It's a similar story in Lincoln Park, where single-family home prices slipped only 2.2 percent last year, far less than in the rest of Chicago. But inventory has since tripled. Wagner Appraisal Group figures there's a 16-month supply. A year ago "I was almost cocky about our position compared to the rest of the market," says Jennifer Ames. No longer. After 11 months of lowering the $2.1 million asking price on her 3,400-square-foot house, Ames sold it in June for $1.6 million.
Given the glut of unsold homes, Lincoln Park's prices may well slide at least 15 percent this year -- as Chicago's did in 2008. If you look at Fiserv data going back many years, you find values in Lincoln Park track the rest of Chicago pretty closely with a one-year lag.
In Santa Monica's coveted "north of Montana" area overlooking the Pacific, listings are up 60% since last year and the number of days on the market for those listings has doubled to 140. Homes once sold in as little as a week here. Closer to Main Street, Bill H. Meyers has struggled for more than a year to sell his condo.
In April 2008 L.A. was hurting, but Santa Monica values hovered around their peaks. So Meyers tried to unload his property for $850,000, roughly in line with what another unit in his building sold for. He turned down bids near $800,000 after he found a renter at $3,500 a month.
Now that his tenant is gone, Meyers hasn't found a replacement at that price, and getting another $800,000 bid is impossible. The data still say Santa Monica is stronger than other nearby markets. It's just 14 percent off peak prices, versus Los Angeles, down 38%. But the beach city's inventory of unsold homes has just crossed the 15-month level, as high as Los Angeles' were last year. By that grim logic, Santa Monica's values are likely to tumble as far as those in Los Angeles did last year, 27 percent.
Like Meyers, anyone who can afford to will hang on as long as possible, banking on the faith, he says, that "the market is going to come back." Meantime, excess supply is piling up.