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Chicago’s North Side Market Took Nosedive In March

(Above) Chicago skyline from South Pond in Lincoln Park. Photo by Jose Luis Stephens.

After three consecutive monthly increases of home sales on Chicago’s North Side, historically low inventory levels caused the real estate market to nosedive in March.

Combined March 2024 home sales for Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Near North Side, and North Center dropped 15 percent compared with March 2023, according to the April 2024 Market Analysis for Chicago’s North Side, co-authored by Realtors John Irwin and Jackie Lafferty of Baird & Warner.

“The main issue is that there are simply not enough homes for sale to meet buyer demands or last year’s numbers,” said Irwin (left). “However, there still are positive indicators, and while the economic news varies, we seem to be moving in the right direction.”

Experts say upward mortgage rate creep continues to cloud the market. On April 11, Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported that average benchmark 30-year fixed loans rose to 6.88 percent, up from 6.82 percent a week earlier. A year ago, the 30-year fixed loans averaged 6.27 percent.

“Mortgage rates have been drifting higher for most of the year due to sustained inflation and the reevaluation of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy path,” noted Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist.

“While newly released inflation data from March continues to show a trend of very little movement, the financial market’s reaction paints a far different economic picture,” Khater said.

Since inflation decelerated from 9 to 3 percent between June 2022 and June 2023, the annual growth rate of inflation has remained effectively flat, ranging from 3.1 to 3.7 percent and averaging 3.3 percent.

“The March estimate of 3.5 percent annual inflation growth is in the middle of that range. However, the stock market’s reaction was dramatically different, as illustrated by a significant drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after that announcement,” said Khater (right).

“It’s clear that while the trend in inflation data has been close to flat for nearly a year, the narrative is much less clear and resembles the unrealized expectations of a recession from a year ago,” Khater said.

Fifteen-year fixed mortgages averaged 6.16 percent on April 11, up from 6.06 a week earlier. A year ago, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.54 percent.

The Freddie Mac survey is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who place a 20 percent down payment and have excellent credit.

Baird & Warner’s April analysis detailed the following real estate comparatives in the four neighborhoods...

Listings. Combined active listing inventory levels dropped 8.2 percent in March 2024 compared with March 2023. This is on top of a 27.5 percent drop in March 2023 vs. March 2022. Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and North Center have between 1.5 and 2.3 months of inventory supply, which are historically low levels.

“The most dramatic inventory decreases occurred in homes priced between $500,000 and $1 million, which dropped 23.6 percent, and homes in that bracket in Lakeview, which plummeted 34.5 percent,” Irwin noted.

Home sales. The number of home sales in all four neighborhoods dropped in March 2024 vs. March 2023. Sales declined 3.8 percent on the Near North Side and a whopping 40 percent in North Center.

Under contract. Homes that went under contract in March 2024 dropped 11.7 percent vs. March 2023.

“This is significant in that these homes usually close within 30 to 45 days and are an indicator of what direction home sales will trend in April,” Irwin said.

Home prices. In March 2024, home prices rose by 8.9 percent over March 2023, with Lincoln Park prices rising a solid 22.9 percent. Three of the four neighborhoods reported increases with only the Near North Side reporting a decrease of 19.6 percent. Homes priced between $500,000 and $1 million showed increases, while prices on homes under $500,000 and over $1 million dropped.

Low inventory levels usually drive up prices significantly, according to Irwin, but this has not been the case on Chicago’s North Side.

“Despite low inventory levels, buyers are still very price conscious and would rather wait for new homes to come on the market than overpay because of low inventory levels,” Irwin said. “Pricing must reflect the true value of the home.”

Fussy buyers. Showing requests and attendance at open houses in the past three months remained strong. However, many buyers are looking for homes in “turnkey” condition.

“Updated kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, and paint colors are very important, as many buyers do not want to do the updates themselves,” Irwin noted.

Gazing into Baird & Warner’s crystal ball, Irwin says the market is improving, but the turnaround could be slow until inventory levels rise.

“Buyers and sellers should do their homework before moving forward,” said Irwin.

Don DeBat is co-author of “Escaping Condo Jail,” the ultimate survival guide for condominium living. Visit


“The book is Escaping Condo Jail by Sara Benson and Don DeBat. I would say that anybody thinking about buying a condo, or even anybody serving on a condo board, or anybody who has any connection to a condo, this is must reading—all 600 and something pages. Thanks a lot for a great book!”


Steve Sanders, “Your Money Matters” WGN TV, December 22, 2014

By Don DeBat

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