Bidding Wars Spark Life in Chicago’s Markets

by Chicago Agent

Multiple bids have been arising on properties throughout Chicagoland, surprising agents and sellers alike.

In a seller’s market more often defined by low-ball offers and year-long listings, some bidding activity across the Chicagoland area is getting some sellers and agents’ attention.

As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, some listings in various neighborhoods have been fielding multiple, competitive offers, a sign that though the market still has some ways to go, there are clear signs that a sustainable recovery is in the works.

For instance, the story mentions the case of Karen Boguslawski, an Edgebrook resident whose home received two immediate offers from potential buyers on her home, one of which quickly accepted Boguslawski’s counteroffer and is moving in as soon as possible.

“I really thought it would sit for a while until after the holidays,” she said in the story. “On the one hand, I was happy that I didn’t have to keep it ‘open house’-ready on a day-to-day basis, but I wasn’t quite prepared to pack and find movers and figure out temporary housing within 60 days.”

As the Sun-Times notes, Boguslawski’s case is not an anomaly. Eve Bremen, the managing broker at Coldwell Banker Winnetka North, said she started seeing multiple offers on her office’s listings in March.

“Quite honestly, it was a change, and some people questioned initially whether there really were multiple offers,” she said in the article, adding that a great level of supply and demand, inspired by a new boost in construction activity and historically low interests rates, is the driving factor for the offers. Coincidentally, just a couple weeks ago, we reported on the increasing rarity of low-ball offers on the national housing market.

A couple agents, though, were quick to offer more sobering perspectives on the trend. Michael Mazzei, the senior vice president of Koenig & Strey Real Living, said that though he is seeing more offers, it is not quite a seller’s market.

“If I had to give you a number, in 60 percent of our transactions, we’re seeing multiple offers,” he said in the Sun-Times piece. “But it’s not all of a sudden a seller’s market [where] sellers can start inflating their prices.”

Steve Scheuring, an agent with Baird & Warner in Oak Park, echoed those sentiments, adding that though he too has seen higher bids, they do not equal an increase in home values just yet.

“There are a number of factors contributing but this does NOT mean prices are rising,” he said. “Most of the bidding wars involve offers still under asking price.”

The Sun-Times also noted that homes in more accessibly-priced communities are seeing more bids. Diane Lynch, an agent at Realty Executive Premier in Wheaton, said she represented a buyer who was outbid on four different homes in the Hanover Park/Glendale Heights area that were all prices under $160,000.

“He bids under list price and every time there are multiple offers and he comes in low every time,” she said in the article.

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