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Archive for the 'Chicago Neighborhoods' Category

“Most Outlandish Mansion” in Lincoln Park

"Outlandish" Lincoln Park Mansion

“Outlandish” Lincoln Park Mansion. Photo via GoogleMaps

Have about $2 million to spare? Then you can buy what Chicago Magazine calls the “most outlandish mansion” in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

The mansion, a 7,500-square-foot postmodern home on the 1900 block of North Mohawk in Lincoln Park, boasts a stunning 83 windows. It also has five cascading roof decks, an elevator that serves four of the home’s levels and a seemingly unending series of curves and unusually shaped rooms. The Chicago Magazine story says that the home is reminiscent of a high-end ocean liner because of its bow-like facade.

What is most intriguing to me, though, is the home’s asking price of $1.95 million.

$1.95 million is a lot of money. But it’s not a sky-high price. And it’s more evidence that the owners of high-end real estate — generally those homes priced at $1 million or more — are today more realistic about what their homes are really worth. Those who are serious about selling their estates are placing more realistic price tags on their high-end homes.

The Chicago Magazine story points out that the sellers of this home understand that the number of buyers willing to spend big on such an unusual home is limited. The story quotes a REALTOR® as saying that it’s rare to get a home of more than 7,000 square feet in the east portion of Lincoln Park for such a “low” price.

This is a good lesson for the sellers of all homes, even those priced at more modest levels. Buyers today are shrewd. They won’t pay more for a home than what the market says it is worth. So even if you paid $300,000 for your Lincoln Square condo in 2004, buyers might not pay more than $250,000 for it today. The housing market in Chicago has changed.

If you want to succeed in today’s housing market, take a lesson from the owners of multi-million-dollar homes: Don’t price your residence too high for today’s buyers.

Spoken by Mario Greco | Discussion: 1 Comment »

Crain’s Conclusion: Plenty of Positives in Today’s Chicago Housing Market

Crain’s Conclusion: Plenty of Positives in Today’s Chicago Housing Market

Crain’s Conclusion: Plenty of Positives in Today’s Chicago Housing Market

Crain’s Chicago Business recently attempted to sum up the current state of the Chicago housing market. Crain’s conclusion? It found four signs that the Chicago housing market was in solid shape and a potential red flag that future problems might await.

First, the good news. Crain’s reported that in June non-distressed homes — homes that were not sold through the foreclosure or short sale processes — accounted for nearly 78% of all the home sales in the Chicago region. This is the highest that this figure has been for at least 3.5 years, according to the Crain’s story.

Don’t believe that the region is free of its foreclosure problems. As the Crain’s story says, Illinois is still struggling with the 3rd highest foreclosure rate in the country. But the high percentage of non-distressed home sales in June is certainly a good sign.

Crain’s also reported that Chicago-area homes are taking less time to sell. In June, homes in the area sold in an average of 71 days, according to Crain’s, about 25 days faster than during the same month one year earlier. And back in 2011, it took Chicago-area residents an average of 180 days to sell their properties.

In more positive news, the rate at which local home prices are appreciating is slowing. That might sound like bad news. But as Crain’s explains, no one wants to see housing prices rise too high too quickly. That happened before, and it led to the housing crash that started in late 2006 and early 2007.

Finally, the number of home sales in the Chicago area is on the rise again, Crain’s said. In June, the nine-county Chicago area saw 8,801 home sales. That was up 10% from the 7,998 homes sold in June of 2013, according to Crain’s.

The news, though, isn’t all good. Crain’s said the number of homes available for sale in the Chicago area continues to be too low for demand. That is making life difficult for potential buyers who are struggling to find homes in the most desirable of Chicago neighborhoods.

Spoken by Mario Greco | Discussion: No Comments »

Chinese Investor’s Plans another Sign That Downtown Chicago Real Estate is Hot

Sign That Downtown Chicago Real Estate is Hot

I’ve long written that Chicago is a world-class city, one that attracts investors from around the globe. And recent reports — such as this one in Crain’s Chicago Business — that a Chinese real estate firm is planning to spend $900 million to build an 89-story tower on the Chicago River is just more evidence of our city’s pull around the world.

According to Crain’s, Wanda Group, based in Beijing, plans to build its new hotel-and-apartment tower on Wacker Drive in the Lakeshore East Development. The tower, if all goes according to plan, would be the third-tallest building in Chicago, hitting a height of about 1,150 feet. It would include a five-star hotel with 240 rooms.

The plans have created plenty of excitement, especially when Wanda Group released images that show a truly stunning building.

People, though, should not be surprised that the Wanda Group is interested in building in this slice of Chicago. The city’s downtown area is a hot one today, both for residential and commercial development. And why not? Downtown neighborhoods have become 24/7 communities, with restaurants, bars, green spaces, theaters and boutique shops dotting them.

If you own property in this part of Chicago, you should welcome the news that Wanda Group is interested in investing so heavily in the city. It’s just another sign that real estate here is valuable, and that the heart of the city remains attractive to big-money investors.

No one can argue that the city’s housing market didn’t suffer during the days of the Great Recession. And no one can argue that housing here has fully recovered from the housing crash that followed. But when you read about companies like the Wanda Group sinking big money into the city, you should feel hope: The city’s residential real estate rebound is continuing. And it looks like the rebound isn’t about to slow any time soon.

Spoken by Mario Greco | Discussion: 3 Comments »

Condo Construction is on the Rise Again in Chicago

Condo Construction on the Rise in Chicago

Condo Construction on the Rise in Chicago

Need more proof that Chicago’s housing market is firmly in recovery mode? Took a look in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood at 1345 S. Wabash Ave. That site will soon be the home to a new high-rise condominium project.

That’s right, as a recent story by Chicago Magazine says, developers are once again building new condominiums in downtown Chicago.

That’s significant. Following the real estate crash, condominium construction basically came to a halt in downtown Chicago and throughout much of the city. Several projects under construction fell through, and the half-completed projects in downtown Chicago stood as a reminder of just how bad the real estate market here had become.

That’s changed now, though. Chicago real estate analysts are predicting that developers will soon be building more condo buildings not only in the South Loop but throughout downtown Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Chicago Magazine’s story highlights the new condo project now under construction at 13th Street and Wabash Avenue in the city’s South Loop neighborhood. This project, the early stages of a 15-story 144-unit glass condominium tower by CMK Companies, will be the first new condominium high-rise building to be built in downtown Chicago since the nation’s recession began in 2007. This milestone building should be completed by next spring. If you’re eager to live here you can already buy a unit.

The Chicago Magazine story says that this project is just the first of what will hopefully be many new condominium buildings rising in downtown Chicago. The story quotes Gail Lissner, a vice president at Appraisal Research Counselors, saying that the downtown area today has fewer than 500 units of unsold high-rise condo properties available. That’s down from more than 3,600 in 2009, according to Lissner.

The message from that is clear: Demand is high for new condo units in downtown Chicago, and no one will be surprised once developers start rushing to fill that demand.


Spoken by Mario Greco | Discussion: No Comments »

The May Numbers: Sales Down, Prices up Again in Chicago

Sales Down, Prices up Again in Chicago

May was a good month for home sales prices in Chicago. It wasn’t as good when it came to the actual number of homes that sold.

That’s the best way to summarize the latest existing-home sales statistics released by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.

When Chicago homeowners did sell their residences, they tended to fetch higher prices in May, according to the association. The median price of existing Chicago homes rose to $270,000 in the month, up from $235,000 for the same month one year earlier. That’s an increase of 14.9 percent.

It’s important to remember that the average Chicago home seller isn’t actually getting $270,000 for city condominiums and single-family homes. Median sales price and average sales price are two vastly different things. The median price is that number at which half of homes sold for a higher price and half for a lower. In May, then, half of all Chicago condominiums and single-family homes sold for more than $270,000 and half sold for less.

The number of city home sales declined in May 15.7% when compared to the same month one year earlier. There were 2,390 home sales in Chicago in May of this year and 2,834 during the same month in 2013.

In more good news for Chicago home sellers, it’s taking less time to sell city condos and single-family homes. The REALTORS® association reported that in May it took sellers an average of 50 days on the market to sell their homes in Chicago. That’s down 7.4% from May in 2013.

What do I take away from the latest statistics? Only that Chicago remains a housing market in recovery mode, but one that still poses challenges to sellers. If you want to succeed selling a home in today’s market — selling it in a reasonable amount of time for a fair price — you’ll boost your odds by working with a skilled REALTOR® who knows your community and what you home is worth.

Spoken by Mario Greco | Discussion: 1 Comment »

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