The real estate market continues to turn its engine

Traditionally, Super Bowl Sunday is seen as the kick-off for real estate sales after a winter break for the holidays. As the market heats up after the big game, the question on many buyers’ and sellers’ minds is what 2022 will hold for home sales after the record year of 2021.

According to John Lawrence, Designated Managing Broker of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago, 2021 has been a “really good year in real estate.” He says the three-village area of ​​Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park saw a 25% increase in homes sold year-over-year.

Noting that our MLS (Multiple Listing Service) region extends approximately from Lake Michigan in the east to Wisconsin in the north and the Bloomington/Normal area in the south and west, he said, “The entire area MLS saw a 13.5-percentage increase in sales. Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park in percentage terms just blew that out of the water.

1447 Bonnie Brae, River Forest, closed June 2021 for $1,450,000. | Provided

Market time and multiple offers

Monica Dalton, real estate agent at Compass Real Estate Oak Park, says that in 2021 homes sold faster and received multiple offers more frequently than in previous years.

“We’ve seen a dramatic decrease in market time and open houses have increased traffic,” Dalton said. “It was not uncommon to have several offers before the first open day.”

Laurent witnessed the same thing.

“Everything sold out faster at each price level,” he said. “We saw a lot of multiple offers.”

Lawrence also says that while many homes sold immediately after listing, a good number sold before they even officially went on the market. When potential sellers began preparing their homes for sale, buyers would ask to see the homes and end up making offers before the homes officially went on sale.

Registration numbers

Homes have not only sold in batches in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park, they have often reached record or near record prices in 2021.

For terraced houses, the three villages recorded solid sales. Forest Park recorded the second highest sales figure with pre-pandemic average prices. River Forest had the second highest number of attached units sold and Oak Park sold 106 more attached units than in 2020.

Calling the numbers for attached units “very strong,” Lawrence noted that detached units have seen the most impressive gains.

In Forest Park, Lawrence says the real story was pricing, with the average price of a detached house rising by $47,000 to a record high for the village. The median selling price jumped 13.5% to $370,000 for single-family homes.

In Oak Park, a record 624 single-detached homes sold, up from 534 in 2020 and the previous record of 544 in 2016.

“Last year we approached the record,” Lawrence said. “This year we blew it out of the water.”

Prices at Oak Park have also increased. For the first time ever, the median price topped $500,000 for a detached home, reaching $503,525.

Like Oak Park, River Forest set an all-time record for the number of single-detached homes sold, with 157 units sold versus previous highs of 153 in 2020 and 2013. Additionally, the median price of single-family homes jumped 14 percent in the town.

721 Columbian, Oak Park, closed within seven days for the list price of $1,070,000 in May 2021. | Provided

Both villages have seen a surge in sales of homes priced at or above $1 million. In River Forest, sales in this category increased by 62%, with the village recording 47 high-end sales compared to 29 in 2020. In Oak Park, this number increased from 13 in 2020 to 23 in 2021.

Dalton said she continues to see more interest in higher prices than in previous years.

“Agents are calling to see if they have anything coming on the market because there’s just not much to see right now,” she said.

COVID effect

Lawrence believes much of the high-end’s success is due to the continued effects of the pandemic on the market.

“People want more space,” he said.

He adds that the recent increase in sales is due to a combination of several factors.

“COVID has allowed people to live in different places because they’re not going to the office anymore,” Lawrence said. “When you work from home, your space needs change. People’s priorities during something like this change. Finally, even though interest rates are rising, they are still very low and borrowing money is quite cheap.

Dalton says she’s seen a marked increase in people looking for bigger homes with yards and says a home office has become a requirement.

“When you’re ever cooped up in a condo or a tiny house, you notice what’s not working in your living space,” she said. “Furthermore, dedicated home offices have become essential like never before. I “temporarily” moved my home office to the living room because my husband needed more privacy, so he took over our home office.

Look forward

Both Lawrence and Dalton predict another busy year for 2022.

“In many ways, 2022 is even more competitive because buyers who were continually outbidding in 2021 have paused and are back in addition to newly seeking buyers in 2022,” Dalton said. “Supply just doesn’t keep up with demand.”

Lawrence says supply and demand are at the heart of the local market.

“We don’t maximize the number of units sold,” he said. “A lot of people are frustrated that there isn’t enough to see.”

Noting that the neighborhood continues to be desirable because it’s not in town but you can easily get there, and because the housing stock is so large, Lawrence says he thinks the next four months will be busy.

While he predicts there will be a typical post-Super Bowl action bump, he admits, “It’s already busy now. After the Super Bowl, it’s going to continue to be busy. »

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