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The State of the Market

by Stephanie Sims

stephanie-sims

Stephanie Sims is Chicago Agent’s managing editor.

It’s a new year! It’s a time to start fresh – or keep with your momentum from last year and keep on going.

In terms of the market, I’m sure you’re also hoping it gains a bit more momentum than last year, and takes that to increasingly improving levels this year. The way Chicago Agent saw things in our last issue of 2014, our Predictions issue, we predicted that the market will continue to make a slow and steady climb. Judging from our current state of the market and where Chicagoland is poised to go, it looks like that continuation will happen – but hopefully, we’ll gain some more momentum as the year goes on.

Consumers also seem to be more optimistic. The improved employment outlook, as well as boosts to the stock market, falling energy prices and an improved outlook for home values have contributed to generally higher consumer confidence. However, fluctuations persist: the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index hit 94.1 percent in October, which is the highest number in seven years; but the number took a five-point nosedive in November, dropping to 88.7 percent. Even so, the year-over-year gains remain positive, and the recent seven-year high indicates that consumer confidence is coming around.

“In the Midwest, we don’t usually have the wild fluctuations, the highs and lows that they typically see or experience in the coastal communities,” says Fran Broude, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s president and COO for Chicagoland and Milwaukee, who is pictured on our cover. “We typically stay more modest with our upturns in pricing and our downturns. I really think 4 to 5 percent growth is very reasonable for us.”

We’ll see how reasonable our growth in the housing industry is as the year goes on. Have your own predictions? Email me at stephanie@agentpublishing.com, or comment on our cover story on our website: chicago.staging312.com/current-issue.

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