The Townhouse As the New Starter Home in Lakeview: 2820 N. Greenview

This 3-bedroom corner townhouse at 2820 N. Greenview in Lakeview came on the market in October 2013.

We’ve chattered about this complex of townhouses at the corner of Wolfram and Greenview several times over the years.

Most of the others we’ve chattered about were smaller 2-bedroom properties. But a 3-bedroom automatically puts you in “starter home replacement” territory.

The “affordable” 3-bedroom Lincoln Park and Lakeview townhouses are the most prized.

Two of the three bedrooms are on the second floor with the third in the lower level. The two bedrooms are also ensuite.

The kitchen has maple cabinets, stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops.

It has a lower level family room and a generous 3.5 baths.

There’s garage parking but only a small outdoor space.

Someone wrote me about this townhouse a few weeks ago and said it would sell quickly as the agent was arranging all the showings on one day but 3 weeks later it’s still available. (So what happened?)

It’s also listed just $7400 above the 2009 purchase price.

Are townhouses in Lakeview a “good” buy?

Several of the owners didn’t exactly make a killing.

Amanda McMillan at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #A: 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, no square footage listed, garage
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  • Sold in August 2000 for $360,000
  • Sold in May 2004 for $480,000
  • Sold in March 2009 for $532,500
  • Currently listed at $539,900
  • Assessments of $150 a month
  • Taxes of $7333
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 18×15 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 15×10 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 11×10 (lower level)

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21 Responses to “The Townhouse As the New Starter Home in Lakeview: 2820 N. Greenview”

  1. Two bedrooms up and a bedroom/ family room on the ground floor/ lower level really isn’t a 3-bedroom, particularly for families with kids. Fine for an office, family room, maybe a teen or guests.

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  2. According to Redfin, 25.1% of all listings in September did a price reduction. It is the highest amount in 3 years.

    Were they just caught with prices too high for the mortgage rate environment? Rates dropped in the middle of the month once the Fed didn’t taper.

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  3. Maybe I’m wrong, but wasn’t there a recent influx of homes going on the market? Wouldn’t that cause a reduction in price?

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  4. Price reductions are also seasonal. For all the people that had their listings too high and didn’t sell over the summer, they lower them when the buying season is over. I imagine many of the price reductions were on units that had been on the market for a while.

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  5. “Price reductions are also seasonal. For all the people that had their listings too high and didn’t sell over the summer, they lower them when the buying season is over. I imagine many of the price reductions were on units that had been on the market for a while.”

    What didn’t you understand? It’s the HIGHEST IN 3 YEARS. That includes every fall for the last 3 years.

    People are reducing because they are priced to high for the higher mortgage rates and sales have slowed as a result. It’s like the townhouse in this post. They wanted offers in the first 48 hours. Lol. It’s still available weeks later.

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  6. DR Horton reported yesterday. New orders fell 2.2% from the year before as traffic slowed when rates rose. But what is interesting is what the CEO said on the conference call. He talked about cutting prices if things didn’t turn around. Which means that they haven’t yet turned around (as of this month).

    As I’ve been saying, you can’t get blood from a stone. Rising housing price PLUS rising mortgage rates means housing is no longer affordable. You can’t pay what you don’t have.

    “I don’t think there’s any question that we’ll start with incentives if the (slow) pace continues into the strong selling season around Super Bowl Sunday,” Mr. Tomnitz said on D.R. Horton’s fourth-quarter earnings call with investors. “We have plans in place, coming in January, to make sure that we drive the right amount” of sales in relation to profit margins.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2013/11/12/d-r-horton-if-spring-sales-lag-big-discounts-on-tap/?mod=yahoo_hs

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  7. “What didn’t you understand? It’s the HIGHEST IN 3 YEARS. That includes every fall for the last 3 years.”

    Your problem is you have lots of stats, but zero ability to understand them. Hint: What was different about this year vs the last 3 years?

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  8. “Two bedrooms up and a bedroom/ family room on the ground floor/ lower level really isn’t a 3-bedroom, particularly for families with kids. Fine for an office, family room, maybe a teen or guests.”

    Exactly–it’s a 2/2 with the illusion of being a workable family home with kids. Of course, it’s an ideal layout for *some* families, but for your typical Chicago family with 2 kids, it’s probably less functional than a 2/2 single-floor condo with similar square footage.

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  9. Doesn’t D.R. Horton mostly make suburban tract housing? How exactly does that apply to inner city real estate?

    also from the article “The builder said that 43% of loans that it originated last quarter went to first-time buyers, down from 53% a year earlier.” could mean one of two things… one, more investors and less first timers are buying… or two, more current owners are able to sell their homes and buy homes…

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  10. I imagine most of the price reductions are coming from properties that have been overpriced to begin with. I’ve noticed too much confidence in sellers lately; and the realtors who live in the bubble see only dollar signs based upon volume. They’re advising sellers to price too aggressively. I can look to the stats in my town at least:

    http://www.redfin.com/city/15005/IL/Park-Ridge

    The chart shows in the last few months a huge spread between the list/sold psf price has developed; the spread was pretty steady for the last year and this divergence is a fairly recent development. I would reckon it’s the same in a lot of ‘hot’ markets too. Sellers are getting too aggressive; and in my town the sellers are asking the highest $ psf (in a buyer’s market at least) since 2004. (I could say since 2009 but that was a declining market).

    Factor in higher mortgage rates and seasonality and we’re in for some minor price reductions.

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  11. “I imagine most of the price reductions are coming from properties that have been overpriced to begin with.”

    Yes, and that is one of the points Sabrina fails to understand. Let’s say the “going rate” for a 2/2 is $300k. Meaning they come on the market and sell fairly quickly. Buyers and sellers both happy. Now let’s say you have some sellers that get greedy because prices have been going up. So, they overprice theirs at 350k. Most sit on the market while the 300k ones sell. Now it’s the end of the season and they lower their prices to 300k. Does that really mean prices are “going down”? When you have a hot market, you will get more greedy sellers. Some will get lucky, and the rest will have to face reality. Resulting in the “largest number of price reductions in 3 years”.

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  12. I thought you moved to Woodstock?

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  13. “Now let’s say you have some sellers that get greedy because prices have been going up. So, they overprice theirs at 350k. Most sit on the market while the 300k ones sell. Now it’s the end of the season and they lower their prices to 300k.”

    I didn’t say prices were going “down.” But reductions are the first sign that there are problems in the market. 25% price reductions didn’t happen last September or the September of 2011 either. It’s a symptom. All those real estate agents got it wrong on 25% of the properties on the market. Why? Because the market has changed. And, in this case, not for the better.

    The first sign of the slowdown in 2007-2008 was a large percentage of price reductions. Then inventory started to rise. We are seeing rising inventory (nothing like 2007-2008, of course) but it is well off the bottom now. It’s still pretty tight though. Too many people are underwater still and can’t sell.

    The housing market is a mess. The middle class buyer is still shut out in many places despite near record low mortgage rates. That means prices didn’t drop enough.

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  14. also from the article “The builder said that 43% of loans that it originated last quarter went to first-time buyers, down from 53% a year earlier.” could mean one of two things… one, more investors and less first timers are buying… or two, more current owners are able to sell their homes and buy homes…

    DR Horton is focusing on the over $500,000 buyer now (because that’s the market, apparently.)

    The first time homebuyer IS the market. Without them there is nothing. Absolutely nothing. What don’t you guys understand? DR Horton is basically warning that things are slowing and that they can’t even get first time buyers. Why?

    1. No downpayment
    2. No income increase in years- while housing prices are rising

    Can’t get blood from a stone.

    Investors don’t buy new construction that’s why the homebuilders are a good indicator of what is going on out there with regular buyers. Investors are still about 30% of the re-sale market. That is abnormally high. Without investors, the housing market would still be collapsing.

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  15. “Chicago family with 2 kids, it’s probably less functional than a 2/2 single-floor condo with similar square footage.”t, it

    2/2 townhouses in Lakeview have been selling like hotcakes. This is a 3-bedroom (yeah third bedroom is in the basement, but so what? It’s still 3 bedrooms.)

    But yet, it’s sitting on the market.

    It’s a strange market right now. It’s really cooled off but some properties priced correctly and in prime locations are selling quickly still. But it better be move-in ready. All shiny and pretty.

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  16. “The middle class buyer is still shut out in many places despite near record low mortgage rates.”
    What defines middle class has changed. Middle class used to be mt prospect or palatine. Middle class is now Chicago Ridge, or Crystal Lake, or Huntley, or des plaines, or much of the south side. How about Oak Lawn? Take a drive down there like I did a few weekends ago. That’s middle class. The depressing existence that is harlem avenue all 10 lanes of it. The middle class is now really the lower rung on the ladder. SUre your parents may have grown up in arlington heights but you’re looking at round lake beach, hon.

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  17. “What defines middle class has changed. Middle class used to be mt prospect or palatine. Middle class is now Chicago Ridge, or Crystal Lake, or Huntley, or des plaines, or much of the south side.”

    I bet 90% of Wilmette would say they are “middle class”, too.

    We can argue the bounds of ‘middle class’ all day (as we have before); you’re taking a ‘up to 1-sd below median family income’ approach to the question, which I think is hooey, of the same degree as those with top 5% family income (or top 10% wealth, regardless of income) claiming ‘middle class’ status is, even tho few of that cohort is really ‘upper class’ (or whatever you wanna call them), having grown up with, and retained the trappings of, a bona fide ‘middle class’ lifestyle.

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  18. “Too many people are underwater still and can’t sell.”
    Is it possible that maybe these underwater condo owners in the GZ saw that prices were rising again and that maybe they could list it and get what they paid for or maybe write a smaller check to get out of there? Maybe they were able to take advantage or maybe they were just late to the party in listing it? I think that would be people delisting or not reducing prices because they have to get that amount. I understand that they still have to go somewhere so selling high at no profit doesnt help them too much, but maybe they moved to not as a desirable area for a little cheaper or flocked to burbs for a SFH?

    “1. No downpayment”
    This is becoming less prevalent again. I am getting offers for less than 10% down with no PMI as a 1st time home buyer. Apps are down and they need to push sales somehow.

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  19. IMO there are just a ton of overpriced properties out there (I’ve been very actively looking for about six months now) and it is not necessarily driven so much by people who bought at near-peak who can’t afford to take a big hit. Rather, there are quite a few people who bought post-bubble (think 09-11) and got a good enough deal that they are now comfortable trying to take profit out of the deal, relying on a partially rebounded market along with a lack of inventory to hopefully spur some sucker to pay 100K more than a place cost two years ago when all they did is slap a coat of paint on the walls. Such sellers may be fine with not selling below a certain level if they are profit-focused and don’t need to move for other reasons, and in some cases you see three or four price reductions and the ask is still well above what to me seems reasonable. Almost like “make me move” pricing via the MLS.

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  20. Sid V: I agree on the 2-4 price reductions but STILL overpriced just waiting for the right sucker to come along and over pay. The reductions are pretty minor too like $5,000 is going to be the difference in a $350,000 house!

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  21. “Almost like “make me move” pricing via the MLS.”

    I know several sellers doing this. They all bought in the last 3 years. They have listed WAY over the comps and are basically waiting for a greater fool. Because it only takes one guy with cash to decided he MUST live in that part of River North or Old Town. And if you’re the only 2/2 on the market, then the buyer has to pay what you are asking.

    If they can sell for $150,000 over what they paid, great! They will take it. Otherwise, they will just stay in the property.

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