Tracy Cross & Associates, Inc.
4th Quarter 2021

Builders sold a total of 5,477 new homes in the Chicago metropolitan region in 2021, topping the 5,000-unit mark for the first time since 2008 when 6,361 net contracts were written.  Sales activity in 2021 reflected a 10 percent increase compared to the 4,993 homes sold in 2020, and roughly 40 percent above the 3,978 sales registered annually between 2015 and 2019. 

The year-over-year increase in total new homes sales can be attributed to a significant uptick in multi-family activity as 2,352 attached sector homes went under contract in 2021, a 30 percent jump from the 1,810 sales recorded in 2020. Single family transactions were flat with 3,125 dwellings sold in 2021 compared with 3,183 during the previous year.

This significant shift of buyers to attached housing reflects, in part, pricing pressure in the detached sector as single family retail home costs throughout the suburban area climbed from the mid-$350s one year ago to an average approaching $425,000. While the multi-family sector also saw significant price increases between 2020 and 2021, buyers were still able to find attached product in the $300s. As a result, income-qualifying consumers desirous of single family homes in the $300,000 price range a year ago turned to attached product lines.

The sharp increase in home sales regionwide caught most homebuilders by surprise, especially in late-2020 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The strong sales pace continued through 2021 with many communities selling out without replacement causing supply strains in an already undersupplied market.

Depleting inventory levels prompted a sense of urgency by area builders to bolster supply with 55 new communities introduced throughout suburban Chicago in 2021.  The 3,811 gross new units brought to market during the year stood a sharp 40 percent above the 2,640 new units added in 2020. As illustrated in the following table, of the 3,811 total new units, 1,722 or 45 percent, were launched during the 4th Quarter 2021, which is traditionally the slowest period of new home sales activity in the Chicago metropolitan region.

The region’s leading homebuilders accounted for the lion’s share of new project openings during the 4th quarter of 2021.  For example, D.R. Horton introduced four product lines at its new Stonewater development in Wonder Lake, while Pulte Homes launched single family and townhome collections at Naper Commons in Naperville; and both M/I Homes and Lennar debuted new home series at Willow Run in Plainfield and Fox Pointe in Elburn.

These four homebuilders continued to dominate the market with Lennar’s 1,072 transactions in 2021 capturing nearly 20 percent of all regional sales.  D.R. Horton and Pulte Homes followed with 725 and 722 total sales, respectively, with M/I Homes finishing the year with 668 contracts.

Wagner Farms by Pulte Homes in Naperville was the top selling community in 2021 with 150 total sales, followed by Lennar’s Raintree Village in Yorkville with 144 transactions.  Rounding out the top 5 were Talamore in Huntley with 114 units contracted, Stonegate in Manhattan with 100 sales, and Trails of Woods Creek in Algonquin (89 sales).  

The Southwestern Corridor accounted for nearly one-third of all single family home activity in the region in 2021 as lower price points throughout this suburban area resulted in 876 sales. The Southwestern DuPage/Aurora/Kendall County submarket, in turn, recorded 680 single family contracts, followed by the McHenry County submarket with 451 sales.

Multi-family activity in the form of townhomes, condominiums, duplexes and villas were led by the Southwestern DuPage County/Aurora/Kendall County submarket with 472 contracts, followed by the City of Chicago which posted an impressive volume of 465 sales, up 85 percent from the 253 units sold in the city during 2020.

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