Supply and Demand November Update

Let’s take an updated look at the big picture of supply (residential listings on the market at month-end) and demand (closed home sales). We’re still working on dialing in our statistics gathering methods, so the charts below have changed somewhat from what you saw last month.

Here’s a brief market summary for single-family sales, based on the lates data I have available for Cook County:

November 2008
Active Listings: down 7.1% YOY
Closed Sales: down 32.6% YOY
Median Price: $209,000 – down 19.2% YOY

Our first chart displays the raw supply and demand data back through late 2006:


The inventory trend for 2008 looks overall pretty similar to 2007. No big increases or decreases. While it’s harder to tell with the sales trend line, the number of sales in 2008 has been coming in pretty far below 2007. This trend continued in strength for November.

Here’s a look at the year-over-year (YOY) change in the previous chart. YOY is the best way to interpret the direction of the market, due to the highly cyclical nature of real estate.


Inventory has shrunken slightly YOY, while the number of closed sales has been in the gutter all year long. November’s YOY dip in closed sales was only exceeded by January 2008, when sales fell 35.9% in a year.

The supply and demand pattern in Chicago continues to paint a picture of a weak market. The flat to slightly declining inventory is the only real sign of even a little bit of strength, but with sales continuing to post 20%+ drops YOY, it doesn’t look like the housing market here is set to recover soon. The good news for buyers is that less competition means you are in the driver’s seat.