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Chicago, Cleveland Exceptions in Housing Market

Published: Monday, April 28, 2014 12:00 p.m. CDT

By S.E. Slack

Housing markets continue to improve across the nation but location dictates whether the buyer or seller has the upper hand. Real estate firm Zillow states that buyers’ markets tend to be located on the West Coast, with sellers more in control in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

The Zillow Buyer Seller Index shows that buyer’s markets are associated with larger values while sellers’ markets tend to maintain lower values. Homes in buyers’ markets stay on the market longer, with frequent price cuts by sellers used to attract would-be homeowners. Homes tend to sell for less than the list price.

In a seller’s market, the opposite is true: Home sellers can remain firm in a list price and confident that someone will buy their house. These markets often generate multiple offers and homes can sell for more than the seller is asking. Chicago is one of the exceptions to the rule that sellers control the housing market in the Midwest. It’s rated the fourth highest of the top 10 buyers’ markets, according to Zillow. Homes here tend to average about 114 days on the market; about 34 percent of sellers drop list prices about four percent to get the deal done.

Another exception in the Midwest is Cleveland. That city tops the firm’s buyers’ market list. Homes stay on the market roughly 106 days, with 35 percent of sellers cutting list prices at some point. Homes sell for about 95 percent of list price.

The median home value in Cleveland is $51,700. Cleveland home values have declined -3.5 percent over the past year and Zillow predicts they will fall -0.3 percent within the next year. The median price of homes currently listed in Cleveland is $55,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $54,375.

Comparatively, the median home value in Chicago is $187,200 and home values have gone up 14.7 percent over the past year. Zillow predicts they will rise 4.5 percent within the next year. The median price of homes currently listed in Chicago is $232,900 while the median price of homes that sold is $242,025.

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