Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chicago Home Sales Activity for the Third Quarter, 2008: The Chicago Home Buzz

Beware of summaries. They are for losers. Beware of the pessimist or the optimist. Look for the micro-economist in your neighborhood. This is an historic time in our national economy and it really is incredible to watch since it is directly affecting each and every one of us. General summaries and market data are for losers and we frown on them. Why? Real estate operates in a local economy. Block by block, street by street, subdivision by subdivision. One street could be booming and the next street busting. Beware the pessimists or the optimists. Look for the micro-economist in your neighborhood. Look at our median sales summary in our Chicago Home Buzz report: Median prices up almost 25%! Wow! This economy is doing great! Read on…summary points of view are worthless such as our summary used as an example of skewed data. The media in their infinitely diluted viewpoint continues to under report (or over sensationalize) the actual state of the real estate market. To their defense, it is impossible to write detailed reporting on the market because the real estate market operates on both a macro and micro level. Even when you get down to what you think is a micro-level, Gold Coast goes and screws everything up! The real estate macro-economic condition is obviously just as important to each of us as what is happening in our back yards as evident by the turmoil in the markets. I’ll refrain from getting into details about why we are where we are but needless to say “A” grade securities which included junk, sub-prime mortgages (mortgages given to people who had no right getting a loan) were traded on Wall Street and across the global market at a hugely profitable speed and no regulator or moderator or Hedge Fund manager wanted that gravy train to stop. Trillions were made just as trillions were just lost in these past few weeks. That said, let’s focus on what the crux of this Chicago Market report is about. Our LOCAL MICRO-ECONOMY. Chicago as compared to national indexes is doing well in many areas, and not so well in others. Our report focuses on the north side of Chicago with a focus on SINGLE FAMILY homes in the Fall Quarter, 2008 compared with Fall Quarter, 2007. Median Price Activity for the Third Quarter, 2008 in Chicago: Taking the Gold Coast/Loop out of the equation, median sales prices for the quarter dropped almost 14% to $412,444 down from $470,141 in 2007. If you add that area back in there is actually a 24.4% increase in median price, but that is because the single-family home median sales price had a few large transactions pushing the median price for the entire North Section up. All other areas showed a decline of median prices compared with last year with the WEST area leading the decline with an average 85% price drop on sales from $228,867 down to only $123,481. This is in large part due to the number of foreclosures leading the sales in this area. West Garfield Park led the decline in a staggering display of depreciation for the area with 5 units sold (up from only 3 in 2007) but a drop in median price from $189,000 down to a paltry $12,500, a 93% decline in median price. North Lawndale (down 78%), East Garfield Park (down 73%) and Humbolt Park (down 53%) were among the area leaders of decline in value. On the positive side, once again one of my HEAVY BULLISH neighborhoods (for condos, multi-unit or single-family investments) continues to be Lakeview in the LAKESHORE area. Median Prices saw a whopping 15% INCREASE from $1,041,250 up to $1,200,000 (average prices too saw an increase up 13%). Rogers Park too saw an unexpected increase in median price single-family homes up 11% from the previous quarter with a median sales price of $456,000. The bad news there was it took an increased market time average of 279 days UP 862% from 2007’s short 29 day market average. The leading declining area for the quarter was Uptown , West Ridge and Lincoln Square (down 21%, 18% and 17% ) for the area. Overall however, the Lakeshore section was down 5% for the quarter. Very little good news for the NORTHWEST section with the area prices down 18% from a median sale price of $387,450 to $329,357. The good news was the area saw good sales volume in units (there are deals to be had). The NORTH CENTRAL section saw Avondale and Albany Park leading area decliners down 30% and 23% but West Town (Wicker Park/Ukranian Village) saw a 5% increase in median price up to $727,000 for a median price home up from $690,000 last year. Bucktown/Logan Square too saw a slight uptick in median prices to $693,000 from $670,000 last year (average prices jumped 15% to $804,804 from $702,666 last year). Unit Activity: Total units sold is down only 70 units across the North Section (-8.5%). The NORTHWEST section of the city is only showing 3% less units sold down from 296 to 286. In that same section, Norwood Park saw a 15% jump in sales from 54 units up to 62 and Dunning saw a significant uptick from 56 units sold in 2007 to 70 this quarter, 2008. However, some losers on units sold were Edison Park with a whopping 48% decline in units sold down to 14 units from 27 in 2007 and Jefferson Park down almost 30% from 45 units to only 32 this past quarter. Moving to the CENTRAL area, Avondale saw a whopping 183 increase in units sold up from 6 in 2007 to 17 in 2008 but the area saw an overall decline of 5% for the quarter. The WEST section saw an overall drop of 12% but areas like Belmont Cragin and Humbolt Park where single-family homes abound saw significant drops in unit volume down 30% and 13% respectively. The NORTH section dropped from 179 units to 170 however, the big news there is Avondale (while median prices are down 30%) saw a 183% increase in units sold from 6 to 17 with people most likely taking advantage of the buyers market and finding those deals which are out there. Summaries are for losers. We already know there are pockets (and even pockets within the pockets we are reporting) where there are signs of growth in this dismal market. Overall for the City on the North section market times were longer (up 27.46%) to 185 days with no one area really better than the other. Uptown was the only neighborhood that saw an average market time below 100 at 93 days (down 36% from 2007). However, taking the skewed Gold Coast out of the microscope we can get a better glimpse of the actual numbers for the quarter. Total units sold were down 7.7% from 870 to 808. The median sales price dropped almost 14% with a few exceptions such as Uptown, Bucktown/Logan Square and West Town/Wicker Park which all showed a positive gain in median sales price compared to 3rd quarter 2007. If we do add the Gold Coast back in to the report we are really looking at a very positive gain in median prices for the quarter up 24.39%.

Beware of summaries. They are for losers. Beware of the pessimists or the optimists.

Look for the micro-economist in your neighborhood.

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