Jul 22, 2023 - Real Estate

Chicago flocks to condos as housing costs surge

Illustration of a row of condo buildings with one wall rising up into the sky and forming an upward pointing arrow

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Big condos are a hot commodity in Chicago's tight market.

What's happening: With fewer homes to choose from, units that offer the home office space people want are selling fast, local broker Mary Jo Nathan tells Axios.

  • It took about three months for a condo to sell in the cramped Near North Side, compared with roughly one month in Uptown and North Center, where there are fewer high-rises, per second-quarter sales data Nathan tracks.

The big picture: More buyers have turned to condos and townhouses as home prices surge, Realtor.com analyst Hannah Jones tells Axios.

  • Across the U.S., that segment's prices are now climbing at a faster clip than single-family homes, the real estate company's data shows.

Between the lines: Condos' growing appeal comes as younger buyers look for more affordable homes, and empty-nesters want to downsize to a maintenance-free lifestyle.

  • The median sales price for a metro-area condo was about $92,600 less than a single-family home here in May, according to Zillow.
  • Yes, but: Homeowners association fees, which vary building to building, factor into the cost of owning a condo.
  • Also, condos sell at a premium in the city, where a typical unit sold in May for $53,900 more than a single-family house, per Illinois Realtors.

State of play: Chicagoland condo inventory is down 90% from pre-pandemic levels, according to Zillow. There were only 1,193 active condo listings across the entire metro in June, the data shows.

Year-over-year change in median sales price of homes in Chicago
Data: Zillow; Chart: Alice Feng/Axios

What they're saying: After months of searching, Naperville's Maura Connor and her husband purchased an East Lakeview condo in late May. The two-level unit has a private rooftop, home office and an extra bedroom for when their daughter visits.

  • And, they'll never have to clean the gutters again, she tells Axios. "It's been fun giving away our lawn tools."

Go deeper: The post-pandemic housing shortage is keeping prices high across the country, and the Chicago metro is way below the U.S. average for new homebuilding.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more