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Webster Square a Good Test for Chicago’s Condo Market

Webster Square a Good Test for Chicago’s Condo Market

Webster Square a Good Test for Chicago’s Condo Market

Looking for more evidence that Chicago’s housing market is firmly in rebound mode? Webster Square in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood provides it.

According to a recent story by Chicago Magazine, construction work has started on a 100-unit condominium project at this site, which was once home to the long-vacated Lincoln Park Hospital campus at Webster and Lincoln avenues.

And this follows the opening of 75 apartments in the hospital campus’ seven-story administration building in early June of this year. The condos will occupy a neighboring 12-story hospital building, according to the Chicago Magazine story.

This is good news for the surrounding neighborhood. Lincoln Park hospital abandoned the site in 2008. This left behind 3 acres of empty spaces spread out over six vacated buildings. In all, the hospital left behind 600,000sqft.

No one wants to live next to such a large empty space. It’s a blight. But the new residential activity taking place here is a decided improvement.

So far, renters have flocked to the former hospital campus. The Chicago Magazine story says that the luxury apartments here are now 90% occupied. The apartment building features some nice amenities, including a top-floor gym, party room and green rooftop deck. The second floor of the project features business rooms.

The condo portion of the project stands to be even more interesting as it will serve as a good test of the strength of Chicago’s recovering condo market. As the story says, the only larger condo project that has broken ground since the Great Recession is the 1345 South Wabash condo development.

Will the new condos at Webster Square fill up? Is there enough demand for new condos to justify the addition of 100 new units to Chicago’s North Side? These questions will be answered soon enough. But now this: The cost of renting an apartment in Chicago neighborhoods such as Lincoln Park continues to rise. This should make condo living even more attractive to those who want to live in the city’s most-desirable neighborhoods.

The MG Group is an award winning residential real estate group ranked #1 IN ILLINOIS & TOP 40 IN THE NATION since 2011 by The Wall Street Journal & in Real Trends’ THE THOUSAND TOP REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS. The MG Group is also recognized as a LUXEHOME 25 by Top 25 Luxury Broker in Chicago and FIVE-STAR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL by Chicago Magazine.  SHARE THIS POST & FOLLOW US NOW ON:

 

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Foreclosures & Short Sales Starting to Fall in Chicago Market

Foreclosures & Short Sales Starting to Fall in Chicago Market

Foreclosures & Short Sales Starting to Fall in Chicago Market

Here’s good news for Chicago homeowners: The number of homes in the Chicago market sold through foreclosures or short sales continues to fall, according to the latest figures from Midwest Real Estate Data.

According to a story by Crain’s Chicago Business, through August, 19,851 home sales in the Chicago area this year have been classified as distressed — meaning that they involved the foreclosure or short sale process. That is down a solid 25% from the 26,575 distressed home sales that the Chicago market saw through August of last year.

Homeowners should be happy about this news. Foreclosures and short sales bring down the values of surrounding homes. Look at it this way: If buyers could purchase a foreclosure property in your neighborhood for $200,000, would they spend $300,000 to buy your home three doors down if both properties were of comparable quality? Probably not. You’d have to lower your asking price to compete with the foreclosed property.

The Chicago market has been clogged with far too many foreclosure and short-sale properties since the end of the Great Recession. And these distressed properties have acted as an anchor on the market’s housing recovery. Yes, median housing prices in the Chicago area have risen steadily since the end of the housing crisis. But prices would be even higher if it wasn’t for the millions of distressed homes that still need to move through the system.

As the Crain’s story says, distressed properties place a downward pressure on home values. In 2013, the number of distressed home sales in the Chicago area reached its height, with Midwest Real Estate Data reporting 38,399 such home sales.

Some distressed properties also take much longer to sell. According to the Crain’s story, the average short-sale home that sold in August took 193 days to sell. That is far longer than the average 73 days on the market that non-distressed homes spent before selling this August.

The Chicago market still has a long way to go before distressed properties are no longer a problem. The Crain’s story said that distressed sales still made up 28% of all Chicago-area home sales this year through August. But at least homeowners can take comfort that foreclosure and short-sale properties are finally starting to taper off.

 

The MG Group is an award winning residential real estate group ranked #1 IN ILLINOIS & TOP 40 IN THE NATION since 2011 by The Wall Street Journal & in Real Trends’ THE THOUSAND TOP REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS. The MG Group is also recognized as a LUXEHOME 25 by Top 25 Luxury Broker in Chicago and FIVE-STAR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL by Chicago Magazine.  SHARE THIS POST & FOLLOW US NOW ON:

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American Housing Survey Tells Us a Lot About How We Live

American Housing Survey Tells Us a Lot About How We Live

American Housing Survey Tells Us a Lot About How We Live

Do you know how many housing units across the country are occupied by owners and how many by renters?

You will, once you read the latest American Housing Survey released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The department’s latest survey covers the year 2013. And it’s filled with fascinating bits of information.

There’s the renter-vs.-owner question, of course. According to the survey, in 2011 — the most recent year for which numbers were available – 65% of the country’s housing units were occupied by owners and 35% by renters.

Overall, in 2013 there were nearly 133 million total housing units in the United States, according to the survey. Of this figure, 87% were occupied. As of 2013, the median size of all single-family detached housing units was 1,800sqft. This means that half of all homes in the county in 2013 were more than 1,800 sqft and half were less.

The survey, though, doesn’t just look at the characteristics of homes. It also looks at the way people live. For instance, the survey found that 82.4% of households reported talking to their neighbors in the previous month, while 50.7% strongly agreed that they got along with their neighbors. The survey found that 49.7% of households were very willing to help their neighbors.

The survey also studied people’s reliance on public transportation, finding that 17.4% — or 20 million households — used some form of public transportation, usually local buses, and that 40.2% of households reported biking or walking to entertainment venues, grocery stores, shopping centers or work.

And if you want to get really in-depth? The survey found that 10.3% of all households reported seeing signs of cockroaches in the prior 12 months and 9.1% of households reported evidence of mice during that time.

The MG Group is an award winning residential real estate group ranked #1 IN ILLINOIS & TOP 40 IN THE NATION since 2011 by The Wall Street Journal & in Real Trends’ THE THOUSAND TOP REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS. The MG Group is also recognized as a LUXEHOME 25 by Top 25 Luxury Broker in Chicago and FIVE-STAR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL by Chicago Magazine.  SHARE THIS POST & FOLLOW US NOW ON:

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Who Owns the Chicago Market?

Who Owns the Chicago Market?

Who Owns the Chicago Market?

Does Chicago’s housing market favor buyers or sellers? According to a recent story by Chicago Magazine, it tilts more toward buyers.

This doesn’t mean, though, that sellers will struggle in Chicago. The Chicago Magazine story also said that the Chicago metropolitan area is still enjoying an annual median home price appreciation of 6.9% – higher than the 6.6% across the nation.

The magazine cited a recent study by Zillow to determine the city’s five best seller’s markets and five best buyers’ markets. It’s important to note, though, that these rankings don’t take into account home values. Instead they look at the amount of home-sale activity in a community.

With that being said, Zillow ranks the top five seller’s markets in the city as the Near West Side, Logan Square, River North, East Village and West Lawn. The reasons these neighborhoods count as seller’s markets? Chicago Magazine says that demand in these areas is far outpacing the supply of homes for sale. That equals quicker home sales.

Zillow ranks the top buyer’s markets, too. Topping that list is the Beverly neighborhood on the city’s South Side, followed by Garfield Ridge, the Gold Coast, Streeterville and East Lakeview.

The reason these neighborhoods are considered buyer’s markets? First, it takes a longer time to sell homes here, 4 to 5 months on average. At the same time, sellers have reduced their asking prices on nearly 50% of the homes listed in these neighborhood.

Of course, if you’re a seller, the secret to successfully moving a home — whether you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market — remains pricing your home properly. If you ask more for your home than what the market allows, you’ll struggle not only to sell your property, but even to get most buyers to look at your home.

The message, then, is simple: Work with a REALTOR® to price your home properly. Then you’ll boost your odds of selling in any Chicago neighborhood in any market.

The MG Group is an award winning residential real estate group ranked #1 IN ILLINOIS & TOP 40 IN THE NATION since 2011 by The Wall Street Journal & in Real Trends’ THE THOUSAND TOP REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS. The MG Group is also recognized as a LUXEHOME 25 by Top 25 Luxury Broker in Chicago and FIVE-STAR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL by Chicago Magazine.  SHARE THIS POST & FOLLOW US NOW ON:

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Clear Off Your Kitchen Counters, Now!

Clear Off Your Kitchen Counters, Now!

Clear Off Your Kitchen Counters, Now!

There are certain rooms that immediately attract the attention of potential buyers. One of these? The kitchen. Buyers today want modern kitchens, and homes that boast them have higher odds of selling quickly and for higher prices.

But what if you can’t afford to gut-renovate your home’s kitchen? What if your kitchen isn’t modern and dotted with gleaming stainless-steel appliances?

Your job then is to make your existing kitchen look as appealing, and spacious, as possible.

Though this story from Realty Times is almost a year old it does provide an important and often overlooked tip for home sellers: Keep your kitchen counters clutter-free.

This matters more than you might think. A kitchen with clean, nearly empty counters, simply looks bigger than one with counters cluttered with toasters, blenders, food processors and water bottles. Clutter-free counters also make a kitchen look clean and homey.

Of course, keeping counters free of clutter today might be more challenging than ever. That’s because retailers have convinced so many of us to spend thousands of dollars on high-end kitchen gadgets, everything from expensive espresso machines to tank-like bread makers. Many homeowners simply don’t have anywhere to store all their kitchen gadgets.

The solution? Remove these gadgets from the kitchen and place them in storage until you sell your home. Those empty counters will make a more positive impression on would-be buyers than you can imagine.

It’s important, too, to keep your kitchen as clean as possible whenever you have a showing scheduled. This means no dirty dishes in the sink. It also means drying those clean dishes and putting them in your cabinets. You don’t want a strainer full of drying dishes to make your counter space look more limited than it is.

The MG Group is an award winning residential real estate group ranked #1 IN ILLINOIS & TOP 40 IN THE NATION since 2011 by The Wall Street Journal & in Real Trends’ THE THOUSAND TOP REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS. The MG Group is also recognized as a LUXEHOME 25 by Top 25 Luxury Broker in Chicago and FIVE-STAR REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL by Chicago Magazine.  SHARE THIS POST & FOLLOW US NOW ON:

 

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