Although COVID-19 is having a huge impact on Chicago’s housing market, the data shows that prices and sales are still on the rise, at least for Chicago homes that sold in March. However, homes that sold in March were likely priced in February since the typical contract-to-close time frame is around 30 to 45 days for the vast majority of buyers who get a mortgage.

This means that some of the elements we use to gauge market health, like closed sales and prices, might not demonstrate the full impact of the pandemic. But, the number of homes under contract and new listings are based on activities that actually occurred in March. And even though Chicago’s stay at home order took effect around halfway through the month, we can use these elements as an early indicator of Chicago’s housing market health in the COVID-19 era.

Chicago home sales – March 2020

Chicago overall residential sales price rose 10.1% year-over-year to $320,000 for the month of March, which is also a significant uptick from the month prior. The rolling 12-month median, averaged for a broader picture, rose 3.3% to $297,000. Closed sales were also up slightly by 2.3% from last year. Chicago homes that closed in March were on the market for 69 days (median), which is a decrease of one day compared to a year ago.

Here’s where we can see how much COVID-19 has diminished activity – the number of homes that went under contract in March dropped a steep 22.2% from last year. New listings were down 22.1%, and the number of Chicago homes for sale fell 10.5% to a total of 7,915.

Chicago condo and townhouse sales

Looking closer at the attached single-family segment (condos and townhouses), the median sales price jumped 11.6% year-over-year to $355,000 while the rolling 12-month median price reached $332,500, up 3.9% since last year. The number of closed condo/townhouse sales also rose by 4.8% with a median market time of 69 days, an increase of four days from the same month last year.

Yet, the number of condos and townhouses that went under contract in March is down 30.1% year-over-year.  And, new condo and townhouse listings fell 22% while total inventory dropped 6.4% to 5,052.

Downtown residential sales activity

Looking closer at the downtown region, the overall median sales price grew 6.1% to $435,000. Closed sales were also up 8.9% since last year, while median market time increased by four days.

Much like the city overall, homes under contract and new listings downtown fell drastically in March compared to just a year ago – down 34.1% and 23.1%, respectively. The total number of homes for sale downtown reached 4,039, showing an 8.6% drop in inventory compared to March 2019.

For condos and townhouses in the downtown area, sales prices grew 7.7% to $419,950. Closed sales also jumped 10.8% and the time to sell these homes slowed by 5 days.

Downtown condos and townhouses under contract fell 33.4% and new listings down 22.5%. The number of attached single-family listings in the downtown Chicago area dropped 7.9% to 3,596.

Chicago real estate activity and COVID-19

Again, new listings is a data point which points to the impact coronavirus has had on Chicago real estate. The number of new listings in March fell in every neighborhood surveyed – the Loop (-25.1%), West Loop (-37.1%), South Loop (-31.9%), River North (-17.2%),  Gold Coast/Streeterville (-28.3%), Old Town (-21.1%), Lincoln Park (-17.4%), Lakeview (-12.5%), Logan Square/Bucktown (-25.7%) and West Town/Wicker Park (-24.2%).

Much like new listings, far fewer homes went under contract in March when Chicago’s stay at home order took effect. All major neighborhoods near downtown saw steep declines, including the Loop (-55.1%), West Loop (-38.5%), South Loop (-38.8%), River North (-34.8%), Gold Coast/Streeterville (-45.4%), Old Town (-30.4%), Lincoln Park (-40.3%), Lakeview (-19.9%), Logan Square/Bucktown (-32.8%) and West Town/Wicker Park (-28.7%).

Where are home values increasing in Chicago?

It looks like sellers who opted to list earlier in the year with closings in March saw strong home price appreciation. In March, sales price increased year-over-year in the majority of neighborhoods surveyed, including the Loop (+13.7%), West Loop (+.5%), South Loop (+7%), River North (+0.7%), Gold Coast/Streeterville (+21.2%), Lakeview (+25.5%) and West Town/Wicker Park (+3.6%).

Meanwhile, Old Town (-2.1%), Lincoln Park (-16.7%), and Logan Square/Bucktown (-3.4%) had a drop in sales prices compared to March 2019.

Which Chicago neighborhoods see more home sales?

In March, more homes sold in the Loop (+1.8%), West Loop (+14.6%), South Loop (+25%), River North (+22.5%), Old Town (+23.5%), Lincoln Park (+10.1%), Lakeview (+27.6%) and Logan Square/Bucktown (+12.8%) compared to a year ago.

Fewer homes sold in Gold Coast/Streeterville (-12.6%) compared to March 2019, while West Town/Wicker Park had the same number of closings year-over-year.

Where do Chicago homes sell the fastest?

Compared to the same time last year, it longer to sell a home in March 2020 in the Loop (+14 days), Gold Coast/Streeterville (+29 days), Lincoln Park (+62 days), Lakeview (+34 days) and West Town/Wicker Park (+20 days).

Homes that closed in March sold faster in West Loop (-21 days), South Loop (-2 days), River North (-49 days), Old Town (-22 days) and Logan Square/Bucktown (-10 days). However, those homes likely went under contract in February, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that market times for homes that are going under contract today are a bit slower.