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Housing Bulletin—Signs of the Times

On Saturday, October 6th, I happened to travel around much of the North Shore. As I went, I counted the for-sale signs in front of houses that had added language touting “Reduced Price” or something similar. In all, I counted 18 advertised reductions out of the 48 for-sale signs I had passed. That’s 37.5 percent.

It turns out my casual count was a little sunnier than reality. Last week, California-based ZipRealty released figures showing that in the Chicago area, 40.8 percent of all homes listed in September had markdowns from their original asking price. Not all houses whose prices have been cut will have a sign out front saying so…

On Saturday, October 6th, I happened to travel around much of the North Shore. As I went, I counted the for-sale signs in front of houses that had added language touting “Reduced Price” or something similar. In all, I counted 18 advertised reductions out of the 48 for-sale signs I had passed. That’s 37.5 percent.

It turns out my casual count was a little sunnier than reality. Last week, California-based ZipRealty released figures showing that in the Chicago area, 40.8 percent of all homes listed in September had markdowns from their original asking price. Not all houses whose prices have been cut will have a sign out front saying so; some agents and homeowners may still think it is a sign of desperation, instead of an indicator that the sellers have realistically scaled back their expectations. Price cuts are now as common a part of selling a house as baking bread in the kitchen to give the place a homey aroma as potential buyers arrive.

A few days ago, I toured a bungalow listed by Bill Spencer, a Rubloff agent. Spencer had first listed the property, a three-bedroom home in Chicago’s historic Villa neighborhood (off Addison Street, just west of the Kennedy Expressway), less than a month ago. But already, he said matter-of-factly, he had cut the price three times. It started at $519,000, and now it’s at $439,000.

That same story is playing out all over the city and suburbs. In fact, ZipRealty’s figures show that price-cutting has become the norm nationwide. Here is a list of 15 major markets (all served by ZipRealty), with the percentage of homes listed for sale in September that had a reduced asking price.

CITY
% WITH MARKDOWNS
Boston
48.4
Orlando
47.5
Las Vegas
47.1
Phoenix
47.1
Washington, D.C.
46.8
Baltimore
46.1
Los Angeles
45.9
San Diego
45.0
San Francisco Bay Area
43.9
Minneapolis–St. Paul
43.0
Chicago
40.8
Seattle
40.5
Miami
38.1
Houston
36.7
Dallas–Ft. Worth
35.9

 

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