19-Nov-23 – Chicago’s North Side home market this autumn continues to slide sideways as home buyers and sellers roll their eyes and hang on for dear life.
According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, benchmark home loan interest rates nationwide declined to 7.5 percent last week from 7.76 percent a week earlier. The November Baird & Warner market analysis also noted the following positive trends:
• Homes under contract. While the number of homes that went under contract in October 2023 dropped 1.6 percent, compared with the same month in 2022, Irwin noted “this is a vast improvement over recent months where we were seeing double-digit decreases.”
The Near North Side and Lakeview neighborhoods experienced increases of 9.7 and 4 percent respectively, for homes under contract over October of last year. However, contracts in Lincoln Park and North Center declined.
• Home price increases. Median home prices on the North Side rose a dramatic 13 percent in October. However, most of that increase was fueled by a whopping 39.9 percent price increase in Lincoln Park. Home prices in Lakeview and North Center also rose, as did North Side homes priced from $500,000 to $2 million.
• Homes for sale. Inventory levels continue to drop. “In October of 2023 the market experienced a 16.2 percent decline in listings compared with the same month in 2022,” Irwin said. “Lincoln Park, Lakeview, and North Center all experienced double-digit decreases in listings ranging from 20 to 31.9 percent.”
Lack of inventory continues to be the main obstacle to a North Side real estate rebound, according to Irwin.
“There is a healthy pool of buyers. However, many are sitting on the sidelines until inventory levels rise and interest rates stabilize,” he said. “Many sellers have built equity in their existing homes, but inventory levels and interest rates will have to be more favorable for them to sell and become buyers.”
• Interest rate shock. After the shock of interest rates doubling to 6 percent from 3 percent in a relatively short period, many buyers were beginning to settle into the reality of higher rates, Irwin said. “We now have moved past the 7 percent range and could be headed to 8 percent on benchmark 30-year fixed mortgages.”
Irwin noted that sharply higher home loan rates have had a profound effect on the market. “The multiple-offer frenzy brought on by historically low inventory levels has noticeably slowed. Property showings and open house attendance appear to be down,” he said.
Are mortgage rates stabilizing?
On November 9, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported some good news. Charges on benchmark 30-year fixed-rate home loans fell 0.26 percent to an average of 7.5 percent nationwide from 7.76 percent a week earlier. A year ago, 30-year fixed loans averaged 7.08 percent.
Fifteen-year fixed mortgages also declined on November 9 to an average of 6.81 percent from 7.03 percent a week earlier. A year ago, 15-year fixed loans averaged 6.38 percent.
The survey is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who place 20 percent down and have excellent credit.
However, Freddie Mac data shows that household debt continues to rise, primarily due to mortgage, credit card, and student loan balances.
“Many consumers are feeling strained by the high cost of living, so unless mortgage rates decrease significantly, the housing market will remain stagnant,” Khater predicted.