Sue Fox, @Properties. Direct 773.816.1788

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Forecast: weak growth ahead

filed under: Downtown, Market conditions posted on August 20th, 2009

Last week, policy makers at the Federal Reserve suggested that the recession appears to be ending. Consumer spending — which accounts for almost 70% of economic activity — seems to be stabilizing. Other hopeful signs in recent weeks include data showing the country’s three-year housing slump is slowing, and news that unemployment leveled off in July after climbing precipitously in the months before.

In Chicago, we are seeing more evidence that the housing market, while not exactly bouncing back to previous heights, at least does not seem to be sinking further. According to a new report, sales of new homes downtown jumped sharply in the second quarter, from 55 to 313 homes. The quarterly tally is still down 35% compared to a year ago, according to the Downtown Chicago Residential Benchmark Report issued by Appraisal Research Counselors, a real estate consulting group. But at least things are heading in the right direction.

Developers across the city continue to announce dramatic price cuts, sometimes up to 20 or 25%, in order to move their inventory, particularly in large buildings where dozens of units remain unsold. The discounting appears to be working: “The developments exhibiting the strongest sales were the developers which were offering the largest price discounts,” the benchmark report said.

Written by Sue Fox //

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