Luxury residential sales in the seven-county Chicago area quickened, as they always do, during the year’s second quarter after posting sluggish results in the first quarter. Nonetheless, sales in the April-June period still trailed the activity levels posted a year earlier, according to the quarterly RE/MAX Premier Luxury Housing Report from RE/MAX Premier of Chicago. During the second quarter, 813 homes sold for $1 million or more, -11.3% fewer than during the same quarter in 2018, but a marked improvement over the -22.3% decline recorded for the first quarter. Second-quarter luxury sales fell -9% in Chicago and -13.5% in the Chicago suburbs.
While total luxury sales lagged the 2018 pace, the median sales price moved higher with help from homes that sold for $4 million or more. Sales at $4 million plus increased 16% to 29 units. The median price for all luxury homes gained +2.9% to $1,337,500 for the quarter. The average time needed for a luxury home sold in the second quarter to go under contract rose to 163 days from 149 days last year.
The slower pace of sales was especially noticeable among properties selling in the $1 million to $2 million range. For the first half of the year, sales in that price range totalled 980 units, -18.2% fewer than in the first half of 2018.
The inventory of properties for sale at $1 million or more ended the second quarter at 2,987 units, -2.3% fewer than at the same time last year, with both the city, down -1.9%, and the suburbs, down -2.6%, seeing some reduction in what is an ample supply of luxury listings.
“We’re seeing much better balance in the city market for luxury single-family homes this year,” said Janice Corley, broker/owner of RE/MAX Premier. “The inventory at the end of June was equal to just about a six-month supply based on the pace of second quarter sales, and that makes for a healthier situation. In contrast, the July 1 inventory of attached homes, which are primarily condominium apartments, was more than three times the sales total in the second quarter, or roughly a nine-month supply of homes, making it more of a buyer friendly market.”
Corley also stressed that the summer months tend to be a slow period in the luxury market because many buyers and sellers leave the area for summer travel.
“We’re advising sellers that attracting buyers at this time will require aggressive pricing,” she explained. “Buyers are quite conservative when it comes to luxury real estate right now. They do not want to overpay. At the same time, there is no shortage of luxury buyers testing the market, so sales in the second half of this year could surprise on the upside.”
Chicago Luxury Attached Sales
The luxury attached home market in Chicago consists primarily of condominium apartments and townhouses in and close to the central business district, an area that has seen a high level of new construction in recent years. As a result, the inventory of luxury attached units has continued to rise even as the pace of sales has slowed. Inventory at the end of June was 663 units, 2.2% more than one year earlier. Sales for the quarter were down -8.8% to 196 units, while the median sales price advanced 9.1% to $1,410,700.
The top luxury attached sale for the second quarter was a 4,776-square-foot apartment plus three garage parking spaces at 9 W. Walton Pl., that sold for $6.46 million.
Luxury attached sales declined in the Loop and in the three community areas that surround it. The eight units sold in the Loop were just half the number recorded a year earlier. Sales in the Near North Side, which dominates the luxury attached market in the city, dropped -20% to 100 units, while sales in the Near South Side fell -26.7% to 11 units and were down -4.3% on the Near West Side to 22 units. Further north the picture was brighter. Sales activity for $1-million-plus attached homes was up 70.8% in Lincoln Park to 41 units and 14.3% in Lake View to 8 units.
The median sales price rose in all those areas, except for Lake View. The median luxury sale price was $1,310,000 in the Loop, up 13.9%; $1,587,500 for the Near North Side, up 4.8%; $1,175,000 for the Near South Side, up 0.1%; $1,287,500 in Lincoln Park, up 4% and $1,575,000 for the Near West Side, up 41.9%. In Lake View the median price fell -9.8% to $1,195,000.
Chicago Luxury Detached Sales
The luxury detached market in the city was dominated by four communities in the second quarter, each with 30 or more $1-milllion-plus home sales. Lincoln Park topped the list with 64 sales at a median price of $1,695,000, followed by North Center with 45 sales at a median of $1,450,000. Lake View recorded 32 sales at a median of $1,555,000 and West Town had 30 sales at a median of $1,200,000. Sales were up 16.4% in Lincoln Park and 15.4% in North Center, while West Town sales were unchanged, but sales fell -22% in Lake View.
Other communities with a significant number of luxury single-family-home sales during the quarter were Lincoln Square with 12, down -7.7% and Logan Square with 17, down -46.9%.
The highest priced single-family sale of the quarter was for a gut rehab of a three-flat built in 1907. The resulting home, with six bedrooms and 5 ½ baths at 1824 N. Cleveland Ave., sold for $3.86 million.
RE/MAX Premier is an independently owned and operated RE/MAX franchise with 75 affiliated brokers and offices at 1207 N. Dearborn Pkwy. and 6208 N. Broadway in Chicago. It is a leader in luxury real estate sales in many Chicago communities, including, the Near North Side, Near South Side, Lincoln Park and the Near West Side. RE/MAX Premier is part of RE/MAX, LLC, a subsidiary of RE/MAX Holdings (NYSE:RMAX), which has more than 125,000 agents in 110+ countries and territories. Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX, as measured by residential transaction sides.