2015 was Bucktown, Wicker Park and the West Loop's year. Properties were going under contract in hours or just a few days, which felt really, really good for all involved. A fast market is a happy market, especially when the market's epicenters are in newer, up-and-coming-ish neighborhoods. Conversely, evergreen markets like Lincoln Park and Lakeview saw modest gains, even lagging a bit with market time.
From a buyer's perspective, looking on the west side was was the fastest route to frustrationville. When looking in Bucktown/Wicker Park and the West Loop, my buyers and I were made to feel like piranhas more than once. Inventory was scarce, and teeth were out. Looking on the east side was a bit cozier, with inventory at around four months--cut that in half for the west side (a balanced market is six months worth of inventory).
2015 MEDIAN SALES PRICE
The main thing to note here is that it's basically the same money to live in Bucktown/Wicker Park and Lincoln Park and the West Loop and Lakeview. To maintain this equilibrium, the two east side neighborhoods held flat, while the west side areas saw near record increases.
2015 MARKET TIME
A similar story here, with the east side neighborhoods seeing modest gains and the two west side areas selling in a matter of days. Keep in mind too, that these graphs aggregate all listings--even over-priced properties in poor condition. Those on the west side that were priced right and well-kept were new one day and under contract the next, leading to a strong seller's market for most of 2015. On the east side, things fluctuated a bit more, starting the year with a stronger seller's market and ending a bit slower.
The demand for property on the west side has yet to be met, so I believe prices will continue to rise through at least the beginning of 2016. Buyers who are looking for property in this area need to be ready for bidding wars and armed with pre-approval letters.
On the east side, things will remain relatively flat, as they have for the past few years. I do see the potential for some Lincoln Park/Lakeview residents relocating to North Center, where single family home values have increased 17% over the past five years.
I'm pumped about 2016, and you should be too. Whether it's an investment property you're looking for, something in one of the city's hottest neighborhoods, or to sell your home in record time for top dollar(!), Chicago's market is your oyster--and I'm your shucker! Ok, that metaphor got weird, but you get the picture. Let's do this thing!