Feb market update. Also, please do not vote in favor of the Bring Chicago Home tax.

bring chicago home tax

liberty

Your February market update by the numbers! Each month, I break down the top markets in downtown Chicago and the surrounding neighborhoods (plus Beverly/MOP because why not) into 4 separate quartiles. Each quartile represents 25% of the market ordered by price, and these quartiles change dramatically based on which area I am evaluating. 

If you don’t see your neighborhood on this list and want to learn more, give me a shout and I would be more than happy to put something together for you. 

Lincoln Park/ Old Town (60614): 

  • Condos: Seller’s market across the board for almost all price ranges. More of a buyer’s market for condos 1.5M and up. Overall, we are seeing supply grow slightly in most price points over 500k.
  • SFH: Still a seller’s market almost across the board. Seeing inventory grow in the middle quartiles (1.35M-3.4M). 

Lakeview  (60657)

  • Condos: Seller’s market across the board for all price ranges. Seeing some inventory but not nearly enough.
  • SFH: Seller’s market across the board. Seeing inventory grow in the upper quartiles over 1.775M.

West Loop (60607)

  • Condos: Sellers market in all quartiles besides the upper quartile 830k and up. More balanced/Buyer’s market as price point moves higher above 830k. Very sensitive buyer’s market over 1.5M.
  • SFH: Not enough data

West Town (60622)

  • Condos: Seller’s market for all price points. Even starting to see properties in the top quartile over 720k move more towards a seller’s market. WEST TOWN IS HOT!
  • SFH: Seller’s market for all price points. Inventory has almost doubled since Jan for under 850k… But still a seller’s market. Only area where we have seen inventory decline is the lower quartile between 850k and 1.05M. Over 1.05M, we are seeing inventory grow. 

Wicker/Buck/Logan (60647 and 60642)

  • Condo: Seller’s market across the board. Seeing good inventory growth for the upper quartiles above 750k.
  • SFH: Seller’s market across the board but starting to see inventory increase up to 1M, which I find odd since inventory is slightly declining over 1M.

South Loop (60605 and 60616)

  • Condos: This is now a seller’s market across the board. Hard to imagine considering this market has been terrible the past few years, but we are starting to turn a corner and should see price growth moving forward. 
  • SFH: Not enough data

Loop/LakeShore East

  • Condos: Lower quartiles 530k and under is a slight seller’s market. More of a balanced market 500k-800k. Buyer’s market in the upper quartiles 530k and up. We are seeing very good demand as it is slightly outstripping supply.
  • SFH: Not enough data. 

River North

  • Condos: Now a firm seller’s market under 500k. More balanced up to 1M, slightly favoring buyers. The higher the price point, the more favorable the market for buyers. 
  • SFH: Not enough data

Streeterville

  • Condos: Lower quartile 300k and under just shifted into a seller’s market for the first time since 2019. 300k-500k is more balanced. Hardcore buyer’s market for anything over 1.M. This is the most severe buyer’s market in Chicago hands down. 
  • SFH: Not enough data

Gold Coast

  • Condos: Officially a seller’s market in the lower quartiles under 500k. Slight edge to buyer’s upper middle quartile 500k-700k. Still a buyer’s market in the upper quartile 700k and up but improving. 
  • SFH: Relatively balanced up to 2M, but more of a buyer’s market closer to 2M. Heavy buyer’s market for middle upper quartile over 2M. Extreme buyer’s market in the upper quartile 3.4M and up. 

Beverly/Morgan Park

  • SFH: Seller’s market across the board. 

 

Overall, the market is busy. We just had a hotter than expected CPI print. Interest rates went up about 10 basis points, but we will see how the markets digest this information over the next few days. I personally think that CPI has bottomed out so long as we do not see a major credit event that trickles into the labor market. 

I want to reiterate that our market is outperforming almost all other markets in the country. We outperformed in 2023, and it looks like this will continue through 2024. Inventory is decreasing here in Chicago, which goes at odds with the vast majority of markets in the US. We are also seeing more positive rent growth, primarily due to the fact that we have so few rental units arriving in 2024. 

The office market continues to be brutal. We will see more fire sales and foreclosures through 2024. Whoever figures out office will ride off into the sunset. These prices are just hard to fathom. MF and Mixed-use is holding up better since we’ve seen solid rent growth, but there will still continue to be some distress as we see debt roll over. 

Our residential market is very solid. Yes, renting is cheaper than buying right now with where rates are. But I’d still rather buy in this market rather than rent. If rates do come down, demand will pick up which will lead to higher prices. Plus, you will get a massive tax break on the back end when you go file your taxes and receive an interest rate deduction.  If you are sitting on the sidelines waiting for the market to crash, I hate to break it to you but I just don’t see it happening outside of a severe job-loss recession or black swan event. 

Also, please do not vote in favor of the Bring Chicago Home tax later this month. This is a terrible idea, and it’s fiscally irresponsible on so many levels. Below is a breakdown of the proposal.

The proposal is to raise the transfer tax on properties that are 1M and above. This is a steep increase and will shock demand. This proposal is going to be on the ballot in 2024, and it will likely get pushed through given that the vast majority of the voting pool will technically get a slight tax break

  • Any sale up to $1,000,000 will be taxed at 0.6% (currently at .75%)
  • Any sale between $1,000,000 and $1,500,000 will be taxed at 2.0% on the amount over $1,000,000; and
  • For sales greater than $1,500,000 any amount over $1,500,000 will also be taxed at 3.0% for the amount above $1,500,000

Their proposal is to lower the transfer tax for sales under 1M (currently at .75%). Median price in Chicago is 370k, so the majority of Chicagoans will get a tax break. Buyers pay this out of pocket at closing, so this will absolutely have an impact on anything over 1M.

Where to begin… OK well for starters LA already did something similar. They pushed this through as a “mansion tax”, which made it easier for voters to get behind. LA expected to bring in 900 million in transfer tax revenue but only brought in 142 MILLION in 2023. The structure was not the same as what they propose in Chicago, but it’s a case study worth looking at. What happens with a 700M tax shortfall? The local government will find it somewhere else through taxation or debt to be repaid by future generations. 

I cannot stress enough how awful of an idea this is. The vast majority of transactions over 1M dollars are commercial transactions (MF, Office, Mixed-use, storage, industrial, etc.). This is not a “mansion tax”. In Chicago, the total amount of property tax collected each year corresponds to the assessed value of all property, commercial and residential. If commercial properties decline in assessed value, then they generate less property tax, and residential properties must make up the difference.

And commercial properties will absolutely decline in value if this gets pushed through. If you are going to make a buyer pay 3% on anything over 1.5M, you can bet that the value of commercial real estate will decline by 3% overnight. I can guarantee that if this gets pushed through, we will end up with a revenue shortfall that will burden EVERYONE. Commercial properties are in their biggest slump since the global financial crisis. Office buildings are selling at 25%-75% of their peak value. We are only going to see more distressed sales and foreclosures as debt continues to roll over. If anything, we will need subsidies in order to bring this market back, not additional taxes. Here are a few examples:

  • Last year, a West Loop office building sold at an 89% discount to its 2012 sales price.
  • A River North loft office building sold for 61% of its 2017 price.
  • The famous Stone Container building on Michigan Avenue sold for 40% of its 2017 price.
  • In 2022, the owner of Water Tower Place handed the keys back to their lender.

Look, at the end of the day we are all proponents of combating homelessness in Chicago. The main issue is that detailed plans for deploying these funds have yet to be developed, and this is not a serious solution worth actual consideration in my opinion. It will hurt everyone in the long run, while it is being paraded around as if it will solve our problems. Please at the very least do your own research on this topic if you are considering voting for this.


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