If you've been trying to buy a home in Chicago lately you know it's not easy. There's not a lot to choose from and as soon as something hits the market with a reasonable price it's gone. You're not imagining it and I'm not making this up. I have the data to prove it.
We just ran our bi-monthly inventory analysis on 2 - 3 bedroom condos, which I consider fairly representative of the middle market in Chicago, and once again we've hit another record low in inventory as you can see in the graph below.
Our data goes back to November 2006 and is measured on a months of supply basis. April's inventory was less than a 5 months supply, which is well below the previous April low of 8.6 months hit in early 2007. Even previously hard hit Chicago neighborhoods like the Near South Side and Uptown have shown dramatic reductions in available condo inventory.
In absolute terms here is what is going on. The supply of 2 -3 bedroom condos in Chicago is down a whopping 33% from last April! Meanwhile contract activity is up 66%, though about 20% of those contracts will never close. So, as you can see, supply is down and demand is up. What do you think this means for prices? Because of the typical lag, the Case Shiller numbers that reflect April contracts won't be out for another 4 or 5 months.
We maintain a collection of these and other statistics on our Chicago real estate market statistics page.