This past November, Chicago home sales dipped .7 percent compared to the same month one year earlier. Don’t be quick to assume this slight decline is indicative of a slowing market. For starters, the number of Chicago homes available to buy in November was 8.5 percent lower than last year, per the latest report from Illinois REALTORS®. And, in positive news for Chicago home sellers, time on the market dropped 4.4 percent annually in November, from a 45-day average to a 43-day average. So, despite the dip in sales from the year prior, it doesn’t look like homebuyers are by any means disinterested. In fact, a few Chicago neighborhoods appeared even more competitive just before the holidays.

A closer look at Chicago neighborhoods

MRED did not release monthly market reports for October, but we can still compare these data points to our last Chicago real estate market update from September. In that two-month period, all but two neighborhoods suffered from median condo price dips consistent with seasonality: Near North (which includes River North, Gold Coast and Old Town) and Near West Side (West Loop and Fulton Market).

Between September and November of last year, condo prices in River North and West Loop rose $26,250 (7 percent) and $85,250 (24 percent), respectively. Those are some impressive gains, especially considering homebuyer demand typically trails off near the holiday season. Without that competition to leverage, many Chicago condos for sale suffer price cuts in the winter months. That doesn’t seem to be the case here.

From an annual perspective, River North condo prices remained flat – meaning there were no median price gains or losses since November 2016. However, closed sales rose 10 percent in that same time frame.

Meanwhile, the median sales price for West Loop condos skyrocketed 38.1 percent year-over-year. Closed sales were up just 2.4 percent year-over-year, but Fulton Market buyers were out in full force toward the end of 2017 – the number of condos under contract was 60.4 percent higher in November compared to just one year earlier.

Winter inventory improving in some areas

Predictably, there were fewer new condos for sale across all of Chicago’s primary downtown neighborhoods in November compared to September. In popular Chicago first-time homebuyer neighborhoods like River North, Logan Square and Wicker Park, new listings dropped by nearly half in just two months. In Lakeview, new condo listings in November were down almost 110 percent. New North Center condos for sale were down 119 percent in November compared to September. Again, the slower market is not a major surprise given the seasonal shift, despite how dramatic the numbers appear on paper.

To account for seasonality, it’s better to gauge for-sale inventory from an annual standpoint. Compared to November 2016, the number of new condo listings rose in River North, West Loop, Wicker Park, the Loop, Lakeview and Avondale. Meanwhile, the number of new condo listings in Lincoln Park, South Loop, Logan Square, North Center and Humboldt Park fell.

Chicago condo prices – November 2017 vs. November 2016

As mentioned, the median price on River North condos for sale was the same in November 2017 as November 2016. Meanwhile, West Loop condo prices rose a dramatic 38.1 percent. Other year-over-year median condo price gains occurred in North Center (up 13.2 percent) and Wicker Park (3 percent). In all the other downtown Chicago neighborhoods, the median condo price was more affordable this past November compared to the year prior.

Overall, Chicago condo prices dipped 1 percent in November compared to the year prior, reaching a $305,000 city-wide median. Meanwhile, the median sales price on single-family homes in Chicago rose 4.8 percent year-over-year to $220,000 (Illinois Realtors®). All things considered, the end of 2017 wasn’t a bad time to buy a condo in Chicago, especially for those looking to save on their home purchase.

Each Chicago neighborhood performs differently in terms of price and demand, which is why location is typically top priority for those considering a Chicago home purchase or property investment.