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The Chicagoland Markets Entering 2016 On A High Note

by James F. McClister

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Chicago is a patchwork city cuffed in suburbs. While the metropolitan market is usually reported on in its entirety, the reality is that the local market is splintered into sub-markets, which often perform contrary to the area’s larger trends. Using data provided by Redfin and the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors (MORe), we’ve narrowed our focus to see which neighborhoods and suburbs (below the total median sale price) are starting out the New Year by outperforming their collective neighbors.

The City Proper

In November, Chicago’s residential real estate market performed relatively poorly, as the total number of homes sold dropped 11.1 percent year-over-year while the median sale price fell 2 percent to $225,000. Below are the three neighborhoods we identified under the median price ceiling that are outperforming the city as a whole – and offering attractive options for local buyers.

Clearing – In the 12 months preceding Nov. 2015, home sales and prices grew at more than triple the rate of the city overall. Sixty-eight homes were sold from Nov. 2014 to Nov. 2015, a 6.3 percent increase, and in that time home prices climbed 18 percent to $177,000 – well below the city total, but appreciating much faster. Demand brought the median days on market to 34; though that is nine days above the city’s overall median, it is still much faster than is typical in the suburbs and even other metros.

McKinley Park – In the largely Hispanic McKinley Park, prices leapt over 35 percent year-over-year in November, pushing the median sale price into the $200,000 bracket. Only 17 homes were sold during the same amount of time, but that relatively small number represents a remarkable 112.5 percent increase. Median days on market remained above the city’s total at 32, but it’s clear demand in the area has grown significantly since 2014.

Rogers Park – Quickly becoming another of the city’s preferred neighborhoods, Rogers Park was also one of the few neighborhoods bolstering Chicago’s overall market, with median sale price rising 14.6 percent year-over-year in November to $180,000 and the number of homes sold similarly jumping 6.1 percent to 104. With 164 new listings and median days on market remaining healthy at 27, surging demand is helping sustain Rogers Park’s tremendous growth.

Suburbs

Much like the city suburbia surrounds, in the year leading up to this past November, home sales waned and the number of homes sold dropped nearly 3 percent. Despite the slip in sales, prices still managed healthy growth (11.8 percent) – though some grew faster than others. Demand kept homes selling at a median pace of 100 days.

Bellwood – Median sale price in Bellwood remained well under the market median in November at $128,500, but that’s after rising 88.4 percent year-over-year, which pushed prices from the five digits into six. Relative to some of the city’s bigger suburbs, Bellwood’s 18 homes sold from Nov. 2014 to Nov. 2015 is a slow year. But unlike many of those other suburbs, the number of homes being sold in Bellwood jumped 38.5 percent. And not only are more homes selling in Bellwood, but they’re selling faster, with average days on market falling nearly 50 percent to 51 – 49 days below the suburban average.

Lindenhurst-Lake Villa – Demand is helping grow Lake Villa. From 2009 to 2013, homeownership in the suburb was 76.8 percent (well above the state’s 67.5 percent rate), according to U.S. Census data. What’s more, the growth has translated into a better-performing real estate market. In November, the number of homes sold in the preceding 12 months jumped 21.7 percent to 28, while median sale price increased 46.3 percent to $207,000 – quickly approaching the overall suburban median. Homes are still selling more slowly in Lake Villa than in other suburbs, with average days on market being 102. But that’s only after falling 24.4 percent year-over-year, which indicates a strong uptick in demand.

Oak Lawn – An affordable suburb, Oak Lawn’s healthy growth is bringing equity to an area that in 2013 had a homeownership rate of over 80 percent, according to the Census. From Nov. 2014 to Nov. 2015, the median sale price in the suburb increased 15.6 percent to just over $184,000. At the same time, the number of homes sold increased 37.5 percent to 44, and did so quicker than in the year before, with average days on market falling nearly 30 percent to 84.

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