Howdy Chicagoland Redfinnians!
Welcome to the first ever Insider Report for the Chicago area. This is your peek behind the scenes at what is really going on in the local real estate space — we’ll tell it like it is using on-the-ground insights backed up with cold hard stats from the industry’s most comprehensive database of broker- and owner-listed homes, as well as public records and our own brokerage activity. We hate sales mumbo jumbo as much as you do, so we’ll leave that part out. If you’d like to receive the report via email each month, just sign up!
By now, even the most forgetful should have turned their clocks back. And, speaking of ‘falling back’, let’s take a look at the most recent market data.
Everyone’s Treading Water
In the six counties reported below, the number of October transactions declined 19.5%, from September, and 40% from the same month last year. Leading the way, with a whopping decline of 57.8%, is Will County. Kane County fared the ‘best’, with a 26.9% annual decline.
|County||Compared to Sept. 2010||Compared to Sept. 2010 Adjusted for # Weekdays||Compared to October 2009||Compared to October 2009 Adjusted for # Weekdays|
Change in # of Houses That Sold in October 2010
Greg Whelan, a Redfin agent who specializes in Lincoln Park and Lakeview, noted that “buyers are aware that they have plenty of options and are willing to wait for the best deals,” and Patrick Lusk, who specializes in the Western Suburbs, added “there is no buyer urgency in this market. It’s all about the “deal.” Buyers who don’t get their desired price move on to sellers who are more willing to negotiate.”
What’s going on with Redfin’s business in Chicago has borne this out. While the number of offers submitted was 29.4% higher in October than September, the number of accepted offers remained virtually unchanged. It seems buyers are willing to throw stuff at the wall to see what sticks and, if nothing does, onto the next…
Final Count Down
Although month-over-month inventory declined, due to sellers beginning to take unsold homes off the market until spring, year-over-year inventory has increased, with DuPage County leading the way.
Change in # of Houses for Sale on October 31st 2010
One observation made by several Redfin agents, is that many buyers appear to be looking at the same homes. Not only have Redfin agents shown the occasional home to multiple customers but, if a home seems to be priced aggressively, it does generate decent traffic and, in many cases, multiple offers. This goes to the old adage that you don’t stumble across great deals (at least uncontested); you negotiate them. It’s best to look for the most desirable place, even if the list price doesn’t indicate anything special, and try to negotiate a great deal for it.
For their part, “sellers seem to be getting more realistic about the selling environment and have been more open about pricing their property aggressively,” Dario Medina, a Redfin agent specializing on the Far North Side and North Shore, has observed. He went on to say “I believe they’ve noticed their neighbors’ “For Sale” signs all summer and don’t want to be in their shoes in six months.”
Cash is King
Naturally, this increased supply, along with the precipitous drop in demand, has led to the continued downward pressure on prices that we’ve all come to know and love, or loathe, depending on which side you’re on.
|County||Median Price in
|Median $/SqFt Change
since Sept. 2010
|Median $/SqFt Change
since October 2009
Change in Median Price of Houses That Sold in October 2010
Although both prices and interest rates are low, another compelling reason for the lower numbers of transactions is the fact that fewer buyers can get their hands on these funds, due to more stringent lending guidelines. This has presented great opportunities for those strong borrowers and even better opportunities for those with their own funds. Greg noted, “Those with cash aren’t as affected as the clients who need financing, and these folks are keenly aware of their negotiating position.”
For those with buying power, the upcoming holiday season could bring more opportunities for good deals. Sellers who keep their homes on the market, during this time, normally do so because of a compelling motivation to sell, while the competition of other buyers normally shrinks, since many decide to take this time off, until after the New Year.
If you want even more data including specific cities, town and neighborhoods, be sure to download our master spreadsheet and dive into all the data you ever wanted. If you have any questions or feedback about our report, just leave them in the comment section below.
But, before you go, we wanted to let you know that Redfin just launched a bunch of new features including a nifty new way to cluster listings, an interactive Good Faith Estimate, an interactive HUD-1 statement, and an inspector’s report with tell-all photos. We also opened Las Vegas and Austin, so if you know anyone who wears cowboy boots — tell ‘em about Redfin!
Chicago Market Manager