‘Polar vortex’ can’t stop ‘Chiberia’ brokers from listing and selling homes

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Bad weather is sometimes trotted out as a convenient explanation for a drop in home sales, but there’s no denying that severe events like the deep freezes that have hit much of the nation this month can have a real effect.

While numbers for January won’t be out for a while, a look at data from one of the biggest multiple listing services in the country — Lisle, Ill.-based Midwest Real Estate Data, which serves nearly 40,000 members in the Chicago region — provides some insight into how things might shake out.

On Jan. 6 and 7 — when the first of two cold snaps to transform the Chicago region into “Chiberia” swept through the region — MRED reports that its members added 1,125 listings and closed 420 transactions.

That’s a 41 percent drop in new listings from the comparable two days in 2013 (1,922 listings were entered into the MRED system on Jan. 7 and 8, 2013), but a 9 percent jump in closings (up from 386 in 2013).

Broker Sherri Southall of Prestige Partners Realty in Calumet City told MRED that during the first “polar vortex” cold snap, clients who wanted to buy or list properties kept her phone ringing off the hook.

Driveways and sidewalks of every house she visited were knee-deep in snow, so she brought along her snow shovel. Southall took two listings, won a HUD bid and wrote three offers, MRED reports.

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Lee Garafolo-Malizia of McColly Real Estate in Schererville had just arrived home from Florida on Jan. 3, and the next day showed five unheated vacant homes, none of which had been plowed.

Everyone at MRED “marvels at how real estate transactions continue to be conducted, even under the worst weather conditions,” the MLS said in a statement. Source: globenewswire.com.

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