Lack of Inventory Squeezes an Otherwise Booming Real Estate Market

Home sales were down in February 2022 compared to February 2021, with 11.2% fewer detached single-family homes and 6.6% fewer attached homes selling in the Chicagoland area, according to statistics released today by the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® (Mainstreet). The number of homes going under contract also decreased, with 16.4% fewer detached single-family homes and 4.7% fewer attached homes entering this phase of the process in February 2022. 

These trends are likely to continue even as the weather warms. 

“The past truisms about seasonal markets are no longer relevant,” Mainstreet Board of Directors President John LeTourneau said. “These days, the market is constant. There is so much demand, and so little supply. A house listed in good condition could easily receive 30 offers.”

Although inventory has been tight since 2020, the homebuying rush of the past few years has only heightened the situation. Inventory is now about 11% lower than it was in 2020, as shown by Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED).

“The entire Chicago-area MLS has a supply of 1.7 months. That’s the lowest it’s been in more than 14 years,” Mainstreet CEO John Gormley said. “There’s a shortage of deals under contract because there’s nothing to put under contract. But that means it’s an excellent time for potential sellers to put their homes on the market.”

The inventory limitations meant that the homes that did sell fetched a high median sale price. The following suburbs saw particularly strong growth in the sale price of detached single-family homes: Antioch (22.1% increase in median sale price); Arlington Heights (20.2%); Aurora (12.2%); Burbank (17.7%); Dolton (25.2%); Downers Grove (13.2%); Geneva (24.7%); Hoffman Estates (21.5%); Lansing (12.0%); Mt. Prospect (12.4%); Naperville (15.2%); Oak Forest (12.5%); Oak Lawn (13.4%); Orland Park (13.7%); Park Forest (34.6%); Schaumburg (25.8%); South Holland (24.9%); and Zion (32.1%). 

Timing is key for buyers looking to both sell a current home and buy a new one. 

“If you can buy the next one before you sell, do it,” LeTourneau said. “Then you can be a non-contingent buyer, which puts you in a much stronger position.” 

Looking forward, the state of the local market could be highly dependent on world events. Emotionally and economically, the war in Europe is impacting Illinoisians, and will have a chilling effect on consumer behavior going forward.