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Seller's Market As Chicago Home Inventory Shrinks

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With city inventory shrinking to its lowest level in years and suburban real estate becoming increasingly expensive, Chicagoland's housing market has become much more challenging for buyers this spring. According to Crain's, its slim pickings for single-family homes in Chicago. The city had 3,795 homes for sale in mid-April, a sharp decline from the recent peak of 10,000 in 2007 and a drop in volume from the same period last year. Constrained condo inventory, as well as high sales volumes and steadily climbing prices -- the March average was up 22 percent over last year -- all point to a seller's market. The 'burbs are also booming, with prices are up in all seven surrounding counties over last year, with increases of 19 percent in Cook, 22 percent in Kane and 18 percent in Lake.

There are a few caveats to those robust figures for Chicago. While the market is certainly hot right now, a significant portion of homeowners are either underwater (17%) or owe more than their home is worth (25%). Pre-marketing and pocket listing, practices that lead to desirable homes being snapped up before the MLS (or public) gets a shot, have also frustrated buyers. The slight dip in Chicago-area homes sales last year seems like a lead-up to a busy 2015, albeit one that may be a bit more cutthroat for homebuyers.

·Can't find a Chicago home to buy? Join the club [Crain's]
·Chicago-area home sellers see first strong market in years: experts [Sun-Times]
·On The Market archives [Curbed Chicago]