Wednesday, December 27, 2006

All's Well That Ends

Being a Chicago 'Northsider', a full-time Realtor and a part-time Cubs fan, I know a little about simply putting one foot in front of the other just to make it to the finish line be it a snow blizzard, a lengthy negotiation or another 'lovably' losing season. And having just completed my final quarter accounting entries and noting that, once again, I finished the calendar year in a virtual photo finish between closed Buy side and closed List side transactions, I can only conclude that the North Side Chicago housing market remained fairly stable throughout 2006 (with an actual slight up-tick in property appreciation). And believe me when I say that I really do make an effort to be objective before I commit such statements to publication. Few things annoy me more than someone who purports to be 'fair and balanced' then subsequently proves otherwise. So allow me to share with you some specific numbers from my personal spreadsheet.

My average closed sale amount (combined Buy side and List side) was $511,000 this year, up from $507,000 in 2005. My number of MLS closed transactions (more than 25 but less than 1000!) was exactly the same and the mix between Condominiums, Single Family Houses, Multi-units, and Land was consistent with my past four years in the business. The one area where I did notice an obvious deviation was in Market Time. Market Time was definitely longer in the past 12 months by a little more than 30% over previous years. In addition, I also closed three more FSBO's than last year representing the Buy side on each transaction and negotiating an average of 6% off each asking price for my clients. (and I mean this in the nicest of ways...'you've gotta love those For Sale By Owners!')

On the List side I did find myself with some "carry over" inventory from the previous year and unless I receive a handful of contracts that intend to close in the next two days (ha, ha), I'll have some carry over into 2007 as well. But all things equal, buyer interest and showing activity remains high even if the actual contract is taking longer to materialize and thus, negotiate out. And to be fair, my Buyers and I have likewise been a little more exhaustive in our respective searches and a little less rushed to bring our initial offers to the table.

So as the sun slowly sets upon these remaining hours of 2006 I am glad to report all is alive and well in my little 50 block corner of the Chicago Real Estate world. I've been to a few holiday functions in town lately where I've heard more than one Realtor state otherwise. I generally just take it all in and add little, if anything, to such conversations. I believe what I believe and when it comes to my business this means trackable improvement over the previous year, be it tremendous or ever so little. And in the end I suppose, it simply goes back to something I learned in the first seminar I ever attended..."Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're probably right."

photo by usa.phillips

Geno Petro

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