Have free rent offers slowed the for sale market?

More than a dozen real estate brokers have told me that the for-sale market slowed perceptibly and dramatically beginning several months ago. None of them ventured much of an explanation for what they were seeing and none of them, when queried, had any familiarity at all with what was happening in the high-rise rental market in downtown Chicago.

What was happening was that a number of new, high-quality, full-amenity high-rises began offering two or three months free rent with flexible move-in dates, and some were paying rental services a 25- to 50% premium on the normal commission rates.

The combination of buyers’ normal hesitancy to commit to a purchase, steep rent discounts, attractive properties and strong broker incentives strikes me as reason enough for a slowdown in the for-sale market.

Can anyone offer a better explanation – or hard data to dispute the notion that a slowdown in fact occurred?

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