Looking Back: How did 2020 Fare for Real Estate?

New Year’s Retrospective Cheers Chicago Real Estate Watchers

Gather ‘round, people: it’s The Year in Review time again—the week when columnists and TV talking heads line up to chatter and lament over the year’s record-shattering advances and failures. From Washington to Hollywood, Wall Street to Silicon Valley, 2020 provided as rich a trove of talking points as any year in memory.

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Closer to home, for Chicago homeowners and investors, the year in real estate was no exception. When news of COVID-19 first broke, it looked as if the pandemic’s spread might claim Chicago real estate as an early casualty. Yet, despite the persistence of distressing developments in a host of other areas, local real estate watchers watched a much different picture being painted across the nation.

Here’s a selection of a half dozen highlights from The Year that Was in U.S. real estate:

  • The complete numbers aren’t in yet, but as of October, existing-home sales grew by a “spectacular 26.6% compared with last year” (according to reuters.com).
  • 2020 ends the year on track to register 102 straight months of year-over-year median home price increases.
  • For house flippers, the median gross profit per flip increased to its highest in two decades—$73,766—according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
  • The year ends with pending home sales up 20%, buyer traffic up 32%, and mortgage applications up 27% over 2019—signals that, according to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, “…this winter may be the best ever for the housing market.”
  • By October, median existing-home prices had risen 15.5% compared with a year ago.
  • In a reversal of past age groups’ preferences, 55% of millennials (they outnumber all other generations) are not only stock market skeptics but “are now interested in investing in real estate,” according to realwealthnetwork.com.

For Chicago real estate watchers, those are results that justify putting a bottle of the bubbly in the fridge to chill for seeing in the New Year. And for all our Chicago neighbors, here’s hoping 2021 can hold a candle to this year, real estate-wise—and that it’s a whole lot better where everything else is concerned!

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