Insight Into the New Chicago Homebuyer
Earlier this year, Eco Achievers ventured out to the IL Better Buildings Better Business conference to hear about competitive intelligence in the real estate market that will help position builders for success. At the conference, Kate Knight, of RedFin Builder Services, shared insight with attendees about the current Chicago market and what the average homebuyer is looking for in a home. Below are some of the main highlights from her presentation:
- Chicago buyers want to find a balance between convenience and affordability in a vibrant, walkable community, rather than settle for granite countertops and square footage.
- A recent poll of RedFin customers regarding the most important features in buying a home revealed that:
- 35% of Chicago buyers listed convenience as most important in their buying decision, mentioning access to their jobs and amenities as other key factors.
- Millennials are a big market right now, as many are moving into the city for their jobs. This generation of buyers isn’t looking for added square footage to a home; they want walkable, accessible communities.
- Only 5% of those surveyed said new construction was the most important; and only 11% said they needed more square feet.
- 32% of buyers said that affordability is the biggest obstacle in purchasing a home in Chicago.
(Left to right) Bikers enjoy the Lake Shore Trail heading south toward the city of Chicago. Young kids cross the street with their teachers during the school day in Chicago. Fullerton CTA stop in Chicago
What areas are “hot” in Chicago, where buyers can find the balance between convenience and affordability? A “hot market” includes year over year increases in number of page views, favorited searches, and incidence of homes that sell within 15 days. Additionally, Redfin also looks at the Walk Score* and the median home price of each neighborhood.
For 2015, the top and hottest neighborhoods in Chicago are:
- Andersonville: $308k, Walkscore 93
- Garfield Ridge: $173k, Walkscore 59
- Brighton Park: $115k, Walkscore 70
- Lakeshore: $498k, walkscore 74
- Ishnala (Palos Heights) $238k, walkscore 31
* A Walk Score of 50 is the threshold for being a car dependent community.
Here are additional features that people are searching for in home listings. (These features are are not found in every home, but those with them are seeing the greatest rate of change - often viewed and favorited more online, and selling quicker than others on the market.)
- Quartz countertops (no longer granite!)
- “Smart home” (i.e. a more connected home with automation systems and integrated technologies)
- Fire pit, especially gas
- Outdoor kitchen
- Stainless steel appliances
- Tasting room
- Freestanding tubs
(Left) Locals in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood enjoy the free concert series as a part of the "Taste of Lakeview" summer festival. (Right) Winter sidewalks in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood.
Convenience and affordability are often two important factors that go into green building in Chicago. Throughout the Chicago market, the popularity of green features like convenient location, recycled quartz counters, outdoor living, and affordability demonstrate that northern Illinois buyers are looking for green features in their next home. Eco Achievers clients pursuing green certifications already have a leg up on this trend.
So tell us, are your projects in a hot market? How accessible and convenient are they? Are any of these trending features listed above present in your home? How could you improve your marketability?