Market Conditions: Chicago Sales Fall 15.7% in May But Median Price Rises 14.9%

Sales have been slowing year over year the last several months so it’s no surprise that we saw more of the same in May.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

“The city of Chicago saw a 15.7 percent year-over-year home sales decline in May 2014 with 2,390 sales, down from 2,834 in May 2013. The median price rose to $270,000 versus $235,000 in May 2013, an annual increase of 14.9 percent.”

Last May was also the best May since the boom years as interest rates remained low. Remember, rates didn’t jump until mid-May and it took several months for those rates to impact buyers because those buying in May, June and even July most likely already had locked in the low rates.

May sales:
[unordered_list style="bullet"]

  • May 2008: 2119 sales
  • May 2009: 1557 sales
  • May 2010: 2057 sales
  • May 2011: 1705 sales
  • May 2012: 2037 sales (not sure why the IAR has a higher number for 2012)
  • May 2013: 2834 sales
  • May 2014: 2390 sales

[/unordered_list]
Median price data:
[unordered_list style="bullet"]

  • May 2008: $319,500
  • May 2009: $225,000
  • May 2010: $230,000
  • May 2011: $190,000
  • May 2012: $203,000
  • May 2013: $234,000
  • May 2014: $270,000

[/unordered_list]
“Median home prices continue to rise as buyers in the spring market seek out their new home from the little inventory on the market, and make their best and strongest offer,” said Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner of Urban Real Estate.

“It truly is an ideal time for prospective sellers to evaluate if now is their right time to buy, and if so, to consider making their move.  Buyers are being realistic about finding the home they might move into and upgrade later, and don’t expect to find their dream home immediately. They are looking for location, space, and the potential a property ultimately has,” Farrell added.

“The housing market continues to provide evidence of a return to more normal conditions,” noted Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois.  “Sales continue to increase on a month-to-month basis although they have been unable to match the stellar gains of last year.  The impact of foreclosures continues to decrease with the expectation that the numbers of foreclosed properties on the market will return to pre-recession levels sometime in the next 6-12 months.  Homeownership rates for retiring Baby Boomers continue to increase providing some potential medium-term housing market growth opportunities.”

Even though rates are not historically high, home sales continue to lag both in Chicago and nationally. Chairman Yellen blamed tight credit in the FOMC press conference this month.

But it seems like credit is no harder to get than it was last May when sales were soaring.

Will sales lag in Chicago for the rest of the year?

Illinois median home prices up 8.3 percent from a year ago; Statewide home sales down 9.4 percent in May [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, June 23, 2014]

 

211 Responses to “Market Conditions: Chicago Sales Fall 15.7% in May But Median Price Rises 14.9%”

  1. Gary posted a comment about the hot Texas market in another thread.
    Thank you oil!
    I saw this article today. At least someone has the sense to caution buyers about buying at the top of the market (once again.) You’d better plan on staying longer than, say, 3 years. This is the advice I give people in Chicago all the time. You think that 2/2 condo is big enough now but when you have that baby, it won’t be.

    http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/spring/living/does-buying-a-home-in-the-woodlands-make-fiscal-sense/article_bdc0980b-4845-5271-954e-55b340abb8e6.html

    Real estate inventories in The Woodlands are at historic lows — with less than the months of inventory for houses priced at $600,000 or below, according to the Houston Association of Realtors. In the past three years, median home prices in The Woodlands have gone up $100,000. At the same time, the Texas employment rate is strong — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has been decreasing steadily to 5.2 percent in April 2014, besting the national unemployment rate of 5.9 percent for the same period.

    The Woodlands’ hot real estate market is fueled by the strength of local oil companies that are interested in The Woodlands and the surrounding areas. This environment is anticipated to stay sizzling through 2017, which merits caution for all but long-term investors.

    “Long story short, if you buy at the top of a market like this, it’s going to be an expensive mortgage for a long time,” says Paul Carroll of Efficient Wealth Management in The Woodlands, Tex. Carroll’s boutique practice handles investment consulting, advanced planning and expert relationship management for clients. “This is a very interesting bubble, which is a function of the good fortunes of the energy industry. With inflation running at just 1.5 percent, the true cost of that money over the lifetime of home ownership will be higher than expected.”

    The Woodlands is anticipated to experience limited inventory and high demand for several years to come. Buyers have to contend with high prices, few choices, and once they buy, a robust property-tax bill. Carroll cautions that unless a buyer is sure they will own their house at least 7 to 10 years, renting may be a better option than home ownership.

    “Usually you think of renting as throwing away money, but if a rental costs $2,000 a month vs. $2,400 a month plus the full cost of home ownership, it may be a better investment,” Carroll says. Once you factor in repairs, home insurance, flood insurance and more, renting may be the safer bet.

  2. A few weeks ago when Steve Heitman was claiming everyone in Lincoln Park was back to making gobs of money on their real estate again (if only you would have listened to him and bought there)- I told him I could show him dozens of properties where that wasn’t the case.

    I mentioned this 3-bedroom on Webster.

    http://www.redfin.com/IL/Chicago/1400-W-Webster-Ave-60614/unit-2W/home/12699057

    It’s still available a month later and they have since reduced it by $35,000 to $580,000. That’s $20,000 below the 2002 purchase price.

    This is just one property. Who knows why it is not selling in this “hot” market. Some properties sell the first week. Others linger. But that’s why it’s not a “hot” market. In a truly “hot” market- EVERYTHING sells immediately. It doesn’t matter if it has parking or not. It doesn’t matter about the central air. Washer/Dryer who cares. And if it DOES have everything- you can bet it sells almost instantly.

    But that’s just not happening in some neighborhoods of the city right now. It’s literally block by block.

  3. Oh- by the way- the Chinese investors are still active downtown in River North/Streeterville/Gold Coast. But they are NOT looking anywhere else. That’s why LP and Lakeview are lagging what’s going on downtown. That’s why Aqua sellers are getting $1,000+ a square foot now (Wow!). But you can’t give away the units in some of the north side high rises.

    It’s a really interesting market right now. It’s positively dead in some areas but in others have little inventory.

    I have no idea what will happen when rates hit 5% or even go higher. It’s a messed up market right now. I’m expecting it to be an even bigger messed up market when that happens.

  4. The downtown market is weird. I just bought a unit in the Legacy after renting here for the past 3 years. There is a lot of inventory that I just didn’t like. Those seem to be the types of properties that were open to negotiations. The properties that were reasonably priced and desirable generally went within a few months. I think the problem is the lack of inventory. So many of the units downtown are recent rehabs of the really old buildings with tiny windows. No thanks. There just weren’t many properties I liked that were in my price range.

    My original plan was actually to purchase a 1 bedroom corner unit in River North to rent out, while continuing to rent myself. However my lease is up for renewal in the Fall and I know my landlord is going to jack rates up again. After renting downtown for 8 years, 4 of which were at 200 N. Dearborn….I’m done. I just got tired of the uncertainty of having my unit “sold” out from under me (happened twice with American Invsco) or having my rent raised $500 in 3 years.

    When I put my offer in for the unit I bought, the developer of The Legacy hesitated quite a bit because they were about to take most or all of their units off the market to raise prices between 10 and 20 percent. I guess that makes sense, for the last year there has been quite an uptick in freight elevator reservations for people moving in. Its been frustrating when I’ve needed to take the dog out. Sure enough, two days after they accepted my offer they took something like 30 units off of the MLS. I’m curious to see what they come back at.

    Like I said, the downtown market is weird. And I now own a slice of it with a huge wrap around terrace with a lake view. After 7ish years of reading cribchatter I’m scared and excited to be sucked into this mess.

  5. ” In a truly “hot” market- EVERYTHING sells immediately.”

    Nonsense.

  6. ”How is the housing market “just fine” when sales are again sliding? They were ALREADY near multi-decade lows.”

    Sliding? Multi-decade lows? Really?

    May 2008: 2119 sales
    May 2009: 1557 sales
    May 2010: 2057 sales
    May 2011: 1705 sales
    May 2012: 2037 sales (not sure why the IAR has a higher number for 2012)
    May 2013: 2834 sales
    May 2014: 2390 sales

  7. A cribchatter scenario:
    I bought a 2/2 condo in a downtown (walk to my job in the loop in under 20 min) neighborhood in May 2014.
    Median prices for May 2014 were 14.9% higher than May 2013 (13% higher for condos). S and P case shiller has Apriil 2014 prices 10.7% higher than April 2013. Prices were 2.0% higher in April 2014 than March 2014.

    Do I sell my unit and take the profit? I would get my down payment 143k and my profit back and rent in a ‘luxury’ apartment tower. My brother is my realtor so I would pay next to nothing in commission. Rent would come out to be about $500 more per month than PITI, and I wouldn’t get to take the mortgage interest tax deduction.

    Are most of the price gains I’m going to see already in the past? Or should I continue to own?

  8. ” But that’s why it’s not a “hot” market. In a truly “hot” market- EVERYTHING sells immediately.”

    good, that means we arent at the top of this cycle yet.

  9. “Are most of the price gains I’m going to see already in the past? Or should I continue to own?”

    taking real estate advice from the uber-bear renters on cribchatter is like using zero hedge to build an investment portfolio.

    both are dangerous to your financial health.

  10. “Are most of the price gains I’m going to see already in the past?”

    Yes

    “Or should I continue to own?”

    Yes

  11. Edit to the post above, I bought in May 213 not 2014

  12. Edit to the post above, I bought in May 2013 not 2014

  13. “I bought a 2/2 condo in a downtown (walk to my job in the loop in under 20 min) neighborhood in May 2014. Do I sell my unit and take the profit?”

    Absolutely. You’d be stupid to leave money on the table. Sell now and it will be a nice little profit in just a few months. Then, you can keep doing this! Maybe rehab one a little to really make the MONEY!

  14. “[Chinese buyers] are NOT looking anywhere else. That’s why LP and Lakeview are lagging what’s going on downtown”.

    Not true, or at least as LP is concerned. If you consider everything in the 60614 zip code to be the *neighborhood* of LP (which it isn’t), then you are indeed correct: the Chinese aren’t buying. If you break down that massive area that everyone wants to believe is LP into the actual neighborhood of LP, then you are incorrect: I can think of 4 or 5 Chinese mainland families that have bought houses for what I’m guessing is purely for investment. Do 4 or 5 families constitute a takeover? Hardly, but it’s happening and has been happening for the last few years and it’s the topic of much conversation within the neighborhood.

    That’s the problem with when you keep moving the line in the sand to suit one’s own needs; accurate data eventually becomes meaningless, which is what it is now. Sure that apartment you cited at 1400 west Webster is nice looking, but it’s: 1) located on top of a beauty shop, 2) on busy Webster that becomes a parking lot from Racine in the morning and again starting at 2:30 as parents jamb the road to transport their kids to and from the various schools, not to mention tradition rush hour(s) traffic all trying to turn south on Clybourn without the benefit of a left turn arrow, 3) about 100 feet from the crazy busy intersection of Webster and Clybourn that’s even worse because of the movie theater located there, 4) an ugly stretch of Webster no matter how you slice it. So no, don’t dump this place into the LP data, in the same way you don’t use CS to judge market health of GZ Chicago – Joliet is also included in that data right?

    Chicago real estate is like our weather… all over the f’ing place with no accurate future forecast – freezing at the lake, 90 and humid at O’hare. It’s not even neighborhood by neighborhood, it’s block by block, or even more specifically it’s individual house by individual house. Here’s an example:
    http://www.redfin.com/IL/Chicago/2317-N-Cleveland-Ave-60614/home/13350348 sold exactly 3 years ago for $1,248,000, now listed (and under contract quickly) for $1,550,000. They did nothing major to the house, but there is one exposed outdoor parking space against the side of the house. I doubt the closing price will be too far from the list, but not a bad profit for 3 years of ownership.
    http://www.redfin.com/IL/Chicago/2319-N-Cleveland-Ave-60614/home/13350349 long time owners, maybe the interior isn’t as snappy as it’s twin, but there is no parking and no chance for parking.

  15. Mike HG, check out the Buy/Rent calculator:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/upshot/buy-rent-calculator.html?_r=0

  16. Mike HG – I would say it depends on exactly how much profit you are looking at when all is said and done and what your expected ownership time frame would be otherwise.
    Assuming you paid $715k with 20% down, the unit would now be worth $808k (13% increase). If you can sell it for $800k, that is an $85k profit, minus all transaction costs and moving expenses.
    Fees:
    3% Realtor Comission (2% family discount): $24k
    Title Insurance: $1900
    City Transfer Stamps: $2400
    State and County Transfer Stamps: $1200
    Attorney Fee: $500
    Recorder Fee: $75
    Tax Credit: ~$6k (guesstimate)
    Total: $37k

    So that $85k is now $48k, not including moving costs like moves and elevator reservations, and such.

    So the question is: is it worth $45k to move?

  17. I wouldn’t move in that scenario, don’t forget you have to pay taxes on that now 45k gain as well, since not rolled into another property, so whittle that down even more, and that mortgage interest deduction + taxes deduction is really nice during tax time as well. You could pay me 40k to move but my home is worth far less than yours at the moment…

  18. “you have to pay taxes on that now 45k gain as well, since not rolled into another property”

    Right result, wrong explanation. The ‘roll into another property’ requirement is gone. But you still have to own, and use it as your main residence, for at least 24 months out of the 5 years before sale. You also can only claim the exclusion once every two years.

  19. Um… ok… which page of the 100,000 is that one on? :) So say you sell your current place and then close on your new place a month or two later, as long as you live in it you don’t have to pay any taxes on the net sale amount over your cost basis correct?

    Also another interesting Tidbit
    10 year treasury rate June 25th, 2013 2.6%
    10 year treasury rate June 24th 2014 2.6%

    OMG THE RISING

  20. “Right result, wrong explanation. The ‘roll into another property’ requirement is gone. But you still have to own, and use it as your main residence, for at least 24 months out of the 5 years before sale. You also can only claim the exclusion once every two years.”

    So, you buy a house, live in it 1.5 years, sell it at a profit and buy a more expensive house. Do you owe capital gains on the profit?

  21. “Right result, wrong explanation. ”

    Isn’t sonies supposed to know this stuff? Aren’t there tests and such?

  22. I’m not a fucking accountant, nor do I pretend to be! I just have to know the general rules, like that 1031 exchanges exist

  23. Would it be possible to add “post time” or “time ago” to the front page Recent Comments widget so we at least can estimate how long it will be until posts show up?

  24. “I’m not a fucking accountant, nor do I pretend to be! I just have to know the general rules, like that 1031 exchanges exist”

    You don’t have to know capital gains treatment on your level 7 test, or whatev it’s called? What score did you get? @fo, if we pay your test fees, would you see how much you can beat it by?

  25. I got like a 80 something… anyway this is all you need to know to pass the 7 at least http://www.investopedia.com/exam-guide/series-7/investment-risk-tax-considerations/tax-considerations.asp

    There’s a lot more you need to know obviously, but real estate transaction tax ramifications are not one of them

  26. Okay, we’re going to need to set a line to make it interesting for @fo.

  27. @fo would do terrible since you can’t use google during the exam 8)

  28. “There’s a lot more you need to know obviously, but real estate transaction tax ramifications are not one of them”

    Seems like an accountant might be more useful then. If I can’t find out what to do w my aapl options, at least I’ll learn something about real estate cap gains.

  29. “So, you buy a house, live in it 1.5 years, sell it at a profit and buy a more expensive house. Do you owe capital gains on the profit?”

    Generally, yes. But there are some circumstances that allow you to either use the $250/$500 exemption, or a portion of it.

  30. “Usually you think of renting as throwing away money, but if a rental costs $2,000 a month vs. $2,400 a month plus the full cost of home ownership, it may be a better investment.”
    The guy quoted in the article must have a REALLY good rental broker.

  31. “The guy quoted in the article must have a REALLY good rental broker.”

    He is talking about suburban Houston…

  32. gringozecarioca on June 25th, 2014 at 7:25 am

    “He is talking about suburban Houston…”

    My friend rather appropriately described “The Woodlands” as something out of the Stepford Wifes… Personally I liked the neighborhood. Well thought out design to the place, all the hidden shopping centers and gas stations.. nice bike paths, golf courses. Bit far from downtown, but cops will pass you on the express highway while you are doing 90. Ahhhh Tejas!!

  33. “Seems like an accountant might be more useful then. If I can’t find out what to do w my aapl options, at least I’ll learn something about real estate cap gains.”

    you are such a fail troll DZ!

  34. I would also like to move to Texas I could then afford a car more expensive than my frickin house! Then again I’d also probably spend a lot more time in it as well.

  35. [LAGGING IN]

  36. “you are such a fail troll DZ!”

    No, I really want to know what to do about my aapl options. Plus always trying to stay on groove’s good side for the bbq invite.

  37. “[LAGGING IN]…”

    Love it.

  38. you already have aapl options or are looking for recs on what to do?

  39. “you already have aapl options or are looking for recs on what to do?”

    Yeah, suppose I had some, when should I sell?

  40. Also, since I’m asking questions, which is the most best scandinavian city to visit in the summertime?

  41. you bought options? I only do the short side with that stock… when shoudl you sell? when you have a nice profit as you’ll lose your ass about 80% of the time on the long side of options thanks to time decay

  42. gringozecarioca on June 25th, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    “Yeah, suppose I had some, when should I sell?”
    The day after it split.

    ” …Texas, I could then afford a car more expensive than my frickin house”
    Yep, and can fill it with strippers.

  43. “the most best scandinavian city to visit in the summertime”

    Most best how?

  44. “Yep, and can fill it with strippers.”

    House, car, or both?

  45. “you’ll lose your ass about 80% of the time”

    Only 80 percnet? I thought it’d have to be 100 percent given the sure money on the other side.

  46. “The day after it split.”

    See, that’s the kinda advice i was hoping for. Ze prob hasn’t even taken the level 7 test. Wonder what laura lou’s score was on level 7, or however it was numbered, back in the day.
    Now supposing I did sell some around then, I should just sell the rest now? Incl Jan 2016 expiration?

  47. “Most best how?”

    most bestest for the whole dz family, 6-7 days.

  48. LAGGING IN!

  49. “Only 80 percnet? I thought it’d have to be 100 percent given the sure money on the other side.”

    nope, otherwise nobody would do them…

  50. gringozecarioca on June 25th, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    “House, car, or both?”
    Car, boat, and pool are obtainable.. An entire house… particularly a nice big one in the Woodlands… I like where you are going with it, but that’s ambitious for anyone not a rap star… then again, invite over chicks from Spring,TX and who can tell the difference??

    “Ze prob hasn’t even taken the level 7 test”
    That’s a very safe bet… I heard part 2 was a drug test

  51. Lag time–about 45 minutes. Possibly slightly more.

  52. “Lag time–about 45 minutes. Possibly slightly more….”

    Stochastic LAG. I timed in low 30s earlier this week.

  53. Wow, Laura seems to have taken a lot of the tests: 4, 7, 24, 27, 28, 53, 55, 63, 65. That’s pretty impressive on 1,000 calories/day.

  54. ” I heard part 2 was a drug test”

    In the financial services industry? Haha surely you jest

  55. Steve Heitman on June 25th, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    “A few weeks ago when Steve Heitman was claiming everyone in Lincoln Park was back to making gobs of money on their real estate again (if only you would have listened to him and bought there)- I told him I could show him dozens of properties where that wasn’t the case”

    I think what I actually said was that is you bought a good property with utility in Lincoln Park you be fine. We do buy properties to live in right?

  56. Are student loan fears overblown?

    “The upshot of those dual trends is that median monthly debt payments as a share of monthly income for people with student loans ranged between 3 and 4 percent every year between 1992 and 2010.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/101797721?__source=yahoo%7Cfinance%7Cheadline%7Cheadline%7Cstory&par=yahoo&doc=101797721%7CIs%20student%20debt%20crisis%20re#.

  57. http://www.redfin.com/IL/Park-Ridge/1348-N-Western-Ave-60068/home/13657134

    I mean seriously, over half a million dollars for a split level? First of all it’s not 2,600 sq feet – it’s 1985 plus a finished basement. Second of all an 8,000 sq lot is NOT .25 acres. 11,000 sq feet is .25 acres.

    This is why the market is getting CRAZY RAZY

  58. Park ridge has always been overpriced to me, with exception of like 2010-2012 I mean 10k in taxes for that frickin split level on a normal size lot? GTFOOH!

  59. Park Ridge is nice enough, but not worth the cost of entrance. The schools are not all that good for taxes paid. It is close to the City so that’s a huge plus when one is bored out of their mind.

  60. “10k in taxes for that frickin split level on a normal size lot? GTFOOH!”

    and that is *with* a senior exemption.

  61. “Park Ridge is nice enough, but not worth the cost of entrance.”

    Except to those who pay dearly to live in Park Ridge. It’s absolutely fabulous here. The residents are wealthy and nearly all upper middle class, or wealthier; the people I meet (nearly all city transplants) are interesting, educated, in shape and completely down to earth because most residents keep full time jobs. Residents can rides their bikes around the beautiful leafy streets and look at nothing but beautiful luxury cars in the driveways of gorgeously manicured mid-century and older homes (Yes I’m purposely ignoring the mcmansions); and schools are great – nearly as good as anywhere else; the park district facilities are great, I live 3 blocks from a driving range and a fishing pond. Just tonight we were like “let’s go hit some golf balls” and 5 minutes later my 3 year old is driving the ball 25 yards. Park Ridge is close to the city, and it has not one, but two metra stops. We have a new community pool that my family and I can ride our bikes to *entirely on side streets*. It’s family friendly yet not filled to the brim with spoiled children. Overall, it’s a wonderful place to live. This place is everything the suburbs of the 1920′s were supposed to be – and nothing of the exurbs that the rest of the suburbs became. The trees and the houses are old, the main streets are on the city grid (albeit sometimes with different names), there are no large malls, you can park on the side streets without restrictions, there’s a quaint walkable downtown where people actually go and hangout. there are no ‘subdivisions’ (this is a major selling point) only neighborhoods with beautiful names like “country club”, “southwest woods”, “the manor”. There’s little to no riff-raff around. People who don’t look like they belong here are quickly picked up and shuttled away to 26th and cal; and I tell the story that shortly after I moved here there was an active burglary in the southwest woods, and the park ridge police pulled out the dogs; and called Rosemont to borrow the helicopters. Yes, they called out helicopters to track down two idiots from Humboldt Park who decided to burglarize a garage in Park Ridge. Good luck getting a cop to respond within a 4 hour time period to a garage break-in anywhere in the city. Maybe I’m laying it on a little thick, and purposely so, but I understand why it’s so expensive to live here, because the quality of life beats 95% of anything else out there. Spend two hours here and you’ll understand why as soon as the pregnancy test has the + sign on it, it becomes times to leave the city, and this is one of ‘the’ places to be.

  62. “Except to those who pay dearly to live in Park Ridge. It’s absolutely fabulous here.”

    I thought you lived in Long Grove.

  63. OT but how does the Chatarati feel about Pre-Colored Fiber Cement Siding?

  64. “Pre-Colored Fiber Cement Siding”

    you mean hardie board? it looks pretty sharp in my opinion, most definitely preferable to vinyl siding or asphalt roll. The downsides are that it’s very heavy, it’s expensive, and it looks a little too sharp sometimes depending on the character of th house.

  65. I suppose so. We have vinyl siding which I don’t mind except the color. Angie’s list is offering a deal on it.

    $3,750 for up to 500 square feet of James Hardie manufactured fiber cement siding

    Of course that’s a draw you in offer and it would only cover one side of a home. Our house is a four square so it would not only look sharp but would also give the house a throwback to how it might have looked back in the day.

  66. “OT but how does the Chatarati feel about Pre-Colored Fiber Cement Siding?”

    That factory blue is getting a little common. I assume as it gets more popular there will be more factory colors.

  67. After a fair number of listings the last few weeks, this week seems v quiet, presumably bc of holiday.

  68. “how does the Chatarati feel about Pre-Colored Fiber Cement Siding?”

    I feel it is cumbersome way to describe Hardie Board. Were you using it as a generic term on your Chi-Now blog, and got a C&D letter from Hardie’s IP counsel?

  69. “After a fair number of listings the last few weeks, this week seems v quiet, presumably bc of holiday.”

    No, it’s evidence of market collapse, because QE is ending, everyone who *might* sell is underwater and out of work, and the RE market is 372% overpriced. Get your facts straight, DZ.

  70. Icky–regarding that deal:

    The fine print sez: “Limit one deal per household–any additional square footage will be locked in at discounted rate of $130/per square foot”

    Dunno if they simply left out a decimal, or accidentally added a zero, but those are not terms anyone should agree to.

    Also, I have *zero* sense of whether this is connected to reality, but this:

    http://www.remodelingexpense.com/costs/cost-of-hardiplank-siding/

    sez that the cost for Hardiplank (materials + install) should be *less* than the “deal” price.

    Also, it makes a big diff *which* Hardie product is being installed–there is the lap siding (which I suspect is what you would want) and then various designs of panel siding, which come in sheets up to 4′x10′

  71. “your Chi-Now blog”

    dammit you made me look. I think he may be calling you a troll:
    http://www.chicagonow.com/adventures-house-hunting/2014/06/5-things-that-might-make-you-a-troll/

  72. I guess he’s not a true Chicagoan

    http://www.chicagonow.com/adventures-house-hunting/2014/06/five-signs-of-a-true-chicagoan/#image/5

  73. “I guess he’s not a true Chicagoan”

    By that logic, the White Sox are not ‘true Chicagoans’:

    http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/cws/chisoxbarandgrill/index.jsp?loc=Menus

    Note: I did not call Chicago “Chi-town”, I shortened ChicagoNow to ChiNow. Is the a directive from your corporate overlords to discourage that construction?

  74. @tfo — Thanks for the info on Hardie Board. Like most things, really had no clue that it was formally called Hardie Board and I sought wisdom and intelligent life here in CribChatterLand. Hardie Board would probably be the last thing we invest in only because there are so many other priorities right now. I’d probably invest in a centralized air conditioning system first.

    does html code still work here

  75. “centralized air conditioning system”

    you mean SpackPak?

  76. Yep Spacepak unless they come up with another technology by the time we do it. The only other choice is to give up my radiator heat which I’m not willing to do.

  77. “Spacepak…The only other choice is to give up my radiator heat”

    Untrue. Maybe not efficient for one reason or another, but certainly *can* have ‘normal’ forced air a/c and radiators.

  78. I post my market update on Monday but it’s already looking like June was at or above last year. So much for the sky falling.

  79. In theory, I like the idea of a quiet suburb, with pretty houses and tree line streets. I just can’t take the commute. I suppose the ideal situation would be to find a job in the suburbs.

    Incidentally, I had to drive down Roosevelt to the western burbs a few weeks back and I was shocked that there were no bicycle lanes or anyone riding bikes like idiots. It almost made me want to move to Lawndale, if it wasn’t so dangerous. It would be cool of Sabrina did a story on the poor areas of the city. Some of these places in Lawndale our gorgeous. This one needs work, but is only $60k and you can see it’s still pretty with arched hallways: http://www.estately.com/listings/info/3634-west-polk-street

  80. I tell you what jenny, that part of town is damn scary on a hot summer day. Not many places frighten me in town but that part of garfield park… jesus christ!

  81. Jenny, there are plenty of nice areas with quiet tree lined streets in Chicago, safe ones too. Lincoln Square, Edgewater, western parts of Uptown, Avondale, Irving Park, etc….

  82. “I post my market update on Monday but it’s already looking like June was at or above last year. So much for the sky falling.”

    Gary, I’m sure there is something that Sabrina will come up with, but it won’t make much sense.

  83. CribChatter: Where home prices are not too high enough!

  84. I wish the city would clean up Lawndale. I wonder why they don’t go after gangs for tax evasion, like they did with the mob.

  85. “Gary, I’m sure there is something that Sabrina will come up with, but it won’t make much sense.”

    Are you saying prices can’t be simultaneously too high and too low?

  86. I started to make some kind of snide remark but I don’t want to be mean. Sabrina is having a temporary lapse. Inventories and market times remain low and the market is great for mainstream properties but if you have something with some kind of flaw then the picture is less rosy. I’ve actually been surprised with some listings I thought would be mediocre that did really well and others that I thought were going to be dynamite and then weren’t so hot. And then there are the comparable properties that meet with two totally different fates. Very strange.

  87. Steve heitman on July 5th, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Real estate prices = Still Appreciating
    Equities = All time highs
    10 year treasury = 2.65
    Sabrina = dead wrong and missed the boat!

  88. Here is my June update: http://www.chicagonow.com/getting-real/2014/07/june-chicago-real-estate-market-update-home-sales-recover-but-not-for-long/

    It was up slightly from last year but contract activity was down a bit from last year so I’m not terribly optimistic that this can continue. The good news (for homeowners) is that homes are selling quickly on average and there aren’t many available still.

  89. “China saw $464 million in outbound real estate investment Q1 in 2014 into Chicago”

    wow

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/chinas-shadow-banking-system-could-154612059.html

  90. FYI my earlier post this week, the $550,000 three bedroom split level in Park Ridge, went under contract in less than a week. LESS THAN A WEEK. Do the Chinese love split levels? WTF??

    “http://www.redfin.com/IL/Park-Ridge/1348-N-Western-Ave-60068/home/13657134
    I mean seriously, over half a million dollars for a split level? First of all it’s not 2,600 sq feet – it’s 1985 plus a finished basement. Second of all an 8,000 sq lot is NOT .25 acres. 11,000 sq feet is .25 acres.
    This is why the market is getting CRAZY RAZY”

  91. “FYI my earlier post this week, the $550,000 three bedroom split level in Park Ridge, went under contract in less than a week. LESS THAN A WEEK. Do the Chinese love split levels? WTF??”

    Haven’t you heard? Sales are down. The market is dead. We are doomed.

  92. A house on and west of western ave even!!! I wouldn’t pay like $3400 a month to live in a house like that, in that location, thats for sure!

  93. Sonies,

    Accidentally knock up your wife and in six months you’ll be living down the block from this house. I promise. Everyone I meet out is here is a city transplant who earns good money but can’t afford $1,000,000 for a reasonable sized space for a family east of western in the city.

  94. Steve Heitman on July 9th, 2014 at 12:02 am

    The trend is urban living Homedelete. Lockport may not be booming but west of Western is. Will it last is the question. I think this time it might. Take a look at north of north and west of Western. Booming with new construction! The tides may have turned…

  95. haha funny HD, not planning on knocking up my wife, would definitely be an accident, but we’re going to be moving to about a 2200 sqft place with a yard within 2 miles of city hall sooner than later. I sure as shit don’t need more space than that! Fuck the suburbs, they suck ass, I hate going out there!!!

  96. ” a 2200 sqft place with a yard within 2 miles of city hall ”

    I would ask you to prove such a place exists but that would out your future home as there isn’t likely more than one of those. Unless you are taking liberties with “within 2 miles of city hall.”

  97. its actually quite a bit less than 2 miles especially as the crow flies. But yeah I don’t want to talk about specifics, and I am not living on the Kennedy either lol

    Ze are you OK? Did Rio burn down last night?

  98. “can’t afford $1,000,000 for a reasonable sized space for a family east of western in the city”

    HD, you’re forgetting sonies makes more than you and is not panicked by any possibility of risk. So I could see him in a $1MM home when the time comes. I think you have higher ACTs though.

  99. “can’t afford $1,000,000 for a reasonable sized space for a family east of western in the city.”

    You can still get decent SFHs in East Village and Ukrainian Village for under $1 MM. They are getting fewer and further between though.

  100. I’m wondering what HD’s “reasonable sized space” means…

  101. China’s Wanda to build $900 million complex in Chicago

    China’s Wanda Group, controlled by the country’s richest man Wang Jianlin, says it will invest $900 million in a five-star hotel and apartment complex in Chicago, as it acquires more assets in the US.

    The project, to be located near the intersection of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, will be the city’s third tallest building with a height of 350 metres (1,148 feet), the company said in a statement.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/chinas-wanda-build-900-million-complex-chicago-102704719.html

  102. gringozecarioca on July 10th, 2014 at 6:55 am

    “Ze are you OK? Did Rio burn down last night?”

    All well down here… Think people are more in shock than anything else.. Otherwise it was a phenomenal month to be here… Loved going to the FIFA fan fest and having all the girls from Columbia to Bosnia-Herzogovina walking around on the beach, 10 percent dressed. Had I not had a wife here, I would have turned my apartment into a girls only hostel. Now to see how the town handles the supreme indignation of 100,000 hated Argentinians flooding the place..
    Hope all is well for everyone up there!

  103. “China’s Wanda to build $900 million complex in Chicago”

    This is a HUGE project. It’s good for downtown. I hope they don’t screw up the design because it will be an iconic type of building simply because of its size.

    I wonder if the apartments will be condos by the time the building is closer to completion? (In 2018 or 2019.)

    Two other apartment buildings just got construction loans, one in the South Loop and one in Streeterville. They aren’t small buildings either. Will add another 1000 apartments.

    If past patterns hold up, some of these buildings will be converted to condos. The Fordham and the The Sterling, in River North, were both built as apartment buildings originally.

  104. Anyone else see what Lumber Liquidators said about the housing market? It’s just another indication that the housing market is not well despite record prices. It is the largest floor supplier in the country. Sales were awful last quarter. It blamed the slow existing home sales (among other things.) People aren’t moving so they aren’t redoing the floors.

    Mortgage applications are also still 16% under last year’s levels. That number will shrink going forward, however, because sales slowed in the second half last year after rates rose. So year over year it shouldn’t look quite as bad unless the slowdown accelerates.

    Nationally, inventory is also up about 13% compared to last year. This is good, though. We need the inventory.

    What a mess this housing market is. The Fed discussed what a conundrum it was in their last meeting. They still don’t get it that it’s an affordability problem. When rates rise further that will get even worse.

  105. I have friends in town this week from Asia. After they leave this weekend, I’ll work on the lag issue. Hopefully I can get that fixed next week.

  106. Chinese pouring money by the truckloads into Chicago, probably because New York and San Fran/LA are already too expensive?

  107. It’s not just institutional investors that have been propping up the U.S. housing market. Foreign buyers are also buying in. The National Association of Realtors is reporting that international buyers accounted for $92.2 billion of U.S. home sales during the 12 months ending in March 2014– 35% higher than the same period a year earlier.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-u-s–housing-market-goes-global-143716386.html

  108. You can still get a very nice house in Bucktown for under a million. this place is under contract though. it’s updated and on a desirable street. there’s high demand and competition for these homes and they don’t last long.

    http://www.redfin.com/IL/Chicago/2137-W-Cortland-St-60647/home/13355998

  109. “You can still get a very nice house in Bucktown for under a million”

    More like a nice-ish house on a small lot (w a maybe acceptable, but maybe not cps elem).

  110. Look what $730K got someone in Ukrainian Village: http://lucidrealty.com/homes-for-sale/Chicago_West_Town/single_family_homes/2121-W-Race-AVE/

  111. “What a mess this housing market is. The Fed discussed what a conundrum it was in their last meeting. They still don’t get it that it’s an affordability problem. When rates rise further that will get even worse.”

    And yet XHB is fine. Want to short it? Or short the Case Shiller? I see no sign that the Chicago market is a mess. Market times continue to decline and inventories remain low. And I’m not seeing an affordability problem since people are obviously able to buy what’s out there. Now, you’re not going to get homeownership up to 80% but you shouldn’t anyway.

  112. “Look what $730K got someone in Ukrainian Village”

    I didn’t realize you could get smaller than bucktown lots. It’s like a glorified townhouse.

  113. That’s on Race. Lots on other streets are bigger. But that’s part of the reason you’re only paying $730K. You’d be surprised what you can build on a 90 foot lot. They’re putting $1 MM homes on them now.

  114. “It’s like a glorified townhouse.”

    But with a stupid patch of grass that needs to be mowed.

  115. That place on Cortland is nice. It’s too bad the 90s rehab got rid of any interesting interior architectural elements, but maybe there was nothing worth saving. It’s still nicer than most blandy-bland new construction.

    Unrelated, here’s my tip of the day for sellers and their realtors – if you take a property off the market and then re-list it so that it shows up in a “new listings” search, take the time to get some new exterior pics. The 2.5 feet of snow is pretty much ruining the illusion that there’s anything “new” about your listing.

  116. Sabrina does have a point, the housing market is pretty screwed up. Gary looks around at the City and sees homes sell to the wealthy at $450 psf but ignores the rest of metropolitan area. For example, my rich suburb (which is literally adjacent to the city) had 19 new homes built this year so far, but the next suburb over (middle class des plaines) has zero new homes in 2014 and actually had one home demoed. Things are great depending on your relative position in the income hierarchy. But the further and further on down the ladder you go, the worse it gets. That’s why home sales are dropping, and mortgage applications are nearly at all time lows since they started keeping records 18 years ago. But it’s great for the cash buyers or the rich looking to buy $850,000 rehabbed bucktown homes.

  117. PS The place on cortland despite being $850,000 still had a crib in the third bedroom. Maybe it’s my midwestern sensibilities, but I find it shocking, just shocking, that an $850,000 bucktown home is still subpar for a family of four.

  118. I think the data is being obfuscated by the significant impact of the decline in distressed properties. With the benefit of a few more days of data, but still incomplete, Chicago sales were up 2.1% in June. However, non-distressed sales were up 16.4%, REOs were down 25.2%, and short sales were down 50.8%. And because the distressed sales have always been disproportionally at the lower end it makes it look like it’s an income thing.

  119. Gary, that sounds like a struggling market…..

  120. “Gary, that sounds like a struggling market”

    Why?

    BTW, I saw Vlajos’ post through my email alert before it showed up on the site. However, once I post my response his post will show up.

  121. It doesn’t look like an income thing, it is an income thing. That’s why mortgage applications are at or near all time lows

    http://news.investors.com/economy/070914-707927-mba-mortgage-applications-economic-chart-of-the-day.htm

  122. And this zillow analysis shows that overall 41% of all homes in chicago are puchased with cash;
    and of the lowest tier, over 60% are case; and 27% of the middle tier is cash too. The people most likely to buy homes with mortgages aren’t buying homes. Take out the huge chunk of the cash market – especially on the low to middle tiers, and you get the crazy 20 year lows in mortgage applications.

    http://zillow.mediaroom.com/2014-06-19-Share-of-All-Cash-Home-Purchases-Falls-in-Most-Areas

  123. From the graph it looks like purchase applications, while at the lower end of the recent range, have been pretty flat for years. I see nothing to get worried about there. I think refinancings have dropped off because mortgage rates have not hit new lows. And the reason people are paying cash is because they can’t do anything decent with their money. Part of the reason I bought a house, and with a large down payment, is because I couldn’t find anything better to do with the money.

  124. Foreigners can’t do mortgages so thats why you see so many all cash purchases. Dollar is still weak historically so the smart money is cashing out from chinese real estate before their market implodes and putting it into something undervalued, or what they deem as undervalued based upon their currency and such

  125. I was being sarcastic.

  126. Crains cites DePaul for this factoid:

    “The scale of the problem is so immense—there were nearly 55,000 abandoned homes across Cook County as of the first quarter, according to DePaul University’s Institute for Housing Studies—that it’s unlikely the land bank will have a noticeable impact anytime soon.”

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20140705/ISSUE01/307059981/a-bank-sweeping-up-the-debris-of-the-housing-crisis

    So the low-end of the housing market is still deflating.

  127. The Tribune reported that Michael & Juanita Jordan paid $3 million in the 1990s for their four-bedroom Lake Shore Drive penthouse. Juanita, a real estate professional, listed it for sale March 2012 for $5 million, lowered it April 2013 to $4.3 million, lowered it again February 2014 to $4 million, and sold it recently for $3.2 million.

    http://www.redfin.com/IL/Chicago/1100-N-Lake-Shore-Dr-60611/unit-40B/home/14122715

    That’s 20+ years of zero nominal appreciation.

    So, if the high- and low-end of the market are continuing to deflate, Sabrina, why (absent a major decline in the USD) do you think interest rates will soon rise?

    “What a mess this housing market is. The Fed . . . still don’t get it that it’s an affordability problem. When rates rise further that will get even worse.”

  128. ” Maybe it’s my midwestern sensibilities, but I find it shocking, just shocking, that an $850,000 bucktown home is still subpar for a family of four.”

    This! Post WWII motto now being printed and sold at your favorite suburban t-shirt shop. It’s not even so much the $850k price of the house that’s in question, but rather the fact that a smaller city house is considered “subpar” for proper family living by the suburban masses. Had this house been listed at $350k it would still be considered roughing it by the same group – no big play yard, small rooms, spitting distance to your closest neighbor, questionable schools for the children. Urban living requires sacrifice regardless of your means and it’s certainly not for everyone. That’s why we have suburbs and Pop Tarts as many people just don’t require anything that remotely resembles a challenge. Embrace what’s in your comfort zone, but spare the judgement on the family who finds this type of living to be just fine.

  129. gringozecarioca on July 11th, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    ” so the smart money is cashing out from chinese real estate before their market implodes and putting it into something undervalued, or what they deem as undervalued based upon their currency and such”

    Their currency is only up about 10% in 4-5 years. It’s simply a play to diversify assets away from their gov’ts reach.. Wouldn’t you?

  130. jay, I don’t understand your post. The point is the current owners are selling for $850k. I think many people could take $850 and find a house they could live in for a long, long time. But cram a family of four into an $850k SFH in Bucktown and the turnover is crazy.

  131. The house on Cortland is the size of house I was raised in HD, and we had five not four. My parents were and still are counter cultural beings who turned their backs on their inherited privledges and the big suburban house that they were expected to have; we were hardly the poors, but still, I never had my own bedroom and we all shared one bath. My parents felt that environment in which we were raised would have a larger impact on our adult lives, for better or worse, than the size and amenities of our house itself. True, the people who can afford and buy this house for $850K will probably not contribute many average Joe experiences to an already expensive neighborhood, but the limited size that this “cramed” house already possesses, and the fact that the best and worst of humanity is literally outside the front door, will be felt by and mold its inhabitants.

    Amazingly enough, none of my siblings nor myself ever look back today and think that we were cramed or denied a fulfilling childhood because we were raised in a smaller house – a large house and lifestyle *especially* one that cannot be reasonably afforded, is an inauthentic existence for the benefit/ego of the parents, not the children.

  132. ” I think many people could take $850 and find a house they could live in for a long, long time. But cram a family of four into an $850k SFH in Bucktown and the turnover is crazy.”

    That’s right. $850K can buy most people a house they don’t feel cramped in. Sure you can live the urban cramped life, but it shouldn’t cost $850K. Just move to Norridge for $400K and live large, still urban, and have another $400K to spend on real culture, like trips to Europe. What culture is in Bucktown anyway?

  133. HD Bait:

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/realestate/20140715/CRED0701/140719918/old-irving-park-emerges-as-a-new-hot-spot-for-homebuilders?r=1884A2289467B0U

  134. [title of chicago biz article:] “Old Irving Park emerges as a new hot spot for homebuilders”

    bc, after all, the draws inlcude “the Disney II magnet school and restaurateur Homaru Cantu’s plan to open an edgy coffee house and an organic brewery in the neighborhood”

    the bigger lots are certainly nice. and my wife ran into an old acquaintance the other day who loved belding.

  135. OIP is great. Loved it there. Not all that different from Park Ridge except there are less victorian homes. Lots of double city lots, and lots of tree canopy. Far less riff-raff in park ridge though.

  136. Value is the other draw. Safety however is a concern. Don’t travel south of Addison too much. It’s like a third world country.

  137. ” Don’t travel south of Addison too much. It’s like a third world country.”

    Yeah, guys hanging out in their side yards not wearing pants and the wafting smell of the neighbors’ picadillos (or is that picadilloes?).

  138. Or peccadillos?

  139. “Or peccadillos?”

    No no. It was definitely a complaint about the neighbors’ picadillo(s/es) in neighborhoods like Avondale. A CC classic.

  140. speaking of “A CC classic.”

    According to CC’ers these seem to be the places that should only be rented, never bought:
    -Anything near the EL
    -Anything too far from the EL
    -Anything above a restaurant or certain types of stores
    -Anything on the first floor / garden level
    -Anything with less than 3 bedrooms
    -Anything without a dedicated parking space, generally covered and heated
    -Anything within 1/2 mile of public housing
    -Anything on a main street (Clybourn, Belmont, etc. etc.)
    -Anything without central air, in unit w/d
    -Most things made since 2003-ish (they are all cookie cutter, low quality, cinder-block types)
    -Any SFH not on a standard size lot or larger

    Add “nothing west of Western” (TB)
    only rent places with 1 bathroom (sonies)
    Anyting In Uptown
    Anything with wood-burning fire places
    Duplex cannot be duplex down (Question)
    something about suitable or unsuitable for vampires?

    So…
    not on damen
    not without 1 person 1 bath
    not with hobos
    not in the woods
    not without dogs
    not without giant land tortoises
    not with kids
    not if pricier than 2002
    not with renters
    not in nortcenter backwaters
    not in a church
    not with deerhead
    not without foodhole cut fruit

    try it, try it…

    not with gas fireplaces
    not without crackling, pretty flames and pokers GatorDeck?”

  141. RiverNorthBuyer on July 17th, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Hey guys, I ran into this website while researching about condo market in River North. I bought a live in investment MFH 2 years ago. It has been a great investment that generates very good cash flow. I live here for rent free, get my mortgage, insurance, utilities bills paid for by tenants and make decent amount of cash every month. I now want to move downtown in River North or the Loop to be closer to work and the young crowd.

    From what I read, it’s best to buy at least a 2 beds condo. However, I can only get a nice 1bed/1bath for the loan amount I’m pre approved, like the condos in the 400 N Lasalle or the Sterling building. There are some 2bed/1bath condo in the same price range but my broker told me the building used cheap materials like the 630 N Franklin (there is a special assessment going on to fix all the balcony). From my calculation and using the historic rental data from MLS, I can cover my mortgage if I rent out the condo so that is a peace of mind for me.

    Given that the price of condos in River North is almost at the peak level in 2008. What do you guys think of the condo market in River North/Loop in the future? I plan to live there for at least a year or two.

  142. LOL good stuff icarus

  143. I get the feeling that most of the Cribchatterers have never ventured out in most parts of Chicagoland, especially to points South and Southwest. (And no, a once-a-year trip to the South Side St. Patrick’s Day parade doesn’t count.)

  144. “No no. It was definitely a complaint about the neighbors’ picadillo(s/es) in neighborhoods like Avondale. A CC classic.”

    In Avondale, you sure it wasn’t a caponera?
    http://chicago.curbed.com/archives/2014/07/16/everything-you-need-to-know-about-having-chickens.php

  145. southsiders try to post on cc but the lag presents quite a hurdle for dial up modems.

  146. Icarus, that’s a great list! I agree with almost everything on the list with just a few exceptions.

    I wouldn’t mind living near chickens. Their squawking is amusing. I would rather live near a chicken coop than someone who is always outside cooking stuff.

  147. I’m a south sider.

  148. “ventured out in most parts of Chicagoland, especially to points South and Southwest”

    Why would we want to go to Naperville? Or Joliet?

  149. “Icarus, that’s a great list! I agree with almost everything on the list with just a few exceptions.”

    There is a reason for that …

  150. “Icarus, that’s a great list! I agree with almost everything on the list with just a few exceptions.”

    Maybe that’s bc *I* put together the part you agree w as a tribute to you.

  151. Great post, Icarus.

    I think if any potential Chicago real estate buyer thought, “What would Crib Chatter think?” before considering a purchase, they’d be renting until death. Finding the property that meets “unicorn criteria”, without being a millionaire, is like searching for a Malaysian Airlines’ blackbox.

    Also, apparently you need to add “nothing south of Addison” to that list, because nothing good in Chicago is south of Addison. :-/

  152. “Finding the property that meets “unicorn criteria”, without being a millionaire”

    Unicorn Criteria *includes* a price component–I never claimed that Anonny wouldn’t be able to easily satisfy all his requirements at some price, it was finding that one property that satisfied everything and was listed for less than $X. Just using ‘Unicorn Criteria’ means that it is vanishingly difficult to meet the criteria at your price point–not that the criteria are had to find if you are a Pritzker.

    Also, they’ve found two Malaysian Airlines black boxes in Ukraine, so that’s not that hard.

  153. Hot Market?????

    we sold our 2 BR 2 BA lincoln square condo in 2008 for 327K. We had bought it for 325K in 2004, and worried we paid too much.

    Fast forward to July 2014 and the current owners of our Lincoln Square condo sold it at a loss for 290K, (after they remodeled the basement).

    Meanwhile we rented for two years, looked around, and bought a 275K single family home in the Near NW burbs. We fixed it up, and are quite happy here. This is after being hard core city dwellers for ALL OUR LIVES.

    I don’t miss much about where we used live, except feeling ‘cooler than suburbanites”.

  154. QuestionPlease on July 18th, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    I’m looking at a condo in the 330 W Grand (Grand Orleans) building. Has anyone here lived there? What do you guys think of it? The condo is nice, not much of a view, decent price for the area.

    What do you think of the River North condo market? Will it continue to go up even at almost the peak level?

  155. Steve Heitman on July 18th, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Hey Sabrina,

    Don’t you wish you were a land owner in Lincoln Park? Vacant lots in east LP are selling for $1.3 million. That’s about 30% higher than 2008. Who could have known?

    Question is should we continue to hold, or should we sell into the rich man’s buying spree?

  156. “Also, apparently you need to add “nothing south of Addison” to that list, because nothing good in Chicago is south of Addison. :-/

    South of Addison only west of Pulaski.

  157. gringozecarioca on July 20th, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Is Steve bragging about a 4.5% y/o/y return??? Wait, on borrowed money that’s a return of… Oh, never mind.

  158. “Is Steve bragging about a 4.5% y/o/y return???”

    From bubble ~~peak. Like getting a 4.5% y/o/y on Nasdaq composite since Feb-00. It’s more like ~12%pa since trough, but then you have to have timed it right….

  159. “From bubble ~~peak. Like getting a 4.5% y/o/y on Nasdaq composite since Feb-00. It’s more like ~12%pa since trough, but then you have to have timed it right….”

    One could probably assume that housing was bought on “margin” and leveraging those returns up to 5-10x.

  160. gringozecarioca on July 22nd, 2014 at 5:11 am

    How is 30%, since 2008, 12%pa???

    Chuk.. That’s why many prefer to look at returns risk adjusted. Helps keep apples to apples.

  161. “How is 30%, since 2008, 12%pa???”

    bc it is ~75% since 2009, when it was off 25% from peak. bc Stevo marks to whatever makes his predictions look best.

  162. This has been dragging down overall sales. Even though total sales are still down year-over-year.

  163. “What do you think of the River North condo market? Will it continue to go up even at almost the peak level?”

    Will mortgage rates stay as low as they are right now? Or will they rise?
    Will the investor-buyers stay interested in the game?
    How many rental towers will be converted to condos and how soon will it begin? In prior cycles, they built apartments and then there a ton of conversions. Thousands of apartments are still on the docket.

  164. “we sold our 2 BR 2 BA lincoln square condo in 2008 for 327K. We had bought it for 325K in 2004, and worried we paid too much.

    Fast forward to July 2014 and the current owners of our Lincoln Square condo sold it at a loss for 290K, (after they remodeled the basement).”

    Thanks for checking in with your story Mary. This is what I’ve been saying for awhile. The market is literally block by block. Sometimes building by building. It’s not true that “every” property in River North is seeing big appreciation. Some buildings are doing much better than others for reasons unknown. Same with Lincoln Park. Some price points are seeing big gains and in others, sellers are selling for less than what they paid just a few years ago.

    It seems the further you get away from the core, the weaker the market. I see plenty of sellers in Lakeview, North Center, Lincoln Square, Uptown and even “hot” Andersonville still losing money- some after holding for over 10 years.

    There are also some properties that are coming back onto the market month after month after not selling. Sometimes the price is lowered, sometimes it’s not.

    It’s a strange market. It’s certainly not healthy or normal.

  165. “So the low-end of the housing market is still deflating.”

    Sure. There are 7500 empty lots in Englewood near where they are going to build the Whole Foods. Why aren’t developers moving in there to build middle class housing? Surely, they can get many of those lots for cheap. A woman who lives in the neighborhood jokingly says her closest neighbor is a mile away but she really wasn’t kidding.

    The rich are getting richer off the Fed policy (art, housing, stocks, bonds) and because incomes aren’t rising the middle class and poor aren’t going anywhere.

    By the way- $400,000 for a house isn’t middle class. In most areas, even $200,000 for a house isn’t really middle class. The housing market is massively distorted.

    Oh- and wojo- the BOE is about to raise rates. The Fed will be behind curve and will raise rates late here- well after bubbles are formed everywhere. There is already a housing bubble in SF, Miami and NYC.

    Asset inflation like this never ends well.

  166. “From the graph it looks like purchase applications, while at the lower end of the recent range, have been pretty flat for years. I see nothing to get worried about there. I think refinancings have dropped off because mortgage rates have not hit new lows. And the reason people are paying cash is because they can’t do anything decent with their money. Part of the reason I bought a house, and with a large down payment, is because I couldn’t find anything better to do with the money.”

    Wow. Where to start with this?

    Without the all cash buyers, there would be no market. This is why Arizona and Las Vegas are again in trouble. Prices crashed, investors stepped in to buy with cash, prices rose, investors thought, “hm…not a deal anymore” and stopped buying. Prices are too high for the “regular” buyer now so prices are again collapsing.

    Good times!

    Take away the 20% of cash buyers above the historic norm and we are back, nationally, to sales levels of 2009-2010. And this is with historically low mortgage rates. What happens when mortgage rates rise to even 5%? (heaven forbid even higher.)

    Sales will grind to a halt until prices move lower. But that means more losses for homeowners. So I expect inventories to remain low for the near future. People will simply be trapped in their property (again).

    It’s all about affordability. The median home price in Chicago is rising because the rich aren’t priced out. The lower end of the market is dead as a doornail because incomes haven’t risen in years. It’s simple math. If home prices rise 20% but your income doesn’t, you can’t afford to buy it.

  167. “Take away the 20% of cash buyers above the historic norm and we are back, nationally, to sales levels of 2009-2010.”

    As if cash buyers don’t count?

  168. Steve Heitman on July 25th, 2014 at 1:17 am

    I’m using the cash i made flipping homes i bought in 2009 to buy new properties today. Is that bad Sabrina? Oh, and I’m not Asian…

  169. “Prices are too high for the “regular” buyer now so prices are again collapsing.”

    Really?

  170. “Prices crashed, investors stepped in to buy with cash, prices rose, investors thought, “hm…not a deal anymore” and stopped buying. Prices are too high for the “regular” buyer now so prices are again collapsing.”

    that sounds like a pretty normal market to me??? Or am I crazy or still drunk this morning?
    Clearly you haven’t been taking any economics courses like we reccommended…

  171. Prices are not too high enough!

  172. gringozecarioca on July 25th, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Só first the problemas was people buying with 100% financing, and now somehow the problem are the people buying with 0% financing. I feel dumber and dumber and dumber every day, as my ability to comprehend things seems to be getting less and less.

  173. “that sounds like a pretty normal market to me??? Or am I crazy or still drunk this morning?”

    Ima go with 3 for 3.

  174. “I feel dumber and dumber and dumber every day, as my ability to comprehend things seems to be getting less and less.”

    Well you’re just going with the flow then as I feel society is getting dumber and dumber, then again I might just be getting older and crankier… or maybe reality TV really is melting everybody’s brains?

  175. “that sounds like a pretty normal market to me???”

    Investors have historically not been more than 5% to 10% of the market. So why is 30% “normal?” It’s not.

    Oh- and double digit price appreciation year over year? That’s not normal either. The only time that has happened nationally has been in bubbles. Heck, even the Bay Area doesn’t have double digit price increases every year over the last 20 years.

  176. “Prices are too high for the “regular” buyer now so prices are again collapsing.”

    “Really?”

    Chuk: It’s so obvious it’s staring you in the face. Just look at the data. Numbers don’t lie.

    Oh- just saw a listing in New Orleans in an area that isn’t even considered “prime” and the agent said in the listing: “Buy now before prices keep going up.” The house sold in 2010 for $240,000 and was listed at $430,000.

    Yeah- that’s “normal.” In New Orleans- where there is NO business base to support $400,000 houses.

  177. “Take away the 20% of cash buyers above the historic norm and we are back, nationally, to sales levels of 2009-2010.”

    “As if cash buyers don’t count?”

    Not when they go away Gary (as they are already doing.) THEN where’s the housing market? What’s the Fed going to do then to “save” it and the middle class American buyer?

    Oh wait- there is NOTHING they can do to save it at that point. So the largest asset Americans own will again be sinking.

    Good times.

  178. There are cash buyers and then there are investors and sometimes the two groups overlap. Cash buyers reflect poor alternative uses of cash. Investors reflect prices being too low. Cash buyers will not simply go away…they will start taking out mortgages when they can do something better with their cash. Again, I only focus on the Chicago market and things still look pretty good.

  179. “Cash buyers will not simply go away…they will start taking out mortgages when they can do something better with their cash. Again, I only focus on the Chicago market and things still look pretty good.”

    Cash buyers will go back to historic norms. 5% to 10% of all purchases. You think they’re all willing to spend cash now instead of taking out a mortgage at near record low mortgage rates? ha! ha! ha!

    With stocks at record highs?

    ha! ha! ha!

    No- these are investors. Many of them from out of the country. When they go away- then what? That’s another huge drop in sales.

    Prices will fall with that big of a sales drop. It’s already happening in Phoenix and Las Vegas, where the cash buyers are leaving the game.

    The “normal” buyer who is using a mortgage is in for higher costs over the next few years. Unless incomes really spike, no way they can pay these prices. The data tells the tale already. The “normal” buyer is already out of the game.

  180. No, the cash buyers won’t go away. They will become mortgage buyers. That’s my point.

  181. When stocks are at record highs that’s the perfect time to get out of stocks and get into something else. Investment property inventory keeps dropping. Prices are still way lower than they were years ago so real estate is still looking like a good deal. And investors don’t just come and go all at once. As prices rise investors will diminish their purchases and keep prices from rising as fast.

  182. “No, the cash buyers won’t go away. They will become mortgage buyers. That’s my point.”

    No- they won’t. That’s MY point.

    Who can afford to buy all cash? Only the rich. I don’t know many middle class buyers going, “hmmm…maybe I’ll go buy a house with that cash I’ve been saving the last 3 years.”

    How many rich people already don’t own houses? Not many. They are buying as investors. Those buyers will eventually leave the market and it will go back to historic norms which is 5% to 10% of all purchases. We are still 20% above the norm (even though all cash buyers have dropped from around 40% to 30%.)

    The all cash buyer isn’t suddenly going to take on a mortgage when rates go UP. That makes it MORE expensive for them to borrow, not less. These people aren’t morons. They should be borrowing as much money as possible right now so they can leverage the cash somewhere else. Why would you put it in an asset class that historically has grown just 1% to 3%?

    But then, this entire housing market is distorted by the Fed. Once the Fed starts raising rates, it will get even worse.

  183. I’ve recently been involved in several cash transactions that were not investors. In two cases they were buying the condos for their kids. In one case they were selling one place and buying another – to live in. When you ask them what they are doing they will tell you they have nothing better to do with their money. I’ve seen first time homebuyers looking to pay cash.

    The only investors I encounter are the ones looking to buy the multi-units. It’s really hard to buy condos for investments because so many buildings have rental caps and even if they don’t or if they are below the cap it’s too risky that at some point in the future they won’t be able to rent it out.

    Flippers are a little different. They might pay cash but then they sell the place pretty quickly so the purchase and the sale cancel each other out and they’re adding value to the whole chain of events.

  184. “And investors don’t just come and go all at once.”

    Of course they do. Blackstone was buying thousands of houses, including in Chicago, and now they’re not. Poof! Gone, just like that. And what happens when they want to dump the houses?

  185. If I’m not mistaken Blackstone was buying crap shacks because they were dirt cheap. Now there are far fewer crap shacks for sale and the prices have gone up. So the demand has gone down with the supply and if the prices were to go down again then they would probably step back in.

  186. “Chuk: It’s so obvious it’s staring you in the face. Just look at the data. Numbers don’t lie.”

    But people do…

  187. Sabrina… Foreign investors have increased the amount of cash purchases in homes here in the city. Look at the numbers! You can’t get mortgages unless you’re a US citizen, so they have to pay cash. Also just because you paid in cash (to perhaps lock up a deal you REALLY want since inventory is limited, you can mortgage that property at any time.

    Numbers are showing that the city is out performing the metro area once again. Wonder why that is?

  188. “What happens when mortgage rates rise to even 5%?”

    I believe we’ve officially hit boy-who-cried-wolf status on this. You’ve been saying rates will rise above 5% *tomorrow* for well over a year now. I half suspect you only keep this site running just so that when it does eventually happen you will be able to say I TOLD YOU SO!!!!

  189. sabrina has become as deulsional as Bill Ackman on his Herbalife short position…

  190. “sabrina has become as deulsional as Bill Ackman on his Herbalife short position”

    I doubt that sabrina has 9-figures plus riding on her bet…

  191. isn’t a billion 10 figures though?

  192. Yes, doesn’t his strategy shift to ~40% options limit his current investment somewhat?

    Plus, I thought 9 was dramatic enough, given that it’s still at least 2 more than is realistically out there on the 10.

    btw–seem to be staying ‘logged in’ better now.

  193. “I believe we’ve officially hit boy-who-cried-wolf status on this. You’ve been saying rates will rise above 5% *tomorrow* for well over a year now. I half suspect you only keep this site running just so that when it does eventually happen you will be able to say I TOLD YOU SO!!!!”

    I don’t know when it’s going to happen. I’ve said that. But if you think it’s not going to go up (ala Japan) you’re in dreamland. GDP just printed at 4%! We’re making over 200,000 jobs a month consistently now. We’re fast approaching full employment. We haven’t been in a “financial crisis” for years- yet Fed policy is acting like we are.

    But as I’ve always said- they don’t know what they’re doing. And they’re going to leave it low for far longer than necessary with bad results. Money is never free but the central banks are acting like it is and that they can do this unprecedented money printing with NO consequences. But they can’t. What will they be? None of us really know- but I doubt it will be all roses and cookies.

    All asset classes are at record highs. It’s really not hard to understand that they can’t keep going up for forever (especially without incomes rising.) So how’s it all going to end? Badly. Stocks, bonds, housing, art and every thing else everyone is speculating on will reverse course. When? Who knows. Bubbles always last far longer than anyone can guess.

    I’m shocked that China is managing to keep it together this long with all the distortions over there. But at least that is keeping the world out of a major recession.

  194. By the way- I’m not the only one who gets it that rates are going up. But when?

    Hulbert thinks bond yields will be 4% by Thanksgiving! Wow. That would be a really dramatic bond sell-off if THAT were to happen. What would mortgage rates be? Closer to 6%.

    That would crash the housing market.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-the-10-year-treasury-could-yield-4-by-thanksgiving-2014-07-29

  195. “Numbers are showing that the city is out performing the metro area once again. Wonder why that is?”

    It’s only due to investors. Look at the parts of the city where the Chinese aren’t buying (as they will only buy in the “prestige” neighborhoods which doesn’t even include Bucktown.) It’s pretty dead in large swaths of the city right now. Heck, even Lincoln Square and those areas are dead. Sure, inventory is low. But that’s only masking that sales are also low.

    Everyone keeps arguing that if only inventory was higher, we’d see more sales. If that was true, there would be few price reductions because demand would be SO hot that people would buy anything. But they’re not.

    It’s a weird market. It’s literally block by block. It’s not even neighborhood specific anymore. It’s also price point. A million dollar townhouse in LP will sell far faster than a $180,000 studio or one bedroom even if it’s just up the street.

  196. “We’re fast approaching full employment.”

    Only if you believe that the job market participation rate of 2006/07 was *beyond* full employment–like 105% of full employment.

    “as they will only buy in the “prestige” neighborhoods which doesn’t even include Bucktown”

    But does include Chinatown?

  197. ” So how’s it all going to end? Badly. Stocks, bonds, housing, art and every thing else everyone is speculating on will reverse course. When? Who knows. Bubbles always last far longer than anyone can guess.”

    Knowing something will happen = 1% of the difficulty
    Knowing when something will happen = 99% of the difficulty

    Everyone “knew” there was a .com bubble when the naz was at 2500. It then went up to 5k before it burst.

  198. “But does include Chinatown?’

    You are so misinformed. Bridgeport is the new Chinatown.

  199. “GDP just printed at 4%!”
    So uh wow 2% GDP for the year… BOOM TIMES WOW

    “We’re making over 200,000 jobs a month consistently now.”
    Also a pathetic number this far into a recovery.

    Also for you clowns that think rates are going to skyrocket any time soon…

    Other country 10 year bonds
    Lets take around the top 10 developed countries for comparison
    USA 2.5%
    China 4.2%
    Japan 0.53%
    Germany 1.17%
    France 1.55%
    U.K 2.6%
    Switzerland 0.54%
    Italy 2.7%
    Canada 2.1%
    Netherlands 1.36%
    Eurobonds 2.27%!

    By comparison US 10 years seem like a screaming bargain
    Spain 2.52%!!!

  200. “You are so misinformed. Bridgeport is the new Chinatown.”

    Ok, and is either one of them “prime”? bc Chicago’s Chinatown–defined however you like–is seeing Chinese foreign investment money.

  201. gringozecarioca on July 31st, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Ahh. Having to agree with chuckie… Knowing when… Priceless.
    Saddest thing about this time around, how do you get out when the taxes for doing só are going to make a giant mess of a break even enter point. Makes selling a huge problem…

  202. ” taxes for doing só are going to make a giant mess of a break even enter point.”

    Confused. If you have taxes, you are above break even. Or are you saying that if you sell now and pay taxes, you have to buy back in ever lower in order to breakeven vs had you stayed in?

  203. I assume he’s talking about the various real estate transfer fees. You’re talking ~6% of the sales price when all is said and done. Current loan balance +6% is the real under water/break even point on a property.

  204. “the various real estate transfer fees. You’re talking ~6% of the sales price”

    The only *required* fees are the 1.2% aggregate transfer tax, the cost of recording the deed ($40), and the water cert ($50). That’s a pretty cheap property if $90 is ~4.8% of the sales price.

    If you’re talking about the ‘customary’ cost of sale of residential real estate, sure, it’s going to be ~6%++, but those aren’t correctly described as ‘taxes’, even in typical Ze shorthand.

  205. gringozecarioca on July 31st, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Chuk,
    I am speaking about equities and saying exactly what you said after the word “or”.

  206. Sabrina out!

    Bye Crib chatter!

  207. By the way- the falling 10-year (and mortgage rates) haven’t done anything to boost the housing market. Sales are still as weak as they were at the beginning of the year. So rates aren’t even the issue right now (until they go higher and then even more homebuyers will be priced out.)

    It’s about affordability. Average Americans can’t afford a $300,000 house. That’s not middle class. And they certainly aren’t buying $400,000+ either. Look at the mix of what is selling in Chicago right now. Only the luxury market is halfway decent (because of the stock market.)

    Oh- and did anyone else see the data about how investors are now pulling out of Cook County? That has to do with the distressed sales- as Gary pointed out. With Blackstone and others no longer buying- what happens to the market? Oh yeah- it’s not there anymore.

  208. “It’s about affordability. ”

    Housing is still way more affordable than at the peak of the bubble and the non-distressed segment of the market is just fine. And regular investors are still climbing all over each other to buy up anything that looks halfway decent. The inventory of 2 – 4 flats keeps hitting new lows.

  209. “Housing is still way more affordable than at the peak of the bubble and the non-distressed segment of the market is just fine. And regular investors are still climbing all over each other to buy up anything that looks halfway decent. The inventory of 2 – 4 flats keeps hitting new lows.”

    Housing is “affordable” only because rates are, once again, near record lows. It’s only barely keeping people in the game- and, frankly, not really, because in many areas affordability is worse than it was at the peak of the bubble (also because buyers have to have at least 5% down now- and it was 0% back then.)

    All of the data supports this. That’s why mortgage apps continue to be at 20 year lows. Why oh why isn’t anyone buying a house with rates near record lows, the best job market since the 1990s, the stock market at record highs? Why oh why?

    Oh, wait- I know why. Prices are TOO HIGH. They can’t afford it.

    It’s laughable what has happened to this market, really.

    The only thing that will cure this housing market is lower prices. Until then- it’s dead as a doornail.

  210. “Why oh why isn’t anyone buying a house with rates near record lows…
    The only thing that will cure this housing market is lower prices. Until then- it’s dead as a doornail.”

    2657 someones bought homes last month in Chicago so that’s hardly dead as a doornail.

  211. It’s 2002 level.

    Yawn.

    I thought this was a “great” market? And sooooo hot too.

    Oh wait- it’s NOT.

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