House Prices 2008

No surprise here: Chicago's 12th annual survey of residential real estate reveals disturbing trends in all three major indicators: home prices, number of homes sold, and days on the market. According to information provided by Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), the average price of single-family homes fell in about 80 percent of the neighborhoods and suburbs included on the charts. (Some neighborhoods and suburbs did not have enough sales between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008—the period we examine—for us to compute any increase or decrease).

The top five suburban decreases came in Summit, North Chicago, Harvey, Dixmoor, and Olympia Fields. In the city, neighborhoods on the South and West sides took the hardest hits: West Englewood, West Garfield Park, Englewood, Pullman, and New City. Many of these are low- or moderate-income areas, where predatory lending, mortgage scams, and other factors may have artificially inflated prices during the housing boom—and where the tight lending practices of the past year may have contributed to the declines by shutting out first-time buyers.

In other major indicators, the total volume of home sales was down nearly 27 percent from last year, while the average time a home remained on the market increased in more than 90 percent of the 287 neighborhoods and suburbs on our chart.

There were some bright spots, especially in downtown Chicago. Though the volume of condo sales there diminished, average prices rose as several high-end projects began delivering condos contracted for as much as three years ago. Elsewhere in the city, the average price of single-family homes in Uptown, North Center, and Albany Park (one of our "bargain" neighborhoods, page 99) each experienced a double-digit increase. Beyond the city limits, the five largest single-family increases came in South Barrington, North Barrington, Wadsworth, Kenilworth, and Lynwood. But as our annual roundup of the area’s priciest home sales demonstrates, even the high end of the market was not immune to the housing slump.

Before you start to panic, however, take a deep breath and enjoy the long view: Since 1994, every neighborhood and suburb on the chart has enjoyed a double-digit percentage increase in its average home prices. With an increase since 1994 of 282.41 percent, Clarendon Hills is number two on the list—as well as being one of our "bargain" suburbs.