After five months of 2012, just how brisk is the sales activity on the North Shore? To some at times it did feel like buyers were really coming back. However a little perspective shows us the bottom line is that closing activity (single family detached, non-distressed) is about the same as it has been in recent years.
In Lake Forest, 77 buyers closed in the five months January 2012 thru May 2012. That represents more closings than in any of the first five months in the previous five years! But looking a little deeper you have to take note that fully 15 of the YTD 2012 closings involved foreclosures or short sales.
Across the five North Shore communities I'll cover, there were zero distressed sales in 2007. So non-distressed sales activity, where most buyers and sellers focus on, remains at bay. For the first five months of 2007 to 2012, the number of non-distressed Lake Forest closings were 75, 64, 45, 60, 59, and 62 respectively. 2007 was "the last of the good old days" and 2009 was "the activity bottom". The conclusion is that 2012 was the same as 2011 and 2010.
Same story in Winnetka, with 56 YTD non-distressed closings in 2012 compared to 57 in 2011 and 59 in 2010. All while the numbers are a bit choppier, I'd still conclude that activity is pretty much at the familiar pace in Highland Park, (89 YTD 2012 after 80 in 2011 and 98 in 2010) and in Glencoe (39 YTD 2012 after 51 2011 and 32 2010) and in Lake Bluff (19 YTD 2012 after 24 2011 and 22 2010). OK maybe there is a little slowing in Lake Bluff but the sample size contains a small number of transactions.
So don't be mistaken that either "closings are picking up" or "nothing is selling" because closing activity is largely at bay thru May.
Inventory as of June 1, 2012 shows we are still firmly in a buyer's market. Here are the current months of inventory (single family detached) for five North Shore communities:
Lake Forest 19.6 months
Winnetka 15.1 months
Highland Park 15.2 months
Glencoe 13.9 months
Lake Bluff 24.0 months
Entire MRED MLS 12.1 months
You can see that the North Shore has a very high level of inventory, period. This also represents a relatively higher level of inventory than surrounding communities (as depicted by the Entire MRED MLS).
With inventory levels like these, North Shore home buyers will continue to have the upper hand. Price and condition are the harsh determinants as to which homes buyers will recognize as "in the market" and worthy of their consideration.
It’s a buyer’s market, partner with a buyer’s brokerage, Exclusive Buyer Brokers LLC.