5 Reasons to Buy Now in Chicago's Fall Market

Fall is settling in over Chicagoland - which means it’s time to enjoy the leaves, this somewhat unusual football season, and just about time to start looking ahead to the frosty days of winter still to come. 

Before the season of holidays, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the crunch of leaves, the smell of warm apple cider - and to take advantage of some of the compelling market conditions that make autumn 2020 a great time to kick off your Chicagoland home search. 

Here in Chicago, there are plenty of reasons to act sooner rather than later when it comes to buying a home. So, if you’re toying with the idea of buying but sticking to a “wait and see” approach, or holding off to see if winter is better for the market, it may be time to act - before you lose out on some great opportunities. 

Here are five important factors to weigh this fall: 

1.) Mortgage Rates Are At All-Time Lows 

We thought mortgage rates couldn't get much lower than we saw in the back-half of 2019, with the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage regularly coming in in the mid-3s. We all know now, 2020 is its own animal, a year like no other. And at the intersection of world events, Federal Reserve policy, and the bond market, we are currently at all-time low mortgage rates. According to Freddie Mac, home mortgage rates on a 30-year loan are below 3%! That's incredible. 

Lower rates often translate to a more robust housing market. Indeed, despite this odd reality we're living in right now, we saw record market activity in June, July, and August in many of our Chicago neighborhoods. For buyers, locking in a lower rate means securing a lower monthly payment in the long-term, and gaining more significant purchasing power in the short-term. On the flip side? If you wait to buy, you wait for an uncertain economy - and if rates rise in the winter, you could well miss your chance to lock in lower payments for life. 

2.) In Fall and Winter, Seller Supply May Outpace Demand

Historically speaking, the fall and winter months in the Chicago market tend to favor the buyer. It all comes down to the principle of supply and demand. Often, around Chicago, there are fewer buyers on the market after the red hot days of spring and summer - but, frequently, just as many listings available. As a result, buyers face less competition from others in the market, and may well have more power to negotiate with sellers, particularly if a seller is eager to offload their home before the deep freeze really settles in. 

In short? For buyers, navigating the market in the back-half of the year often means more room to breathe, more negotiating power, and more motivated sellers. If you leverage your opportunities correctly, that could be a recipe for success. 

3.) It’s Time to Start Making Monthly Payments That Build Your Wealth

It’s an old adage in real estate for a reason: Every month, you’re going to end up making on a payment for housing. When you own a home, though, you’re paying down your mortgage loans and building equity in your property. When you rent, you’re helping your landlord pay down their mortgage and build their wealth. 

The sooner you start making payments that benefit your long-term prospects, the better. As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University once succinctly explained: 

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

Bottom line? In many cases, owning a home makes more financial sense than renting - especially here in the Chicago market. Homeownership empowers you to build equity, which can produce a source of income that can be drawn on later in life. Why not get started as soon as possible? 

4.) Home Values Continue to Appreciate 

In many ways, the housing market here in Chicago - and across much of the rest of the country - is returning to a more balanced state, with benefits for both buyers and sellers. At the same time, trends indicate that home prices are continuing to appreciate. For instance, data from Chicago Magazine suggests that the median sales price in Cook County, Iliniois saw a nearly 4 percent gain from May 2018 to May 2019. If you look at neighborhood stats around Chicago - available here on our site - you’ll see similar trends in many local markets. 

So, what does this mean for buyers? There’s no time like the present to act! If you get your home search started in the fall, you may be able to purchase your dream home before its price tag goes up in the months ahead. And this way? If home prices do continue to appreciate long-term, you’ll be the one who gets to enjoy the benefits of that future growth when it’s time to sell. 

5.) It's Time for Something New

How do you know when the time is right to move onto bigger and better things? Ultimately, it’s all going to come down to your unique wants and needs. Want more space to raise children? Looking to live closer to parks or greenspaces - or perhaps closer to work?  Now may be the time to act - and turn your wishlist into a reality. 

Let’s Get Started

If you have questions about your unique real estate goals, we'd love to hear from you! Don't hesitate to send us an email or give us a call. We're always here and happy to help our clients navigate the ever-changing Chicago market with confidence and peace of mind. 

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