The current mayor seems to think that because Forest Park home values on ‘average’ have increased 15% since 2013, increased home values in Forest Park is something that we as citizens and homeowners can either get excited about or should give credit to the mayor for during his stewardship. 

Here is the mayor’s line on his most recent flyer: “Our home values have seen an amazing increase in value, averaging over 15% since 2013.” 

Unfortunately the broader and deeper facts of home values in Forest Park, compared to Cook County averages and our most similar surrounding communities over the past three years is rather unsettling and should reflect a much deeper concern for homeowners. 

The 15.4% “average” increase is not an average. It is, in fact, a median, which is simply the midpoint between a high and low. The more accurate and more statistically significant number is what is often meant as the average and that is the mean. The true average or mean sales price improvement in Forest Park over the past three years is 9.1%. 

Other similar surrounding communities — North Riverside 12.5%, Brookfield 10.5%, Maywood 26.6%, Bellwood 50%, Broadview 32.5%, Berwyn 26.7%, for instance — three-year sales price improvements are all higher. The only lower three-year average sales price improvement is Oak Park 7.5%. 

More specific to us in Forest Park, our home values on average against Cook County home values have begun falling whereas others continue to grow. The average home sale value in Forest Park in 2013 was $135K. In Cook County as a whole, it was $234K. This means that in 2013, Forest Park homes on average were worth 58% of what Cook County homes on average sold for. In 2014 the average home sale value in Forest Park was $162K while in Cook County it was $259K, or 62%. By January of 2015, the average home sale value in Forest Park rose to $167K, but in Cook County, average home sale values climbed even higher to $281K. 

Third, by direct comparison to our more similar socioeconomic neighboring communities — Broadview, Berwyn, Maywood, North Riverside, Brookfield, and Bellwood — home values are on an upward trend, on average gaining slightly over 3% in home sale value against Cook County home sale value averages while Forest Park’s home sale value is dropping nearly 3%. 

Fourth, from a more inside view of marketing and sales, real estate brokers helping homeowners who need or want to sell their homes pay special attention to the combination of average market time (the number of days a home is listed on the market till it is sold) and the percent of original list price that the home sells for. The less the number of days on market and the closer to 100% of the original list price a purchase is made at is a good indicator of desirability. 

Once again, the numbers are not reassuring. It takes less time for a home to be sold in Bellwood, Berwyn, Brookfield and even Oak Park than it does in Forest Park. And even though homes in Forest Park are finally selling at a more average pace, Forest Park nets the lowest percentage of their original list price, just 91.3% on average. 

As homeowners in this community we take great pride and joy in our homes and should therefore take quite seriously the direction in which the values of our homes are headed. 

All data was derived from Midwest Real Estate Data LLC, the MLS database used by licensed real estate brokers and licensed real estate professionals throughout Chicagoland. The data has been compiled into Excel spreadsheets and is available to anyone upon request. 

Stephen Chertok

Forest Park Realtor

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