Are new home sales really down 43% in Chicago?

From yesterday’s Crain’s Chicago Real Estate Daily:

Local new-home sales are surging in the suburbs but dropping off in the city, a tale of two markets as the homebuilding business rebounds from a six-year slump.

The nascent homebuilding recovery has been more sprawling than skyscraping in Chicago, with suburban new-home sales jumping nearly 22 percent at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate in the third quarter, while city sales fell nearly 43 percent, according to a report by Tracy Cross & Associates Inc. Area builders overall are on pace to sell 3,221 new homes this year, up 11.1 percent from the recorded total last year.

The Crain’s report leaves out one critical piece of information that makes the city numbers it reports meaningless as to the overall new home market: Tracy Cross & Associates only tracks multi-family city projects with 50 or more units.

We’ve reported on a number of smaller projects of 3, 6, 12 and more units that have sold rapidly, including several that have sold out pre-construction. We don’t track all new home sales in the city from year to year on a systematic basis, so we don’t really know whether sales are up or down. But then, neither do Crain’s or Tracy Cross.

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