Nationwide, sales of new homes were up slightly more than 7 percent through September.

Dennis Rodkin

Crain’s Chicago Business

October 30, 2019


Century 21 Pride Realty
This new house on Holland Harbor Drive in the Lighthouse Pointe development in Frankfort sold for $534,900 in August.

Sales of new-construction homes have been flat in much of 2019 compared to a year ago, according to a third-quarter report released today by a Schaumburg-based consultancy for homebuilders.

At the end of September, builders in the 10-county area were on pace to sell 4,021 new homes by the end of the year, roughly even with 2018’s sales total, 4,019, according to the report from Tracy Cross & Associates.

“The market continues to move along at the same modest pace,” said Erik Doersching, executive vice president of the firm. “No improvement, but no regression.”

Nationwide, sales of new homes were up slightly more than 7 percent this year through September, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.

The key difference between the Chicago market and the national picture, Doersching has explained in past data releases, is that the slowly rising prices of existing homes here make it hard for builders to provide a bargain alternative, their traditional sales advantage. At the same time, population loss in Illinois is slowly diminishing the demand for housing of all types, shrinking the call to build new.

Sales during the third quarter were down 4.9 percent from the same period a year ago. Builders sold 999 homes in the third quarter of 2019 and 1,050 a year earlier. Both were well above the dismal third-quarter 2017 sales total: 750.

Tracy Cross’s data captures only homes sold in developments of 10 or more and covers both detached houses and attached condominiums and townhouses. Homes built on individual lots, which is a common way to build in the city, do not get counted. Year-to-date, the city sales that Cross counts are up 6.7 percent, to a total of 272.

Suburban sales are down for the year by 1.5 percent, to 2,935 homes sold.


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