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Illinois Association of REALTORS®: June a Good Month in Chicago

Illinois Association of REALTORS®: June a Good Month in Chicago

Illinois Association of REALTORS®: June a Good Month in Chicago

The most recent sales statistics from the Illinois Association of REALTORS® point to a Chicago housing market that remains in rebound mode.

According to the latest numbers on existing-home sales from the association, sales in the city of Chicago rose 1.2% in June when compared to the same month a year ago. This June, the city saw 2,761 existing-home sales. In June of 2013, that number stood at 2,729.

That’s not a large jump, but it is a jump. And it shows that this summer’s selling season did get off to a solid start in Chicago.

The city also saw the median sales price — that price point at which half of all homes sold for more and half for less — increase in June. The median price hit $275,000 in June of this year, compared to $252,000 in the same month in 2013.

If you’re ready to sell your Chicago condominium or single-family home, the REALTORS® report brought additional good news. It’s taking Chicago residents less time to sell their homes.

According to the report, it took an average of 44 days in June for Chicago owners to sell their single-family homes or condominiums. That’s pretty quick. For the state of Illinois as a whole, it took owners an average of 68 days on the market to move their residences.

If you want even more good news? It’s still quite affordable to borrow mortgage money to buy a home. According to the association’s report, the average interest rate in June for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan for the North Central region — a region that includes Chicago — was 4.17 percent. That’s down from 4.18% in May. Of course, this average was even lower — a still-stunning 4.09% — in June of last year.

Spoken by Mario Greco | Discussion: No Comments »

Chicago Homes Not as Affordable Today as They Were a Few Years Ago

Chicago Homes Not as Affordable Today as They Were a Few Years Ago

Chicago Homes Not as Affordable Today as They Were a Few Years Ago

Remember the days when buyers were able to nab prime Chicago condominiums and single-family homes for bargain prices? Those days are gone, according to a recent story in Crain’s Chicago Business.

As Crain’s reports, rising home prices have made it much more difficult for Chicago buyers to find the bargains that were common in the days following the housing crash. These rising prices also mean that Chicago buyers might not be able to afford as much home as they’d like. They might, too, have to switch their home searches to more affordable Chicago neighborhoods.

The Crain’s story cites a recent affordability study published by the Chicago Association of REALTORS®. According to the study, single-family homes in the Chicago area were less affordable in June of this year that at any time since October of 2008.

The same study found that condominiums and townhomes in the Chicago area were less affordable in June than at any time since July of 2009.

According to the study, in June a household earning the region’s median income had 41% more than the amount needed to buy a median-priced home in the Chicago area. It was back in February of 2012 that homes in the Chicago area were at their most affordable, according to the index.

The affordability index measures three factors: area home prices, interest rates and incomes. As the Crain’s story says, income and interest rates have barely changed. But home prices are rising, and that has lowered the affordability of area homes.

What does this mean for Chicago buyers? Only that it makes more sense to work with a licensed REALTOR®. Such a housing professional can help buyers find a Chicago condominium or single-family home priced at an affordable level for them. Today, as the affordability index says, finding such a property has become more challenging.

Spoken by Mario Greco | Discussion: No Comments »

Another Big Condo Project Planned for Chicago

Rendering via Chicago Tribune

Rendering via Chicago Tribune

How hot is Chicago’s downtown condominium market becoming? Check out this story by the Chicago Tribune. Real estate reporter Mary Ellen Podmolik writes that another towering condominium development is planned for the area.

According to the Tribune story, Related Midwest is planning a 67-story, 500-unit condo/apartment tower for the southwest corner of Grand and Peshtigo in Chicago.

You might remember that a former condo project was once planned for this same site. Developer Dan McLean wanted to build a 232-unit condominium tower for the corner. But McLean lost the land in a foreclosure suit. Related Midwest purchased this land in August of last year, spending $24.6 million for the property, according to the Tribune story.

The fact that a new tower is now planned for the same site is yet another sign that Chicago’s downtown condo market is still on the rise.

The new tower still has a long way to go before becoming a reality. The city of Chicago still has to approve Related Midwest’s plans. But the project seems to make financial sense. Demand for luxury apartments is high in the area. At the same time, there is plenty of demand for luxury condo units here, too. The Tribune says that there is currently a lack of luxury condo units in the downtown Chicago market.

The new project would rise across the street from another Related Midwest project, 500 Lake Shore Drive. That is a luxury apartment high-rise that the Tribune reports is 99% leased.

The new building would boast 400 apartments and 100 condominium units. As part of the project, Related Midwest would also redevelop a 70,000-square-foot public park that it owns.

The project would join the only other large-scale apartment/condo project already existing in the downtown Chicago area. That project is the 82-story Aqua Tower, a project that includes apartments, a hotel and condo units. In 2015, Loews Hotels & Resorts is scheduled to open a 52-story hotel and high-end apartment tower in the city, too.

Spoken by Mario Greco | Discussion: No Comments »

Millennium Park Still Making an Impact on Chicago’s Condo Market

Millennium Park Still Making an Impact on Chicago’s Condo Market

Millennium Park Still Making an Impact on Chicago’s Condo Market

It’s hard to believe but Chicago’s Millennium Park turns 10 years old this July. And Crain’s Chicago Business paid tribute to the now iconic park with a look at how Millennium Park has given condo development in downtown Chicago a boost.

You probably remember that it cost a whopping $475 million to build Millennium Park. That was three times its original budget.

But the park has made a dramatic impact on downtown Chicago, becoming one of the most-visited spots in the city. It has also fueled a steady rise in condominium development in the area surrounding the park. Consider the example of the Heritage at Millennium Park. As Crain’s reports, by the time this condo development sold out in 2005, units with views of the park were fetching prices that were 25 to 30% higher than were condos that had a view looking west.

The message? People wanted that view of Millennium Park and they were willing to pay a premium to get it.

The park, of course, replaced what was once railroad tracks. Now, from a once rather ugly site, there are gardens, an outdoor concert stage, sculptures, and of course the famed Cloud Gate – better known as the Bean.

Crain’s reports that since 2005, 1,391 new condos have been created adjacent to the park on either Randolph Street or Michigan Avenue. Crain’s quotes Appraisal Research’s Gail Lissner as saying that buildings not immediately adjacent to Millennium Park have benefited from the site, too. She pointed specifically to the nearby Aqua development and other properties in the Lakeshore East development as examples.

So as Millennium Park ends its first decade, be sure to spare a moment to give thanks for this green spot in the center of the city. Its impact on the area’s housing market has been significant.

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: No Comments »

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