Expect Fast Start, Modest Price Increases and Continuing Inventory Shortage

How will the Chicago-area housing market behave in 2018? An informal survey of some leading RE/MAX brokers suggests it won’t be radically different than 2017 and should be buoyed by an economy enjoying solid rates of growth and job creation.

Though local conditions vary, here are five trends likely to have a broad impact on the 2018 residential market in the Chicago area.

Fast Start to New Year

Numerous RE/MAX brokers say the market won’t slow down as much as it normally does in December and January unless the weather is exceptionally discouraging.

“I anticipate a steady stream of activity this winter, helped by low interest rates, and a good number of buyers concerned about higher prices next spring. Plus, we are seeing more job-related moves thanks to increased hiring,” said Kim Keefe of RE/MAX Plaza in Woodstock, Ill.

Cherie Smith Zurek of RE/MAX Unlimited Northwest in Lake Zurich, Ill., is telling sellers who take their home off the market for the holidays to list it again no later than the second week of January.

“The market does slow, especially at Christmas, but not as much as it once did,” she said. “With inventory low, buyers won’t wait long.”

Modest Price Increases

From Jan. 1 to Nov. 15, the median sales price of a home in the seven-county Chicago metro area was 5.8 percent higher this year than last, and RE/MAX brokers project a similar result in 2018.

“Prices rose noticeably during the first half of 2017, but then we saw real pushback from buyers,” said Bryan Kasprisin of RE/MAX Ultimate Professionals in Shorewood, Ill. “Buyers today can easily access detailed pricing data, and they use it. They know what happened to housing values a decade ago and don’t want to overpay.”

Continuing Shortage of Listings

Although the inventory of listings varies by area and price range, many suburbs have a surplus of luxury homes but not enough listings of $400,000 or less.

“We’ve seen about a 10 percent decrease in inventory over the last 12 months, which has created a shortage of homes, especially in the moderately priced and entry-level segments of the market,” reported Paul Wells of RE/MAX of Barrington.

A lack of selection often poses a double challenge for buyers, according to Matt Boemmel of RE/MAX Exclusive Properties, Chicago.

“Buyers can have a hard time…

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