The Number of Chicago Homes for Sale Keeps on Falling

The number of homes for sale in Chicago keeps shrinking, according to this feature by Crain’s Chicago Business. And the biggest challenge for buyers? It doesn’t look like this trend will change anytime soon.


According to the Crain’s story, citing numbers from the Chicago Association of REALTORS(R), there were 7,066 homes on the Multiple Listing Service during the week ending on Feb. 3.


That might sound like a large number of homes from which buyers can choose. But it’s actually not. The association said that this was the second-lowest number of homes on the market in any week since the beginning of 2007. That’s 11 years.


Low inventory is often good news for sellers. Those with Chicago condominiums or single-family homes for sale in desirable Chicago neighborhoods could attract multiple offers. And multiple offers often result in higher sales prices.


For buyers? A market with a smaller number of homes for sale is more of a challenge. First, it’s not as easy to find a dream home if there simply aren’t as many residences from which to choose. Secondly, the odds are higher that when buyers do find a home they like, other buyers will swoop in with their own offers.


Buyers, then, might lose out on a home they love. Or they might have to get into a bidding war. Those are fun for sellers, not for buyers.


To win in a tight-inventory market? Buyers have to be prepared to act fast. This means getting pre-approved for a mortgage before they even start searching for homes. Then they’ll know how much home they can afford to buy. They’ll also be more attractive buyers to sellers who might otherwise worry about a mortgage deal falling through.


And when buyers do find a home they like? They have to make an offer quickly. If they wait too long, they might lose out on their home to another faster-acting buyer.