Low Inventory a Challenge for Buyers, Boon for Sellers

Buyers in the Chicago area face a real challenge today: There aren’t enough homes out there available for sale. Sellers in the right Chicago neighborhoods, though, are enjoying steady increases in sales price thanks to this same shortage of inventory.


The Chicago Tribune recently ran a feature story about the dwindling inventory of for-sale homes in Chicago neighborhoods. It’s an important read for anyone who’s ready to buy property in the city.


The story cites numbers from the Illinois Association of REALTORS® saying that the number of condos and single-family homes sold in Chicago dropped 3.4% in March compared to the same month one year earlier. But homes that did sell did so in a shorter number of days. The Tribune reported that Chicago-area homes sold in an average of 66 days. A year ago, it took Chicago-area homes an average of 72 days to sell.


This indicates that there simply aren’t enough homes on the market here to meet demand. The Tribune reported that the supply of homes listed for sale fell 16.6% in March compared to the same month one year earlier.


While this low inventory makes life challenging for buyers, it is a help to home sellers. The Tribune story said that homes in some of Chicago’s most desirable neighborhoods are now selling for more than what they moved for prior to the crash of 2007 and 2008.


The Tribune story points to a condo in the Near West Side that sold for $412,500 in March after spending just five days on the market. The owner had listed the home for $387,500.


Then there are the West Loop and West Town neighborhoods. The Tribune story said that the supply of homes for sale in these neighborhoods is only 10% of what it was in 2008. Because of this, prices here have been rising steadily. The Tribune reported that the median price of a West Town condo sold in March was $425,000. That number was $378,000 in March of 2008.


In Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, the median price of a condo sold in 2007 was $333,000, according to the Tribune. But in March of this year, that median price had risen to $356,500 with inventory at 50% of 2007 levels.