We finally have some solid figures on how COVID impacted Chicagoland real estate. These figures reflect a deep negative impact on real estate but also hope the worst is over. As we hit and then passed the peak of COVID in May, closed sales and new listings were way off from May 2019, down about 20-30% from May 2019. Market times were way up and inventory continued it historically low trend. Balanced against those poor figures was a continued demand for homes with super low mortgage interest rates, leases expiring and plans for buying a home made a long time ago. The result is that median sales prices have remained pretty much flat, with exceptions like Lake View condos where median sales prices actually rose 17% from last May.

My real estate clients are basically in two buckets:

  • excitement to don the mask and to find a deal
  • anxiety for a wait-and-see decision

There is hope

With restrictions eased finally, buyers are excited to get out there. Activity for the first two weeks of June is way up.

The week ended June 15 was the second in a row when more Chicago-area homes went under contract than in the corresponding week a year ago. It was also the first time that more homes went under contract than the week ended March 16, the last week before the crisis took hold. Buyers put 4,846 homes under contract in the week ended June 15, an increase of nearly 39 percent from the same time a year ago.

In the second week of June, the number of showings eclipsed the figure from early March by about 5 percent and was about 24 percent above showings at the same time in 2019.

Open houses are back. Nearly 3,460 properties had open houses in the week ended June 15. That’s more than 10 times the weekly figures from mid-March through mid-April, when agents found themselves improvising ways to show open houses via FaceTime and other virtual technologies.

Home prices haven’t dipped but have remained essentially flat in the latter weeks of the crisis, when a majority of properties that closed had gone under contract during the shutdowns. In the early weeks of the pandemic, prices were rising on homes that sold, but most if not all of those sales would have been contracts signed before the shutdown, and thus before any crisis-induced price-cutting.

We’re only looking at the first two weeks of June, so we hope this activity continues and is finally reflected in better sales figures in the coming months.

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