A comparison of 2021 and 2020 Chicagoland home sales — plus new December data from Mainstreet

by Emily Mack

As the pandemic rages on, the housing market has continued to boom. Both years of the health crisis spurred increased home sales, especially in the Chicagoland area. Now, new, comprehensive statistics from the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® illustrate the extent to which 2021 home sales exceed even the fruitful year prior.

On a month-over-month basis in the city limits, too, December 2021 was a strong period for the market, according to a snapshot from the Chicago Association of REALTORS®. A total of 2,408 properties were sold in Chicago that month, up 6.2% from the same month in the previous year, with a median sales price of $315,000: a 3.3% year-over-year increase. Average time on the market stayed the same, however, hovering at 76 days in Chicago proper.

In 2020 in Chicagoland suburbs, 12.8% more detached single-family homes and 4.5% more attached homes were sold than in 2019. And those numbers continued to rise during 2021, with 8.9% more detached single-family homes sold than in 2020.

In particular, the suburbs of Buffalo Grove, Chicago Ridge, Crete, Darien, Evergreen Park, Franklin, Gurnee, Hazel Crest, Hinsdale, Inverness, Lombard, Markham, Midlothian, Oak Brook, Park Forest, Rolling Meadows, Sauk Village, Steger, Vernon Hills, Wheeling, Willowbrook and Wood Dale saw substantial growth. As for attached homes, the overall difference was even greater: a 20.9% increase.

With demand spiking, naturally, home values have also risen in the Chicago suburbs — and prices continue to appreciate. The median sales price of a detached single-family Chicagoland home was $325,000 in 2021: 12.4% higher than the 2020 median of $289,900 and 21.4% higher than the 2019 median of $267,500. The appreciation was less significant for attached homes, which ended 2021 with a median of $195,500, compared to $179,200 in 2020 (a 9% difference) and $172,400 in 2019 (a 13.3% difference).

“COVID changed protocols for buying and selling homes, but it also intensified the demand for homes,” Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® Board of Directors President John LeTourneau said in a press release. “Each new variant has just continued to reinforce the need for people to have a home they feel comfortable in. So, it’s no surprise to see this activity continue two years into the pandemic.”

Mainstreet CEO John Gormley added that the strong sales numbers over the past few years have reinforced the value of homeownership in both Chicagoland and the rest of the country. “As we’ve dealt with the coronavirus and spent more time in our homes, people truly want to live in places they can call their own and personalize to their needs,” Gormley said in the press release.

Looking on to 2022, LeTourneau said inflation and interest rates will remain the major factors driving the market. “We could be looking at a real erosion of buying power, even though people will continue to want new homes. That’s the pressure on the market that I see coming,” he noted.

Of course, the reflection on 2021 would not be complete without data from December. Mainstreet released that info recently, as well, revealing that during that month, the number of detached units sold shrank 8.1% year over year to 3,468. In that timespan, the units also experienced significantly less time on the market: 47 days, down 24.2% from 2020. And in all, the median sales price for detached homes rose 9.3% to $312,500.

Meanwhile, the total number of attached units sold increased 1.1% year over year to 1,594. Time on the market for those homes also decreased by 19.6% to 45 days, while the median sales price rose to $195,750: up 8.8% from last year.

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