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Why a slower market could be ‘a dream come true’  

by Faiza Islam

Why a slower market could be ‘a dream come true’  

Thad Wong and Mike Golden, co-founders of @properties, speak with Peter Olesker, vice president of communications at the firm.

In 2019, Illinois’ housing market has become challenging, at least compared to last year. Sales volume is down 6.5 percent, accompanied by an increase in inventory and a decrease in price growth. At the start of the year, price growth was at 2 to 3 percent year-over-year. Now, it is between 0.5 and 1.5 percent, depending on the city. 

But according to Thad Wong, co-founder of @properties, that might not be a bad thing. 

“We had enormous growth for a long period of time and that’s not sustainable, so when you start to see things slow down, that sometimes should be embraced. As pricing, volume and velocity of everything kind of slows down a little bit, it feels like the market’s taking a breather,” Wong said in a market update video produced by the company. “If we can do that and stabilize for a couple of years and then go back towards growth, that might be a dream come true.” 

Even with these challenges, different areas in Chicago have shown positive progression in their housing market. The @properties market update looked specifically at Bronzeville, Park Ridge and Evanston for local indicators of economic health. 

New construction and vintage rehabs have reached high stakes in Bronzeville, giving buyers opportunities to buy houses at lower prices, remodel them and sell for a higher value. 

Housing diversity in product and pricing has led Park Ridge to a healthy, stable real estate market over the years with distinct inventory satisfying everyone’s needs and offering a variety of rehabbed ranch houses for downsizers who aren’t ready for condo living but still want to create value with real estate investment. 

Compared to other suburban areas to the north and west of the inner ring suburb, Evanston has maintained a strong housing market with affordability playing an important role in attracting buyers from everywhere and an increase in inventory. Mike Golden, co-founder of @properties, said the realistic expectations of sellers in Evanston has helped keep the market on track. “You have a certain level of demand that helps drive the pricing and I think that demand is what kept pricing reasonably moderate. We haven’t seen this insane demand for Evanston, but we’ve also seen kind of a stable demand.”

Shifting into the second half of the year, @properties executives suggested that, as the housing market slows down in the summer, it’s a good time for buyers to reset. “There are less showings typically during the summer months, so sellers are a little bit more motivated,” Golden said. “Interest rates have come back down, so it’s a great time to lock in on a great interest rate and at a really good value in the market. …Inventory has given buyers more choice and is allowing them to be a little more aggressive.”

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