the early spring market was stronger than last year and therefore more sales were under way and more closings scheduled for March. The April numbers will show if the trend continued or not. We are also seeing a sharp decline in inventory as owners are postponing their planned sales until this crisis is over.
The city of Chicago's inventory is down 12.7% from 8,840 homes in March 2019 to 7,717 homes in March 2020.
The month's supply of inventory declined 12.5% from 4.0 in March 2019 to 3.5 in March 2020.
More than 6.6 million workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the latest report of the Labor Department. This is in addition to the 3.3 million who filed for unemployment the week prior. High levels of unemployment filings are expected to continue in the coming weeks as businesses remain closed and shelter in place orders are expected to be mandated for the immediate future. The impact of these conditions is becoming more apparent in the markets for March, shown below.
Looking at the stats in different Chicago neighborhoods, the number of new listings dropped substantially in March, compared with the same period the prior year. Most areas saw a decrease of listings of more than 20%. This in itself is not surprising as many home owners decided to wait until normalcy returns. Many existing listings were temporarily suspended, because sellers do not want any showings with strangers walking though their homes. What is surprising though, is that the number of closed sales increased in March by as much as 16% in some neighborhoods, compared to March 2019. What this means is that this year's spring selling season was off to a strong start with many transactions under contract and with closings scheduled for March.
A decrease in new listings and an increase in sales result in a decrease of available properties. As you look through the neighborhood stats, you see that the inventory of homes for sale has decreased by double percentage points in most areas. On the other hand, potential buyers who were actively looking before the shut down, have put their plans on hold, thinking that maybe there will be an oversupply of homes on the market and that prices will drop. With low inventory and high demand after the restrictions are lifted, we may see just the opposite. There are indications that a surge in real estate activity may be coming after the pandemic ends.
For buyers who are ready and able to move quickly, the best opportunity may well be in the coming few weeks, when there are not many buyers looking and sellers are ready to negotiate.
Here are the stats for select Chicago neighborhoods:
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