Chicago Market Conditions: September Sales Fall 3.7% YOY While Median Price Rises

tombstones in the gold coast Oct 2017

The Illinois Association of Realtors is out with the September home sales.

Sales have slipped from last year, which follows the trend that existed over the summer of weaker year-over-year sales.

The city of Chicago saw a 3.7 percent year-over-year home sales decline in September 2017 with 2,309 sales, down from 2,398 in September 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in September 2017 was $275,000, up 5.8 percent compared to September 2016 when it was $260,000.

September sales for the last 10 years:

  • 2007: 2172 sales
  • 2008: 1816 sales
  • 2009: 1918 sales
  • 2010: 1403 sales
  • 2011: 1498 sales
  • 2012: 1845 sales
  • 2013: 2395 sales
  • 2014: 2242 sales
  • 2015: 2414 sales
  • 2016: 2398 sales
  • 2017: 2309 sales

Median prices for the last 10 years:

  • 2007: $267,750
  • 2008: $268,600
  • 2009: $225,000
  • 2010: $180,000
  • 2011: $190,000
  • 2012: $188,900
  • 2013: $230,000
  • 2014: $249,000
  • 2015: $250,000
  • 2016: $260,000
  • 2017: $275,000

“Although the market has slowed somewhat from peak summer activity, it continues to push forward, with decreases in overall inventory and market time reflecting continued interest in investing in a home,” said Rebecca Thomson, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and Vice President of Agent Development at @properties.

“Moving into the colder months, pricing properties correctly will continue to be the key to capturing serious buyer attention, and quick decision making and flexibility will gain greater importance as inventory declines.”

Average time on the market fell again to just 51 days from 58 days a year ago.

Total statewide inventory plunged to 60,669 from 67,796 in September 2016.

The mortgage rates remained low, with the 30-year fixed averaging 3.81% from 3.46% last year.

“Housing inventory continues to dampen sales,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “This problem is reflected in the significant increases in the sales prices of foreclosed properties, increasing by over 15 percent compared to 5 percent for regular sales.”

Would we see record sales if they were actually building more new properties?

And with prices at all time highs, the baby boomers retiring, and presumably wanting to move to warmer climates with fewer taxes, why aren’t more properties coming on the market?

Strong buyer demand, lower inventory push Illinois home prices higher in September (Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, October 20, 2017)

 

297 Responses to “Chicago Market Conditions: September Sales Fall 3.7% YOY While Median Price Rises”

  1. I think the issue is that prices are NOT at all time highs and the Case Shiller index for the metro area shows that. Even in Chicago they are only at all time highs in some neighborhoods for some types of properties. And there are still plenty of people underwater in the area. In fact, I think Chicago leads the nation in underwater mortgages.

    In addition, I personally don’t think that prices have risen commensurate with the low inventory levels. If prices were higher the supply would come on the market because there are people who are still holding out for higher prices. But buyers aren’t having it. I see properties pulled and sometimes rented all the time because the seller is not happy with the price they can get.

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  2. I agree David. For one thing, the chart included with this article only goes back to 2007; weren’t the all-time high prices in 2006? Also, even someone who purchased a median priced home in 2007 (as per this chart) would still need to bring money to the table to cover closing costs.

    The situation is not much better for some people who purchased condos during other market highs in the ’80s and ’90s. They don’t need to bring money to the table, but they are pretty shocked when they realize how little their apartments have appreciated.

    One interesting observation from someone who’s been shopping for a while: the buildings with the most units turning over are the ones that don’t allow rentals or that have a tight cap on how many years an owner can rent out his/her unit. That would seem to support your thesis that a lot of people are just renting out their units. That leads me to a point I made last week: It’s possible to rent really nice condos right now, leave your money invested elsewhere, and come out ahead.

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  3. you can pretty much blame the lack of uncertainty regarding rising property taxes putting a damper on any crazy appreciation even in the primest parts of the green zone… some people don’t want to hitch themselves to that boat.

    Look at properties in other parts of the country, prices have skyrocketed compared to here… then again if Amazon chooses us, I would expect the same to happen once they pick a site

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  4. Sonies nailed it with the recent property tax hikes, water & garbage rate hikes, income tax hike, and all of the other ancillary fee increases by the city, county, and state. For those in the upper middle class, that’s not a huge deal. But for those who are in the middle class, and who are not members of a public sector union, your real wages have stagnated or decreased compare to where you were in 2000-2005. So these tax hikes are a real burden on when you can sell and how much you can afford. If you have children, are you really going to want to deal with the city violence or CPS test in magnet school game? It’s a whole lot easier to buy a larger, more affordable home in a middle class suburb and just deal with the slightly higher property taxes (it used to be a much larger property tax spread until all of the new hikes in the last 3 years). And the data from CPS confirms it. CPS has 21k fewer students compared to just two years ago. Some of that is due to a lower birth rate and less immigration, but not all of it.

    Sonies will you run for 27th ward Alderman already! You get it.

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  5. I think increasing the state income tax is going to hurt property values. All working people get a 1.2% decrease in salary. That increase isn’t being used to make the state a better place to live. It’s simply lining the pockets of retired union members.

    New buyers tend to ignore property taxes when looking at a house. I’ve had friends send me links to properties they were considering making offers on and I would say things like, “Awesome house, but you might want to take a look at those property taxes. They seem high.” They would respond by saying that they didn’t even think to look at that part and that they loved that house so they were going to go for it anyway. One of my suburban friends pays more in property taxes than she does for her mortgage. It’s ridiculous, but people fall in love with a house and ignore the property taxes until they get hit with their first bill. Buying a house in a largely emotional choice for many people. They will continue to buy regardless of the taxes. On the other hand, they do notice when they get a decrease in pay or costs for insurance go up.

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  6. “For those in the upper middle class, that’s not a huge deal. ”

    I disagree, its a really big deal as these folks have the means to move the hell outta here, and these folks are paying a huge chunk of taxes since their incomes are high, usually with an accompanying higher property value and shopping and income and well, anything that gets taxed a lot

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  7. “I think Chicago leads the nation in underwater mortgages”

    Perhaps in total number, but as a percentage, Nope:

    Among “large” metros, it is #1, Miami (14.7 percent), #2, Las Vegas (12.2 percent), #3, Chicago (10.8 percent)

    https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2017/09/21/report-underwater-mortgages-in-metro-atlanta-drop.html

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  8. “Sonies will you run for 27th ward Alderman already!”

    ew no! While I’d love to displace that bonehead Burnett, I don’t want to suck that much cock to take a massive pay cut… LOL

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  9. “water & garbage rate hikes”

    My bill is *still* less annually than my unmetered bill was 8 years ago.

    Water and garbage is *still* super cheap in Chicago.

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  10. “Perhaps in total number, but as a percentage, Nope:

    Among “large” metros, it is #1, Miami (14.7 percent), #2, Las Vegas (12.2 percent), #3, Chicago (10.8 percent)”

    I guess it depends on the data source. That was CoreLogic. This is from Attom Data Solutions (RealtyTrac): http://www.chicagobusiness.com/realestate/20170817/CRED0701/170819869/2-more-depressing-statistics-for-chicago-area-homeowners

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  11. “One of my suburban friends pays more in property taxes than she does for her mortgage”

    Wife and I bought a house in near north 5 years ago, this is our situation now, taxes+ins now more than the mortgage and the taxes are going up again next year. We also had a successful appeal which only netted us a 33% increase versus possible 38-40%. Here’s my anecdotal nonscientific boots on the ground assessment: There is a flood of neighbors 60+ and young families selling all at once here, houses and townhouses are often under contract in a few days assuming they are priced right. Wilmette, Elmhurst and Glen Ellyn are the top outgoing family spots whith a few CA transfers. The olds are moving to FL and AZ enmasse. There’s going to be some interesting demographic data next census, Im not seeing new families moving in anymore, just middle aged DINKs and investors looking to rent townhouses as a business.

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  12. “a larger, more affordable home in a middle class suburb”

    Which ones? I’d like a (true) 6,000 sf house for under $750k, walking distance to the Metra stop, and a HS that’s better than Lane Tech (Gayle tells me I live in the attendance area!!).

    “CPS has 21k fewer students compared to just two years ago. Some of that is due to a lower birth rate and less immigration, but not all of it.”

    Most of it is A-A families leaving south and west side–15,000 fewer A-A students, a 10% decrease in 2 years.

    If you take the oldest data on the CPS website (Sep-98), the A-A student population is down 40%, while overall student count is down “only” 13.8%; thus, the non-A-A CPS student population is UP 16% (~30k kids) since 98-99.

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  13. “I guess it depends on the data source. ”

    CoreLogic sez 10% underwater *at all*, and Attom sez 17.2% more than 25% underwater??

    If 17.2% are “seriously underwater”, certainly a equal or greater number are underwater, but less than 25%. Do you really believe that over 1 in 3 homeowners with a mortgage in metro Chicago are underwater?

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  14. I don’t know about 1 in 3 but I find it plausible that Chicago is worse than other metro areas (except maybe now that there is hurricane destruction) and I find it plausible that 1 in 4 could be underwater. There are entire towns and neighborhoods that are still decimated on the south side mostly and plenty of western neighborhoods.

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  15. Which ones? I’d like a (true) 6,000 sf house for under $750k, walking distance to the Metra stop, and a HS that’s better than Lane Tech (Gayle tells me I live in the attendance area!!).

    So you want to pay $125/sf? LOL

    Not that there’s a ton of stock but you could find something (Other than the 6,000sf) in Elmhurst/Wheaton/Glen Ellyn

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  16. I went back and checked. In the 4th quarter of 2006, the median home price in Chicago was $290 thousand — $15 thousand more than last month’s median price.

    Interestingly, in the first quarter of 1980, the median price was $183.7 thousand. The imaginary person who purchased the median priced home that year saw 58% appreciation spread over 37 years.

    While I was checking figures, I noted that there are still a lot of markets in the country where ten-year appreciation growth rates look similar to Chicago’s, especially in the Rust Belt. Detroit is the worst off, Minneapolis the best, but all (inc. Pittsburgh and St. Louis) have been a little slow in recovering.

    Having said all of that, I agree that Illinois and Chicago property taxes are becoming an issue, especially for people who own in-towns. It seems like a lot of the units I am looking at are in-towns.

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  17. I should note that the prices I used in looking at historic levels are all in 2015 dollars — in other words, the are adjusted for inflation. That makes the 1980 figure a little less frightening, but it is still a little sobering.

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  18. “So you want to pay $125/sf? LOL”

    Larger, and “more affordable” in a “middle class” suburb.

    Yeah, that’s what would be necessary to check all 3 of those boxes. Could settle for true 4,000 square feet, but that better be under $550k.

    Anyway, neither of the Wheaton HS, nor any of the Glenbards is as good as Lane Tech, so that’s out.

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  19. “That makes the 1980 figure a little less frightening, but it is still a little sobering.”

    Inflation plus 1% is *high* by historical standards for the Chicago market. Generally ranges from about +0.5 to +1.0. Which tells you how wacky the prices were in 06.

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  20. “I find it plausible that 1 in 4 could be underwater.”

    Using Attom’s data, that would mean that less than 8% are underwater by 0.1% to 24.9%, with the other 17% more than 25% underwater. That doesn’t track. Would need to know how they are modeling that.

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  21. I have a question about “under water mortgages”. Do the figures take into account the actual cost to the seller of selling a home, or do they just compare home value to money owed? I’m guessing there are plenty of owners not technically underwater but still short the 6%-10% premium they would need at closing.

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  22. So you’ve bumped the $/sf up to $137, that should open up a lot of options… I’m sure that there’s a lot of stock in NC that meets this criteria

    Lane is selective, no? So that doesn’t guarantee enrollment Vs the right address in Glen Ellyn would get a kid into Glenbard West or most of Elmhurst – York

    So the comparison is a vastly larger/cheaper house and a better school that your child might not qualify for enrollment.

    If thats your criteria for moving out of the city, fine. But its not even an apples to Bananas comparison. There are viable options for many that meet the criteria initially listed

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  23. “Interestingly, in the first quarter of 1980, the median price was $183.7 thousand. The imaginary person who purchased the median priced home that year saw 58% appreciation spread over 37 years.”

    wow, that is frightening. what a terrible terrible investment Chicago real estate was/is.

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  24. you sure there wasn’t an extra zero on that 1980 median price? that seems extremely high…

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  25. “Anyway, neither of the Wheaton HS, nor any of the Glenbards is as good as Lane Tech, so that’s out.”

    A friend of mine went to Lane in the late 90s. Here is what she experienced at that school. I doubt it’s changed:

    1. Half of the lockers were broken and the school didn’t bother to fix them. It was against school policy to allow students to share lockers. She had a broken locker and had to share with a friend even thought it violated school policy.

    2. Disgusting, uneducated security guards everywhere who imposed nonsensical rules and basically tried to stomp all over the students so that they could feel a modicum of control.

    3. Teacher who sexually harassed the boys and was allowed to stay in the school because of tenure. When parents complained, they moved the students to different classrooms.

    4. Teacher vacancies that were not allowed to be filled by anyone but African Americans. She had a substitute gym teacher all year once because they couldn’t find an African American for that job.

    5. Rats and mice living in the lockers. Lunch couldn’t be stored in the lockers because rats would eat it.

    6. Regular group punishments as opposed to punishing individual students for wrong doing.

    7. Teachers who didn’t actually teach and instead gave students fill-in-the-blank worksheets to fill out during class time.

    8. Re-doing the tar roof while school was in session and having the students exposed to the smell of tar for long periods while it was happening.

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  26. ” I doubt it’s changed”

    Yeah, just like the city hasn’t changed in 20 years. Everything is exactly the same!

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  27. ““Anyway, neither of the Wheaton HS, nor any of the Glenbards is as good as Lane Tech, so that’s out.””

    I also find this quite hard to believe

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  28. “There are viable options for many that meet the criteria initially listed”

    Not in premium school districts, other than Stevenson, no, there aren’t–not that are (meaningfully) larger (yes, you will be guaranteed more grass) and (meaningfully) more affordable (which, too me, has a huuge time component).

    If one is ok with a HS that is essentially on par with Taft (which, btw, is essentially a fine school), yeah, of course there are lots of viable options. But if you’re moving to get away from “horrible CPS” then there aren’t nearly so many that represent a real improvement.

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  29. “I also find this quite hard to believe”

    What’s your standard?

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  30. “>Interestingly, in the first quarter of 1980, the median price was $183.7 >thousand. The imaginary person who purchased the median priced home that >year saw 58% appreciation spread over 37 years.

    wow, that is frightening. what a terrible terrible investment Chicago real estate was/is.”

    This is not how medians work.

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  31. ” I doubt it’s changed”

    Man, when are they gonna finish that roof?

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  32. The problem is that Chicago really is a tale of 2 cities. The South and West sides drag down the average quite significantly. Were the South and West sides as bad during 1989? I would like a study of only the North-side.

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  33. “Do the figures take into account the actual cost to the seller of selling a home, or do they just compare home value to money owed? I’m guessing there are plenty of owners not technically underwater but still short the 6%-10% premium they would need at closing.”

    The way these releases are typically worded it suggests that the transaction costs are not factored in. So, yes, from a seller’s perspective things are worse.

    “Using Attom’s data, that would mean that less than 8% are underwater by 0.1% to 24.9%, with the other 17% more than 25% underwater. That doesn’t track. Would need to know how they are modeling that.”

    Yeah, I get that. The way Attom does it is they are using some “industry standard valuation model” (auto black box) and comparing to the mortgages on record. I’m just saying that the truth is probably more than just 10.8% and probably less than 34% but whatever errors they have are probably affecting all cities on the list approximately the same.

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  34. Average ACT for Lane Tech is 24.1 (74%), average for Chicago is 20 (50%).

    Benet Academy 29 (92%), New Trier 27.5 (89%), Hinsdale Central 26.8 (87%), even Naperville North comes in at over 25 (80%).

    If I ever had a kid in the city, I would have to take a hard look at my options. Unless they can get into Lane, Lincoln Park HS, Walter Payton, etc. you might get screwed. The western suburbs tend to have better deals than the richer north shore, but you can get away with either. Private schools like Benet are also good options if you local one is lacking (it’s also about 1/4 of the price of comparatively scoring college prep schools).

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  35. Not in premium school districts, other than Stevenson, no, there aren’t–not that are (meaningfully) larger (yes, you will be guaranteed more grass) and (meaningfully) more affordable (which, too me, has a huuge time component).
    If one is ok with a HS that is essentially on par with Taft (which, btw, is essentially a fine school), yeah, of course there are lots of viable options. But if you’re moving to get away from “horrible CPS” then there aren’t nearly so many that represent a real improvement.

    I’ll disagree that Glenbard West or York is a step down from Lane, Glenbard East, sure. Additionally, you didn’t address the comment that one is not guaranteed a slot. (Unless NC is now Lake Woebegone and all the kids are above average)

    And while commute is a real cost, You’re probably looking at $150-300k less in comparable housing costs. I would consider that meaningful.

    Also for those that arent in the market for an $750k house, those suburban areas do offer options for those of more UMC/MC means.

    Not saying one is better or worse, but IMO it seems logical that Mike’s initial point is valid, your personal unicorn aside

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  36. I mean I don’t know shit because i don’t care but Wheaton Warrenville south and Glenbard schools are historically very very good and you don’t have to test in to go there, is there really that big of a difference in ACT scores and AP classes and all that? I doubt it

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  37. “using some “industry standard valuation model” (auto black box) and comparing to the mortgages on record.”

    Prob not adjusting for any amortization of the mortgage debt, too. If you assume everything is an OARM, then there’s a problem.

    Also, many lenders aren’t great about getting releases recorded, so there’s an element of that that needs to be accounted for.

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  38. “Lane is selective, no? ”

    Gayle has told us multiple times here on the CC that certain homes are within the Lane attendance area. Is that not correct??? Crap, guess I will be HD’s neighbor soon.

    “Average ACT for Lane Tech is 24.1 (74%)”

    That’s like the 2012 score. 25.7 last year, and overall CPS average is actually 18.6 (which is scary bad).

    But, yeah, all those suburban schools do excel at having not-poor white kids for students.

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  39. Meh. I knew several people who applied to Lane and all were accepted. I don’t think it’s very selective. Maybe some of the other schools are selective, but Lane and Whitney Young are the worst of the selective enrollment schools.

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  40. “Mike’s initial point is valid”

    Well, if ‘middle class burb’ means Hinsdale or Glencoe, sure. Or if one is legitimately ‘middle’ class, and looking at metro-median-ish homes. But if the latter, then buying a home to raise a family in the city isn’t (generally) on the table for comparison.

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  41. I guess if I had to define what middle class burb I was referring to, it would be Downers Grove, Lisle, or Naperville. The middle class family would be a family of four with pre-tax income of 100,000. Their home buying budget would be 500k, since that is the highest limit recommended for a 100k salary. So the comparison would be, what city neighborhood can get you a good home for 500k or less that has good neighborhood schools that do not require you to test into a selective enrollment school.

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  42. “I knew several people who applied to Lane and all were accepted.”

    This was in, what, 1995?

    “pre-tax income of 100,000. Their home buying budget would be 500k”

    Not fighting the hypo, but that’s a stretch. Taxes in N’ville would be $10k (DuPage) to $15k (Will) on a $500k house, so unless they have a $100k DP, oof.

    Yeah, the only city area that works in that bracket for a family is greater Norwood Park, and I agree with almost everyone here that unless you must live in the city, if you have kids, you’re better off moving across the line to the burbs, and getting HS certainty.

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  43. Middle class people don’t have 6,000 sf homes.

    The two goals of a moderately priced middle class burb and a 6,000 sf home are in opposition.

    Also, 6,000 sf homes are generally not built near Metra stops. Metra stops attract high density homes. Almost by definition 6,000 sf is a low density home. Those homes get build on large plots of land.

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  44. “The two goals of a moderately priced middle class burb and a 6,000 sf home are in opposition.”

    Just have to go far enough out:

    https://www.redfin.com/IL/Crystal-Lake/3720-Conestoga-Trl-60012/home/17788185

    Crystal Lake is absolutely MC, and this is under $100 psf. Of course, taxes are 3.3% of ask, so that’s a headache.

    As a bonus, think this may be in HD’s subdivision!

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  45. @anon (tfo)

    OK, a few middle class people build big homes in the hinterlands.

    Proving my other point…
    That’s a 1 acre lot, many miles from a Metra stop.

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  46. @anon (tfo)

    Also… having well water and a private septic system disqualify this as a suburban home. That’s exurban by my definition.

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  47. “Prob not adjusting for any amortization of the mortgage debt, too”

    So that seems kinda basic so I always assumed they had done that but I just checked with them and they in fact are NOT amortizing the mortgages. However, they are going to experiment with it next time around. Obviously, that will be based on all kinds of assumptions.

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  48. There are a fair number of tear downs near metro stations. Not 6,000 but 4,500 is pretty standard

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  49. “So you want to pay $125/sf? LOL”

    Any town with the word “Palos” in it and you get .5 to 1.0 acres too, and a good school to boot.

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  50. underwater? Bellwood, Maywood, most of south suburbs, large chunks of any exurb (st charles, batavia, geneva)

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  51. “keef17x on October 23rd, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    “Interestingly, in the first quarter of 1980, the median price was $183.7 thousand. The imaginary person who purchased the median priced home that year saw 58% appreciation spread over 37 years.”

    wow, that is frightening. what a terrible terrible investment Chicago real estate was/is.”

    Only in some areas. Chicago is a tale of two cities

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  52. “I guess if I had to define what middle class burb I was referring to, it would be Downers Grove, Lisle, or Naperville. The middle class family would be a family of four with pre-tax income of 100,000. Their home buying budget would be 500k, since that is the highest limit recommended for a 100k salary. So the comparison would be, what city neighborhood can get you a good home for 500k or less that has good neighborhood schools that do not require you to test into a selective enrollment school.”

    That’s not middle class. 1 in 5 households make $100k pre-tax. $50-$70 k is more like it. Middle class is Oak Lawn or Alsip or those crappy townhomes that liter schaumburg or skokie or hoffman estates.

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  53. “There are a fair number of tear downs near metro stations. Not 6,000 but 4,500 is pretty standard”

    Including a finished basement, sure. Elmhurst, park ridge are filled with them. I live across the street from 3 of them.

    as for high schools, Prospect has a 29 ACT in mt prospect, and there are a shit ton of 60’s ranches and split levels available for decent prices. Near two/three metra lines too (cumberland, mt prospect, arl hts)

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  54. “wow, that is frightening. what a terrible terrible investment Chicago real estate was/is.”

    Real estate, until the last 20 years, has never been an “investment” in most of the United States, actually. There were always a few prime locations (on the beach etc) but plenty of people bought in the Upper East Side in 1950 and hadn’t made a dime by 1975.

    Average returns were 1-3% a year. The stock market has always crushed real estate returns.

    But the bubbles that keep occurring have masked what you can “make” from real estate so now people think it’s normal to buy a $250,000 home and sell it for $500,000 just 5 to 10 years later. No, that’s not “normal.”

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  55. “So the comparison would be, what city neighborhood can get you a good home for 500k or less that has good neighborhood schools that do not require you to test into a selective enrollment school.”

    A single family home?

    The answer would be none. That’s why so many leave for the suburbs. There are quite a lot of districts with good schools that aren’t in Downers Grove, Naperville or Hinsdale or any of those suburbs. There are a LOT of suburbs. Most of you don’t ever visit most of the city neighborhoods (like Galewood, for instance) so I know most of you have no idea on the suburbs either.

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  56. “That’s like the 2012 score. 25.7 last year, and overall CPS average is actually 18.6 (which is scary bad).”

    It’s AMAZING that Lane’s average ACT is nearly 26. Wow.

    It’s one of the largest high schools in the country with nearly 4,300 students.

    Also, not to bring up the stupid high school argument again, but your child actually has a better shot at getting into Harvard from the high school in Hoffman Estates than they do from Lane, Whitney Young, Walter Payton etc. And that’s because those schools simply do not see as many applicants from those other high schools.

    Your child will get into U of I from either Lane Tech etc. OR from the suburban high school. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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  57. “There is a flood of neighbors 60+ and young families selling all at once here, houses and townhouses are often under contract in a few days assuming they are priced right. Wilmette, Elmhurst and Glen Ellyn are the top outgoing family spots whith a few CA transfers. The olds are moving to FL and AZ enmasse. There’s going to be some interesting demographic data next census, Im not seeing new families moving in anymore, just middle aged DINKs and investors looking to rent townhouses as a business.”

    Marko: This is the exact opposite of what I’ve heard is happening in Oak Park. People aged 45-60 whose last child has now graduated high school, are selling and moving to Berwyn, Elmwood Park and Galewood to escape the crushing Oak Park taxes as they no longer have kids in the schools.

    They’re NOT moving to FL or Arizona.

    20 and 30 years ago, those home owners would have aged in place until at least their 60s or 70s. And THEN maybe moved. But they’re moving much sooner (especially as their homes have all gone up quite a bit) just to escape the taxes.

    As a result, all the data that consultants gave the city 15-20 years ago about how many kids would be in the schools has turned out to be very, very wrong. They thought school attendance would decline as those homeowner’s kids left school but they stayed in their homes for another decade. Instead they’re selling to…you guessed it…families with young children who want the schools.

    So the schools are much more overcrowded than the consultants/city budgeted for. And some of the Oak Park schools are seriously old now. They’re 100 years old and need major maintenance/upgrading.

    Oak Park is one of the few suburbs with no major tax payers. They have no big businesses, either retail or industrial. The largest tax payers are the Volvo dealership and the new Target. There’s no Riverside Mall or industrial corridor with a manufacturing base.

    But the schools are good. Those who live there don’t complain about paying the property taxes while their kids are in schools.

    This is also why there are a bunch of new high rise rentals going up right downtown. More tax payers and more big restaurants/retailers in the base.

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  58. “ew no! While I’d love to displace that bonehead Burnett,”

    I thought Alderman made like $125,000 a year. Is that wrong? Is it less?

    Seems pretty good for a government official to me.

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  59. “And there are still plenty of people underwater in the area. In fact, I think Chicago leads the nation in underwater mortgages.”

    But Gary, then inventory would have been at record lows in 2014-2016 too. And it wasn’t. Even MORE homeowners were underwater then.

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  60. Back then, at it’s peak, distressed sales were 58% of the market. All the people that needed to get out at all costs are gone now and the underwater folks are waiting around to get their heads above water.

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  61. Sabrina, I was referring to near North, Old Town area, I don’t know anything about Oak Park except that when I was in high school OPRF was a top 20 IL high school.

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  62. How many low income kids got to New Trier or whatever other suburban HS?

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  63. “Real estate, until the last 20 years, has never been an “investment” in most of the United States, actually. There were always a few prime locations (on the beach etc) but plenty of people bought in the Upper East Side in 1950 and hadn’t made a dime by 1975.
    Average returns were 1-3% a year. The stock market has always crushed real estate returns.
    But the bubbles that keep occurring have masked what you can “make” from real estate so now people think it’s normal to buy a $250,000 home and sell it for $500,000 just 5 to 10 years later. No, that’s not “normal.””

    That’s all fine and good but just looking at average prices, you have SERIOUSLY lagged the inflation rate over the last 37 years. According to census.gov, the median US home price in Jan 1980 was $67,200 and in Jan 2017, it was $315,200. US home prices rose ~4.45%/yr vs ~1.1%/yr for Chicago. Call inflation since 1980 at 3.25%; it isnt exact but damn close. That is piss poor compared to the rest of the country no matter how you slice it. And yes, the average RE investment is terrible relative to the S&P since 1980.

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  64. “It’s AMAZING that Lane’s average ACT is nearly 26. Wow.”

    I mean its ‘selective enrollment’ its not THAT amazing… They get to pick and choose who goes there… they don’t have to let in idiots… the fact that suburban schools have to take everyone within their attendance boundaries and they still get act averages like that is probably more amazing if you really think about it

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  65. “I thought Alderman made like $125,000 a year. Is that wrong? Is it less?”

    they make around $110k

    which to put up with that many idiots on a day to day basis ain’t worth it… I mean I’m sure there are plenty of ‘perks’ if you know what I mean but… nah

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  66. “According to census.gov, the median US home price in Jan 1980 was $67,200 and in Jan 2017, it was $315,200.”

    And as I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions you can’t use median prices to determine the overall change in prices because the mix changes over time – especially in a 37 year time period. That 2017 home is not comparable to the 1980 home. The 2017 home is way better – surely much bigger too. So the actual appreciation in home values is less than that.

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  67. ” Prospect has a 29 ACT”

    No, it doesn’t. The average there is 25. aka, lower than Lane Tech.

    There’s no general enrollment public school (in IL, at least) with a 29 ACT average. That’s 92d %-ile.

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  68. “Your child will get into U of I”

    1. Is your child a Chinese national? Then probably not.
    2. Why would you want to? With funding cuts, ChamBana is headed to the bottom of the Big 10, but fast.

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  69. There is huge turnover going on in Oak Park right now. It is almost like a generational shift occurring – both in residential real estate and businesses. It is a net positive imho as an Oak Park resident.

    All the old folks are moving out due to the property taxes but are quickly being replaced by high income young families looking for good public schools and close proximity to the city. Oak Park is benefiting from companies wanting to stay in the city. Developers are renovating larger homes and selling most of them before they are even finished from $900-$1.25. Smaller new homes are going for $700s.

    I was recently at a block party and was amazed at how many new young neighbor (early 30s) with pre-elementary school kids had moved in. Almost all former greenzone residents.

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  70. “According to census.gov, the median US home price in Jan 1980 was $67,200 and in Jan 2017, it was $315,200.”

    Those are nominal dollars. Adjust that $67,200 to 2017 dollars, it is $213k. So, Chicago is right on target with the nation as a whole–inflation about +100 bp.

    Unless you really believe that in 1980 the median house sold for ~1.4x the median income…

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  71. ” the fact that suburban schools have to take everyone within their attendance boundaries and they still get act averages like that is probably more amazing if you really think about it”

    Yeah, exclusionary zoning is an incredibly powerful tool–it can even makes schools “better”.

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  72. 2. Why would you want to? With funding cuts, ChamBana is headed to the bottom of the Big 10, but fast.

    Interesting article on the issue here: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/10/midwestern-public-research-universities-funding/542889/

    Midwestern public universities are already experiencing a pattern of relative decline, based on NSF rankings of universities by total research-and-development expenditures.

    As private and better-funded public universities elsewhere in the country found alternative sources of support, they pushed their Midwestern rivals down the research rankings.

    The University of Wisconsin–Madison was ranked second in 2008; in 2015, for the first time since the figures have been tracked, it fell out of the top five. Ohio State dropped from 10th to 20th, Missouri from 71st to 85th. The University of Iowa rose from 60th in 2008 to a peak of 39th in 2010, but has since fallen back to 49th. Purdue, for which the NSF rankings date only from 2010, has slipped from 32nd then to 37th now.

    In Illinois, for instance, research output has stayed surprisingly steady as of 2015, the most recent year for which full data is available. But since then, a budget impasse has resulted in some of the deepest cuts to higher education in the nation. (Thanks to a legislative override, the more-than-two-year budget standoff finally ended in July, but significant damage had already been done to university enrollments, staffing, and facilities.)

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  73. One of my DINK friend couples just moved to Oak Park to get away from the crime in their greenzone neighborhood. They got sick of having to deal with car break ins. They are happy in Oak Park. No car break ins so far…

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  74. The Big Ten has some great schools in it. U of I is so big that you can get a fabulous education or a mediocre one, depending how which path you choose.

    The Midwest has a lot of really nice schools that most students would be happy to get into – Northwestern, U of C, Grinnell, Notre Dame, U of M

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  75. “1. Is your child a Chinese national? Then probably not.
    2. Why would you want to? With funding cuts, ChamBana is headed to the bottom of the Big 10, but fast.”

    hey quit ripping on my poorly ran alma mater!

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  76. Propect HS has 11% Low Income students. Lane has 54% low income students. How about comparing apples to apples?

    How many affordable apartments are in Mt. Prospect?

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  77. “How about comparing apples to apples?”

    But Prospect has to take everyone who lives within the boundaries, so that comparison favors Prospect [/snark].

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  78. Anyone that says that any student can go to Prospect High School is kidding themselves anon as you know.

    Mt. Prospect lovers? How many affordable apartments are there in Mt. Prospect? What is the cost of a home there? A lot of suburbs are selective enrollment by cost.

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  79. “I thought Alderman made like $125,000 a year. Is that wrong? Is it less?
    Seems pretty good for a government official to me.”

    Don’t forget the pension! Never forget the pension!!

    for those currently or formerly in office, 80% after 20 years, having to contribute only 11.5% per year. Plus retiree health care subsidies.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-01/news/ct-met-pensions-aldermen-20120501_1_city-pension-pension-deal-investment-returns

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  80. “How many affordable apartments are there in Mt. Prospect? ”

    In the village (which isn’t co-extensive with the SD), it’s 311:

    https://affordablehousingonline.com/housing-search/Illinois/Mount-Prospect

    one of the complexes is all 1/1 units (97 of them).

    the other (214 units) appears to be all senior units.

    So, from a family perspective, the number of affordable units is zero.

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  81. Does Mt. Prospect have any public housing?

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  82. gary: “So that seems kinda basic so I always assumed they had done that but I just checked with them and they in fact are NOT amortizing the mortgages.”

    See, that’s insane. Especially as they are undoubtedly counting the full face on HELOCs that might well have $0 drawn.

    I think that I’ve mentioned before that I had a ~5 year period where a refi’d mortgage hadn’t been released–so that whole time I would appear underwater (by more than 25%) from an uncritical review of the deed records.

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  83. I’m still seeing a lot of borrowers who are underwater or have very little equity. Most have not been in Greenzone locations though. Usually southside. The goal is just being able to sell without having to write a check at closing.

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  84. I’m seeing condos for under $150k in Mount Prospect. That’s pretty darn afford. This one is a 2/2 for $121,000: https://www.estately.com/listings/info/1101-south-hunt-club-drive–36

    I’m also seeing single family homes for in the $250,000. Mount Prospect seems to be a the solidly lower middle class suburb. It’s actually pretty impressive that their high school has an ACT average of 25.

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  85. Jenny:

    1) Mt. Prospect is fairly middle class with some mcmansions sprinkled in there. It’s a poor man’s Arl. Hts.

    2) The ACT is 29, not 25, thank you very much

    3) http://www.d214.org/about-district-214/map/

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  86. 4) https://www.redfin.com/IL/Mount-Prospect/1427-Birch-Dr-60056/home/22976480 This is $287,000 for a SFH 3/2 (+1 bed in basement_ two blocks north of the train station. The town is a bunch of nicer, but smaller 1960’s ranches, all decently priced. It’s actually a pretty popular middle class 1 or 2 working parent kind of town.

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  87. “I’m still seeing a lot of borrowers who are underwater or have very little equity. Most have not been in Greenzone locations though. Usually southside. The goal is just being able to sell without having to write a check at closing.”

    I see this all the time too. Basically anywhere hit by foreclosures is still totally underwater. Last year was the first year I saw a lot of NW suburban properties finally break even or make some gains. I have one property I worked with in a crappier NW suburb was worth roughly $100k in 2012 that’s probably doubled in value. It’s not that the neighborhood has changed, it’s that the area has worked through all the foreclosures, and being a less expensive area, it attracts a lot of interest from first time buyers. ON the otherside of that same suburb I have a buddy who bought a towntown in 2012 for roughly $90k foreclosure and sold it two or three years later for $150k and it’s supposedly world close to $180k these days, thanks to the proliferation of FHA loans.

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  88. “Jenny:
    1) Mt. Prospect is fairly middle class with some mcmansions sprinkled in there. It’s a poor man’s Arl. Hts.
    2) The ACT is 29, not 25, thank you very much…”

    Thanks for nothing but I disagree – Prospect’s class of 2016’s avg composite ACT score is 25 per ‘Illinois Report Card’. Imo like General Kelly hd figures no one will check his assertions vs objective facts. Sad

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  89. “2) The ACT is 29, not 25, thank you very much”

    24.9. Not even 25. See Page 4:

    http://www.d214.org/assets/1/6/PHSSchoolReportCard2015-16.pdf

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  90. In the context of schools, “Low income” means a family of X with income below these numbers:

    2 $29,637
    3 $37,296
    4 $44,955

    Ain’t none of those families buying a $287,000 house.

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  91. ““2) The ACT is 29, not 25, thank you very much””

    Which school has the 29 ACT average, HD? Sure isn’t Prospect.

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  92. ““2) The ACT is 29, not 25, thank you very much””

    BGHS = 23.2
    EGHS = 21.3
    JHHS = 24.8
    RMHS = 23.0
    WHS = 19.9 (Yikes! and still only 42.9% low income–below state avg)
    Prospect = 24.9

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  93. ““2) The ACT is 29, not 25, thank you very much””

    Pretty sure than none of those is within 4 points of 29, but I may need to retake 2d grade math!

    25 is ~75th %ile, which is really good for a general enrollment public school, but is a far cry from 29, which is 90+.

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  94. ““2) The ACT is 29, not 25, thank you very much””
    BGHS = 23.2
    EGHS = 21.3
    JHHS = 24.8
    RMHS = 23.0
    WHS = 19.9 (Yikes! and still only 42.9% low income–below state avg)
    Prospect = 24.9

    What high schools do these acronyms stand for?

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  95. “What high schools do these acronyms stand for?”

    The D214 schools in HD’s link:

    Buff Grove
    Elk Grove
    Hersey
    Rolling Mead
    Wheeling.

    None of which has a 29 average ACT.

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  96. aaaaah…..just as the DNC and Hillary Clinton were duped by fake news like the infamous Russian Dossier….

    I too was duped by the average ACT score. I googled the question and was presented with this website which was the first source:

    https://www.niche.com/k12/prospect-high-school-mt-prospect-il/

    which states the average ACT was 29 – yes I thought that was a little high but I know that the scores were adjusted a few years back to even out the median score. I also knew that Prospect had one of the highest ACTs in the state. So I took this for a fact.

    However, I upon further review, the little “?” next to ACT score on the Niche site says that it is the “average ACT composite score as reported by Niche users” of which there are 288 responses.

    Ah….that’s what we call “fake news” promoted by a google algorithm. It goes to show, “fake news” is everywhere these days, not just in politics, but everywhere.

    I apologize for not researching this further. Thank god I spend more time on legal briefs than I do on cribchatter. Cribchatter isn’t paying my bills!

    Who’s up for a holiday party this year?

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  97. and anon(tfo) don’t knock wheeling you DB tis’ a great school. sure there are some gangs and lots of teen pregnancies, but overall its a great school.

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  98. “Thanks for nothing but I disagree – Prospect’s class of 2016’s avg composite ACT score is 25 per ‘Illinois Report Card’. Imo like General Kelly hd figures no one will check his assertions vs objective facts. Sad”

    SB: My apologizes posted above, I even showed the link where I got my “fake news” I was duped. Who would have thought that when searching average ACT score it would send you to a site with a fucking self-reported ACT figure. Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. I’m a little embarrassed.

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  99. So now we’re comparing a selective enrollment HS in a UMC Chicago neighborhood to MC open enrollment NW burb HS?

    The goal posts keep moving

    Lane is better than the MC NW ‘burb HS

    Lane is (for all intents and purposes) equal to York, GBW, HC – UMC suburbs The housing stock in these suburban areas is less than or equal to NC, with more options on the less than side

    Miss anything?

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  100. How many public housing units are York HS area? How many rent restricted apartments? What is the cost of a home there?

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  101. For the folks that can’t seem to get it into their heads, many suburbs are selective enrollment due to cost of housing.

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  102. And again Lane is only taking the best poor students (IF CPS isn’t cheating)

    Only 35% of the student is guaranteed to be in CPS bottom 2 tiers.

    There is housing in the Low $200’s (tho not all of Elmhurst goes to York).

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  103. “For the folks that can’t seem to get it into their heads, many suburbs are selective enrollment due to cost of housing.”

    Yeah a family can’t possibly live in an apartment, their birthright as a procreator is a 3br home! We should send them some more funds paid for by the upper middle class shlubs who pay all the taxes

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  104. When I see that there are 2/2s in Mount Prospect for under $150,000, it seems to be that it’s a very affordable place to live. A working couple, each making a little more than minimum wage could afford to live there.

    I would be shocked if Lane truly has 54% low income students (seeing as a two income household with 2 minimum wage workers does not count as low income).

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  105. “this website which was the first source:

    https://www.niche.com/k12/prospect-high-school-mt-prospect-il/

    which states the average ACT was 29″

    Using the same methodology, I’m sure we can find a school with a 35 average–that’s based on self-reported numbers by the sorts of knobs who put their (*self-reported*) ACT scores on a site like Niche.

    In other words, you ARE fake news, HD!

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  106. “Lane is only taking the best poor students”

    And I’m sure that the 11% low income at Prospect are all the worst. And that there’s no massaging of child support and alimony in that low income ‘qualification’.

    Whatever man, no one is going to convince you!

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  107. ” The housing stock in these suburban areas is less than or equal to NC, with more options on the less than side”

    Even if *every* kid in NC went to Lane (*way* less than half) that’s like 10% of the class. So, kinda like the percentage of kids who live in $1m+ houses in Elmhurst at York.

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  108. How many rent restricted rentals and public housing units are in York?

    How many rentals are in York?

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  109. $200K is not affordable to a low income family, which is why there are so few low income students in York.

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  110. “Lane is only taking the best poor students”
    And I’m sure that the 11% low income at Prospect are all the worst. And that there’s no massaging of child support and alimony in that low income ‘qualification’.

    And thats what we call a Strawman.

    I dont need convincing of anything. My initial response was that yes, the Burbs do offer a viable alternative (Your unicorn criteria aside) to NC & Lane at less cost and as good as HS (And one as you point out less than 50% of NC kids qualify).

    You go off on tangents and create strawmen for some purpose that I’m not entirely sure of, but keep on keeping on

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  111. Elmhurst has 1 affordable rental building. But it’s for seniors.

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  112. Elmhurst has a lot of rental actually, all along the tracks near downtown, a ton on the south end of town near Roosevelt and a ton on the north near Grand and a smattering in the middle. I know at one time it had a section 8 rental complex right next to York High School actually, not sure if it’s still low income or not but it was classic projects building, looked just like the Marshal Field projects in Chicago.

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  113. Of Elmhurst total housing stock less than 17% is rental of which only 25% is below $1000/month. Most of those are studios or 1 bedrooms. The median rent is over $1400. Not affordable.

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  114. To the U of I comments–impact will depend on the program. I earned by BA & MAS in Accountancy there (#1 program in the nation at the time, currently #2). If you go down the business road there, or even more so the engineering one, you will have many great career options (and a strong network to leverage). You also save substantial cash from going out of state to say Michigan’s business program, etc.

    Also glad the Prospect Niche, user-reported number got called out. Benet is likely the only sizable, full amenity (i.e. with sports programs) school in state (or perhaps the midwest) that can get above 29. Of course it’s through selective enrollment, but also note they let siblings in with very low scores bringing the average down a bit.

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  115. To address the ongoing debate about soaring prices and prices being past peak…Depaul’s Institute For Housing Studies just released their 2Q 2017 home price report that breaks Cook County up into 33 submarkets. Very cool data. It shows pretty clearly how different parts of Cook County have fared. Only 4 submarkets came out above peak prices – and some of those just barely. Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough data to look at the whole South Loop, Loop, Near North side?!?!?! I would assume that that would possibly be above peak.

    I really like their methodology since it doesn’t simply look at median or average prices but attempts to factor in property attributes.

    https://price-index.housingstudies.org/

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  116. I don’t get why they say they don’t have enough data for the downtown area, if anything they probably have more there than anywhere else? But yes I would imagine they are near peak or above for all those but possibly the south loop

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  117. Yeah, exactly my confusion. And whenever they produce this they leave out that area. Who knows.

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  118. “one as you point out less than 50% of NC kids qualify”

    No, I didn’t point that out. I said that less than half of NC kids go there. Many also go to the “big 4”; some get an offer at Lane and go private. etc etc.

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  119. “Benet is likely the only sizable, full amenity (i.e. with sports programs) school in state (or perhaps the midwest) that can get above 29.”

    Sounds like a proud Benet alum.

    IN house designed prep course, or using a 3d party?

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  120. All I can say it wow, certain pockets of west town/near west much have appreciated an insane amount to cancel out the rest of the area. I know that most of the neighborhoods south of the Eisenhower are not past week pricing.

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  121. “I don’t get why they say they don’t have enough data for the downtown area”

    Maybe bc base year is 1997? That would explain the loop and south loop, but maybe not near north

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  122. “Benet is likely the only sizable, full amenity (i.e. with sports programs) school in state (or perhaps the midwest) that can get above 29.”

    Fwiw I confirmed Benet’s composite score for 2015 @ 28.9 but then looked at Chgo Mag’s 2014 HS article. According to Chgo Mag Latin, UofC Lab & N Shore Country Day all were @ 30 composite and @ 29 Benet tied Chgoland Jewish HS & CPS’s Northside College Prep & Payton. I didn’t look any further & I dunno whether/which had ‘full amenities’

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  123. Yes, Lab, Latin, and North Shore Country Day School all have 30 composites, and this is verified by the College Profile forms on their websites. Far more accurate than Niche! Anyone know what Parker’s is? They don’t publish, which makes me think its a fair bit lower than Lab, Latin and NSCDS.

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  124. I wonder what the benet academy workout facilities are like…

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  125. Lots of apples to orange comparisons and salty comments on here, love it. Latin, Lab, North Shore all cost three times Benet (people actually pay $30K/yr to go to these places!), legit comparison there.

    Also they do have better workout facilities haha, actually produced some quality student-athletes. If your only goal of HS is an education, so be it, but I (and many others) value a well-rounded experience (which includes extracurriculars) in which you get the best value for your $.

    Oh and FWIW, 2017 was 29.2, 2016 was 29.1, and yes 2015 was 28.9

    A 29 to a 30 is minimal, but compared to a 24 or even a 20, there’s a substantial difference. Bottom line is schooling in Chicago is quite rough unless you get into a few of the select gems. Even the public schools in the more affluent suburbs can be top notch. In any location, if you have millions you can enroll in $30K/yr options too.

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  126. From Parker’s website:

    “Why don’t you publish your average test scores?

    We believe test scores are not the best measure of any student’s or school’s value. Publishing test scores also leads to generalizations that can be limiting and inaccurate.”

    Certainly implies that its <30.

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  127. “Certainly implies that its <30."

    I wouldn't say that. A lot of schools don't want to even more pressure on students than they already feel. I like that they are taking a stance against these standardized tests and I support that. My understanding is that the SAT/ACT were originally designed to help people get into colleges who didn't go to a top prep school. This way, those students who didn't go to a prep school would have a chance to show that they could perform well at a college. I highly doubt that any of the students at a school like Parker would be unable to do well in college. The tests seems unnecessary for kids at top schools.

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  128. The DePaul study is interesting.

    I’ve looked at A LOT of condos in the Gold Coast-East Lakeview area in the last year or so. Most are still a little below 2006 levels. The fire safety updates that many of the high rises needed haven’t helped, as the special assessments hold down values.

    It does seem like values are moving up lately, though.

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  129. are you middle class?

    the link below shows was we have been saying here at CC. More people think they are middle class, but they are not.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/30/are-you-actually-middle-class-this-calculator-will-tell-you.html?recirc=taboolainternal

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  130. “Using the same methodology, I’m sure we can find a school with a 35 average–that’s based on self-reported numbers by the sorts of knobs who put their (*self-reported*) ACT scores on a site like Niche.”

    Does this mean if I shouldn’t have a bumper sticker saying:

    National Merit Scholar

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  131. another middle class link from the prior article

    for cook county it lists 31,720 – 114,836 as middle class with the following as definition

    Note: Middle class is defined as falling between the 30th and 80th income percentiles. Income is calculated as household income using the average U.S. household size (2.5 people).

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/10/25/is-100000-middle-class-in-america/?undefined=&utm_term=.996729a4a46e&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

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  132. or how about multiple bumper stickers that say

    Lane Tech Alum
    &
    Harvard

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  133. “Lane Tech Alum
    &
    Harvard”

    Was that a distance learning program?

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  134. “for cook county it lists 31,720 – 114,836 as middle class”

    I think that we can all agree that Cook County is more like three counties; it’s not quite as misleading as the LA County $32k-$119k, but in the same range.

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  135. “for cook county it lists 31,720 – 114,836 as middle class”

    I think being middle class is more of a lifestyle than a specific income. Living on $31,720 is going to be nearly impossible. I still feel like I’m struggling and I’m making about $90k. There’s always some expense that comes up that seems to keep me from feeling comfortable. For instance, I seem to have bad luck with dogs and my puppy just needed surgery (first of two rounds of surgery). Then, an idiot Uber driver t-boned me and I had to outlay my deductible while my insurance company fights his. My TV and phone are both breaking and together I estimate, I’ll be spending at least $1500 to replace them (I always pay cash for phones so I can unlock and root them as I please). Lastly, my building is talking about a special assessment and I would much rather pay cash for it than pay any amount of interest by taking a loan (although, I’m considering taking a small amount out of my house and refinancing to a 20 year fixed). I don’t feel like a middle class person now. If I was laid off, I would be totally screwed (my company is constantly going through layoffs and I know that if I don’t find a different job soon, the long knives will come for me).

    I guess I would define middle class as being able to pay for these sorts of expenses as they come up without having to worry or have family help. My parents paid for my other dog’s surgery last year. I haven’t been able to afford foreign travel since August 2016 and won’t be able to afford it until the spring at least. I’m thinking about dropping the cleaning lady because of all of the expenses that keep coming up and I have pushed out my hair appointments from every 8 weeks to every 16 weeks. I haven’t bought new clothes in ages. I would imagine a middle class person would be able to afford all of these things without even thinking about it. I look at my parents and see them as middle class and realize that I am behind them and therefore, I am lower middle class.

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  136. The middle class has always “struggled”. People never have everything they want. When your parents were your age they didn’t have a phone that they could carry with them everywhere with access to everything the world knows or 257 channels of TV or a cleaning lady. The middle class today lives much better than they did 30, 40, or 50 years ago.

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  137. “I would imagine a middle class person would be able to afford all of these things without even thinking about it.”

    I would never put myself (as an adult) in MC based on income, but pet surgery and international travel are not things that I “afford … without even thinking about it”, much less combined and together with cleaning lady, car accident, new tv and mobile phone, etc that are in the “all of these things”.

    As a kid, there were exactly zero of those things, and wouldn’t have called us poor.

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  138. “I would never put myself (as an adult) in MC based on income, but pet surgery and international travel are not things that I “afford … without even thinking about it””

    How hard do you really think about it? The costs are annoying, but are you truly deciding between doing and not doing?

    Now, two iPhone X’s on the other hand…

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  139. “My TV and phone are both breaking and together I estimate, I’ll be spending at least $1500 to replace them (I always pay cash for phones so I can unlock and root them as I please).”

    How does a tv break? I thought that was near impossible these days. Verizon (LTE) phones come unlocked, not that you don’t end up paying for the phone one way or another in the end.

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  140. “The middle class has always “struggled”. People never have everything they want.”

    I think that’s almost the (non-jenny) defn of middle class. Todd Henderson struggled…

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  141. I think the problem today is that we have so many things that are luxuries that people feel are necessities. The middle class didn’t have those things back in the day. Remember when the only people who had beepers were doctors and drug dealers? Cell phones? Cable TV was a luxury. Internet? Gym memberships? Other streaming services? $5.00 coffees?

    With that said, I do think lower classes live better today than the middle/upper middle of yesterday. Even the “poor” in America have pretty high standards of living all things considered.

    In some ways the cost of living has increased, but dollar for dollar, people live better overall, particularly at lower income levels.

    i think the lines are blurred between the classes except in the most extreme cases because a lot of material goods can be found at all class levels.

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  142. “How does a tv break? I thought that was near impossible these days. Verizon (LTE) phones come unlocked, not that you don’t end up paying for the phone one way or another in the end.”

    I am not sure exactly what’s going on. There is what I could call “snow” on the left hand side of the screen. At first, I thought it was just an HDMI cable going bad, but when I plug the TV in alone, the snow is still there. I haven’t had the energy to investigate the situation more closely. I don’t watch TV that often, but it would be nice if the snow wasn’t there. The amount of snow is growing, so I feel like it’s only a matter of time until the TV conks out entirely. The TV is about 8 years old now.

    I just don’t like paying for a phone through the phone company. It seems weird to me. I know it was like that historically, but I think that practice needs to change. We don’t get our TVs from our cable companies. Why should I buy a phone from my mobile provider? They charge more than Amazon charges for the same phones.

    “How hard do you really think about it? The costs are annoying, but are you truly deciding between doing and not doing?”

    My dog will get surgery no matter what and my phone will be replaced since those are necessities. I’m forgoing a trip with friends next month to Spain. It’s ill-timed anyway I suppose and my friends are trying to decide whether to cancel. I really want to go to Ljubljana this spring though, but am not sure if I can swing it.

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  143. “I haven’t had the energy to investigate the situation more closely. I don’t watch TV that often, but it would be nice if the snow wasn’t there. The amount of snow is growing, so I feel like it’s only a matter of time until the TV conks out entirely. The TV is about 8 years old now.”

    sounds like you have a DLP TV, same sort of thing happened to me, only way to fix it was to buy and repair it with a $400 part… I got my 55″ sony XBR to replace it for less than that!

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  144. “My TV and phone are both breaking and together I estimate, I’ll be spending at least $1500 to replace them (I always pay cash for phones so I can unlock and root them as I please).”

    Easy Solution

    Dont buy a IphoneX or 4k/UHD TV

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  145. “sounds like you have a DLP TV, same sort of thing happened to me, only way to fix it was to buy and repair it with a $400 part… I got my 55? sony XBR to replace it for less than that!”

    It’s a plasma TV. Poor old plasma TV. I’d like to get an OLED TV next, but I’ll need to do some research first.

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  146. Not sure what you have all hooked up to it but is there snow when view anything with RCA connectors?

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  147. “Not sure what you have all hooked up to it but is there snow when view anything with RCA connectors?”

    I have a sound bar, so I don’t use a true receiver. I have an old DVDO switch. At first, I thought it was failing, so I disconnected everything and just hooked the TV up to the wall and the snow was still there.

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  148. “sounds like you have a DLP TV”

    yeah, jenny’s not going to buy an, I’m too cheap to buy a real hdtv, I’ll get a DLP (I had a DLP). she needs the true blacks on her plasma.

    “I’d like to get an OLED TV next”

    If an OLED tv (or foreign travel for that matter) is even on your radar, whether you get one or could afford one, you can’t claim to be below middle class.

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  149. haha true that

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  150. “…TVs, etc.”

    You can get a very solid 65″ HDR for sub $800 on BF. For many of us, it’s a primary piece of our living room; thus, just for the looks along it’s often a solid investment to get an updated one (especially after 8yrs at $90K+).

    “Remember when the only people who had beepers were doctors and drug dealers? Cell phones? Cable TV was a luxury. Internet? Gym memberships? Other streaming services? $5.00 coffees?”

    To break out of the middle class one must often have discipline (and lucky helps of course). I know plenty of people that spend $10/day on coffee and pastries, splurge on Fremont brunches every other weekend, and of course love their $13 avocado toasts. Then they complain that they don’t have enough cash for a deposit on a place (to break the rental cycle).

    Overall what has once been deemed luxury has been usurped as basic goods / services. The art is balancing which provide the most value (i.e. a reasonable gym membership which increases your health vs. an iPhone X).

    “for cook county it lists 31,720 – 114,836 as middle class”

    As noted that’s a HUGE gap. I could not imagine raising a family with $35K… heck, ad a 1 in front of it and many sacrifices would have to be made with several kids. Note–much of these would be more ‘luxury’ items as hinted though.

    Single with no debt and making just under the upper limit of this I feel that I’m still middle class, as I’m looking to buy property that is of average value in the city and <1k sqft. I currently pay 20% of my gross income in rent, take several international trips a year (but fly cheap, stay in hostels, etc.), spend $2k/yr on 60 concerts/fests (buy at venues to avoid online service fees), love my $$$ sound system / instruments / vinyl collection, and generally do as I please but within reason. No pets (would limit my travel / too much responsibility), car paid off (and stored in the burbs in case I move to a job that requires one), cycle to work (or CTA IFF snowing or <-10F), do not really eat out, etc.

    My friends in i-banking & consulting make ~2x me and I would consider THAT upper-class *in Chicago for a single earner. Whether or not they have the time to spend it is another story, but having that flexible cash is really at another level than $115K imo.

    "…Ljubljana"

    Great times there coming from Munich-Salzburg-Bled staying at the Cecilia Art Hostel (as well as a couple excursions). I would do your best to go!

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  151. “I could not imagine raising a family with $35K… ”

    about 50% of the kids in all of Illinois are in families with income in about that range or lower.

    yeah, it’s cheaper in Danville; it’s cheaper in the “MC” burbs around Chicago metro, too. A GZ housing unit is a luxury good, too.

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  152. “are you truly deciding between doing and not doing?”

    100% my choice–probably. But I’m an bi-polar spendthrift and miser, so maybe I’d start shopping at Aldi or something.

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  153. “I know plenty of people that spend $10/day on coffee and pastries, splurge on Fremont brunches every other weekend, and of course love their $13 avocado toasts.”

    I’m tired of hearing the excuse that if only those darn Millennials would stop eating avocado toast or, gasp, going to Starbucks, they would have more money to buy a place.

    Really?

    That’s a hell of a lot of $10 toasts to get that $100,000 down payment.

    What is often left out of the discussion is that while there are a lot of these costs in big cities, it’s actually CHEAPER to buy/live now than, say, 20 years ago.

    20 years ago, when GenX was saving to buy a place, they were still going to Starbucks AND their computers cost $1500- $2000. They had landlines (no cell phones) and, yes, cable existed then too. Clothing was MUCH more expensive compared to incomes. There was no H&M or Zara.

    Somehow GenX saved for the downpayment or put nothing down in the case of the bubble. Today, you can buy with 3-5% down (will pay PMI) but you can do it.

    If you can’t save 5%, then you shouldn’t be buying.

    If the people spending $3,000 a month on that River North 1-bedroom can’t save for a home, then they have other issues (like what they’ll do for retirement because they’re likely not saving for that either.)

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  154. “The middle class today lives much better than they did 30, 40, or 50 years ago.”

    This.

    25 years ago microwave ovens were $500! Most of the middle class didn’t have one. Same thing for VCRs. They were hundreds of dollars. One of my friends had it and we would go over to watch movies because my parents couldn’t afford it.

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  155. “100% my choice–probably”

    I very much understand but that’s changing the hypo. And if you consistently make the purchase, then there wasn’t really ever a choice.

    “maybe I’d start shopping at Aldi or something”

    It’s exactly the same food as at Trader Joe’s (if you’re not too good for that yet). Come off the same line, just goes into different packaging.

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  156. “25 years ago microwave ovens were $500! ”

    avg $280 in 1985, low $149 (@fo, don’t even think about coming at me about constant dollars or whatev, you know that’s not how we do things here):

    http://www.nytimes.com/1985/05/26/business/what-s-new-in-microwave-cooking-smaller-smarter-and-cheaper-ovens.html

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  157. That’s because the microwaves were introduced a bit before then. I do know that the first DVD players were at least $1000.

    “It’s exactly the same food as at Trader Joe’s (if you’re not too good for that yet). Come off the same line, just goes into different packaging.” Maybe for some staples but Trader Joe’s has all sorts of stuff you can’t find at Aldi and Aldi has more basic stuff.

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  158. “avg $280 in 1985, low $149”

    The full service models were $500 in the early 1990s. Gen X got them as gifts for college or grad school. It was rare to have one in the dorm because they cost too much. The $500 was the bigger model with the rotating base, though, and not the super small cheap one.

    By the end of that decade, you could get one for like $50.

    What about CD players? OMG. They were super expensive in the beginning. $1000. Remember in the movie The Wedding Singer when the banker boyfriend buys Drew Barrymore the CD player, mostly because it costs so much? Lol.

    Electronics have gotten much, much cheaper. Clothing is cheaper too.

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  159. Okay, let’s try it this way.

    “25 years ago [m]ost of the middle class didn’t have [a microwave oven]”

    But see:

    “These days, few homes are without a microwave oven” (from 1992)

    http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/20/garden/where-to-find-it-preserving-the-power-of-microwaves.html

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  160. “Maybe for some staples but Trader Joe’s has all sorts of stuff you can’t find at Aldi and Aldi has more basic stuff.”

    C’mon, I’m certain neither you nor anyone else here has set foot in an alai’s anytime recently.

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  161. “What about CD players? OMG. They were super expensive in the beginning. $1000. Remember in the movie The Wedding Singer when the banker boyfriend buys Drew Barrymore the CD player, mostly because it costs so much? Lol.”

    but people want the expensive thing they can’t really afford or shouldn’t buy, like the iphone x.

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  162. And then there are numerous quality of life considerations as well that don’t get taken into account. Medical care is so much better than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago. Childhood Leukemia was pretty much 100% fatal in 1970. Today ALL has a 90% cure rate. In 1980 diabetics were testing their blood with paper strips and a color chart and giving themselves injections. Then along came glucose meters that got faster, smaller, and required smaller finger pricks (smaller is better). Then came the insulin pump and eventually continuous glucose monitoring. Today they have the entire system on a constant feedback loop. These are benefits that are enjoyed by everyone pretty much regardless of your income unless you are totally uninsured.

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  163. “And then there are numerous quality of life considerations as well that don’t get taken into account. ”

    Are people happier?

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  164. “C’mon, I’m certain neither you nor anyone else here has set foot in an alai’s anytime recently.”

    Hah! My wife is a professional, competitive shopper and goes to Aldi every Saturday – sometimes more than once in a given Saturday, which I’ve never understood. Occasionally she drags me there with her if we’re within half a mile of any location (all of which she has memorized).

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  165. “Are people happier?”

    Google “hedonic setpoint”. We can’t be. Otherwise we’d still be living in caves.

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  166. And there would be no real estate industry.

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  167. The full service models were $500 in the early 1990s. Gen X got them as gifts for college or grad school. It was rare to have one in the dorm because they cost too much. The $500 was the bigger model with the rotating base, though, and not the super small cheap one.

    Early 90’s no. Dorms reeked of microwave popcorn

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  168. Things like microwave ovens and VCRs were built to last. We had the same microwave for the majority of my childhood. My parents only bought a new one when they were redoing their kitchen and they gave the microwave to my grandparents who kept it until my grandpa died in 2010! We had two VCRs during my childhood. The second one was purchased only because we wanted a VCR with a real remote (the first one had a strange corded remote that could only pause recordings), not because it broke. I put the old one in my bedroom and used it until we DVRs. We had a laser disc player that also lasted forever and was only replaced when DVDs players came out. Heck, my mom had an early model Walkman and that thing lasted 20 years!

    Clothes were more expensive, but made to last. I still have sweaters from Benneton purchased sometime in the 90s and that I still wear today. I look at my current clothes, even some very expensive sweaters that I picked up on the cheap, and they start looking bad after a couple of years.

    The middle class family in the 80s and 90s bought big ticket items once and then didn’t have to buy them again for a long time. Now, things are made so cheaply that they fall apart or break quickly. My S6 Edge+ is breaking after less than 2 years. I’m on my second one in fact. The first was replaced under warranty. It never used to be like this. I used to keep phones for about 2.5 years and only replace them when a new model came out that I was excited about. Now, I’m going to buy an S8+, which I’m not excited about, but from what I have read has the best specs available now.

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  169. “their computers cost $1500- $2000.”

    Still do!

    The key is that the $1500 computer of today is 1,000x better (no joke) in basically all ways, *before* you even discuss the internet.

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  170. “Now, things are made so cheaply that they fall apart or break quickly.”

    I think there is some truth to that. I think companies figured out that with innovation people didn’t care if something lasted more than 3 years. The price was more important. That is not the case with automobiles though. People keep cars much longer than they used to.

    I think generally speaking major appliances, TVs, and computers do last long enough. I actually had one computer I kept for 10 years to do basic chores. Laptops can last 5 years or more if you want them to. I’m still running several iPods and I know lots of people that have iPhones that are 5+ years old.

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  171. “if you consistently make the purchase, then there wasn’t really ever a choice.”

    Travel purchases get made consistently–but are limited by school schedule, and relative price tends to dictate destinations; not necessarily much else is *consistently* made.

    “coming at me about constant dollars or whatev”

    If I can find a stack of Jim Baker hundos, I can still buy a 2/2 GC condo for like 800 of them, right?

    NO WAY were countertop microwaves $500 in the 90s.

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  172. “What about CD players?”

    Why would HD need a player for his laddered CDs? DO not grok.

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  173. Consumables such as clothing definitely doesn’t last nearly as long as old stuff. You have to spend a hefty penny to find quality made shoes imho.

    The biggest issue I see is that a lot of electronic goods are so software dependent that they become obsolete due to software changes more so than hardware falling apart. You see this with cars nowadays. I kind of long for analog cars where every little thing wasn’t tied into a computer. Cars with these huge nav screens, TFT screens, and other electronics are not going to age as gracefully mainly because of the lack of continual software support from manufacturers.

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  174. “You have to spend a hefty penny to find quality made shoes”

    I always had crappy shoes as a kid, bc good shoes were expensive then, too. Shoes are a poor example, imo.

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  175. “I know lots of people that have iPhones that are 5+ years old.”

    The trick is to NEVER update the software. Apple literally killed my old 4s with some pushed software update. I have a 6 now and every few days it keeps asking me to update even though I keep deleting the update in my memory. I’ve read online the newest IOS will kill the productivity of the 6, it slows it down to a snails pace. Apple has already rendered my perfectly good 2011 Ipad useless because of IOS updates, I can’t even surf the web or email anymore because there is a 5 second delay everytime I try to type something.

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  176. Gadgets and going out eat up a large chunk of a household’s disposable income but its comparatively little to the rest of the budget. Taxes, housing, necessary food, utilities, debt payment, health care and possibly child care eat up most of a household budget, leaving a small amount left over for that Iphone X. I pay so much for child care that I could buy three Iphone X’s every month for the next 4 years if I wanted to. I could lease three luxury vehicles every month for the same price. My mortgage, child care, student loans and healthcare eat up close to $6k or $7k a month (paper napkin calculations). Factor in taxes and there’s some disposable cash left over but it’s a small part of my budget. I can’t really lower my housing payment because I have a fairly cheap mortgage due to my purchase at the bottom of the market; and child care is expensive because it is what it is. I go to the local place that’s not the cheapest or most expensive, right in the middle. studnet loans are already refi’d into 2.5% rate and health care is already on a high deductible plan. What’s left to cut in the budget? Not eating out? What’s that, maybe $400 a month (pizza/beers once a week?); being ultra diligent about water usage and turning off lights? That might save me $20 a month. I’ve already insulated the crap out of my house to save on the HVAC bills – who knows how long it will take to recover those expenses.

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  177. “I pay so much for child care that I could buy three Iphone X’s every month for the next 4 years if I wanted to.”

    Well, kids in general are hugely expensive. I could have had 4 Ferraris, maybe more, for what my two kids cost me. Seriously. Factor in the loss of my wife’s income and I could have had almost a dozen more. Then again you can only drive one at a time.

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  178. ““their computers cost $1500- $2000.”
    “Still do!”

    but they don’t have to. you could by a $150 pc that is serviceable.

    “The key is that the $1500 computer of today is 1,000x better (no joke) in basically all ways, *before* you even discuss the internet.”

    does it make you 1,000x happier?

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  179. Wow, hd’s life is terrible. That explains a lot.

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  180. Wow. HD’s life blob just then was like a bizarro version of our prior resident C doctor and his expenses e.g. professional landscaping and a suburb place and a city place and and and

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  181. “Wow, hd’s life is terrible. That explains a lot.”

    And I have a high BMI due to eating all my kids’ left over chicken fingers, Mack and cheese, etc. I’m fat, broke and living in the suburbs. Life does suck. And the bears are terrible. woe is me.

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  182. “does it make you 1,000x happier?”

    I still use a really old version of wordperfect these days, I have to run DOSBox to get it to work, but the functionality is awesome, way better than any stupid M$ office 365 subscription I have to pay for. See, that’s another way I save money but using old abandonware for my PC computing needs.

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  183. “Well, kids in general are hugely expensive. ”

    Why is it my grandparents and wife’s grandparents had 6-8 kids each like good catholics, and they are all wealthier than I will be only having three? That’s the rub ya know.

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  184. “I still use a really old version of wordperfect these days”

    good use of all your reveal codes knowledge!

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  185. Consumables such as clothing definitely doesn’t last nearly as long as old stuff. You have to spend a hefty penny to find quality made shoes

    Probably have to define pretty penny

    Good shoes were always expensive. 2 issues IMO no one takes care of them any more. IE clean, polish, dressing etc, instead they buy a $70-100 pair of Kenneth Cole or Madden shoes and burn through them in 6 months. The other is there really isn’t a good midrange option

    Clothing is the same way.

    Not a suit guy

    Buy once cry once

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  186. “Why is it my grandparents and wife’s grandparents had 6-8 kids each like good catholics, and they are all wealthier than I will be only having three? That’s the rub ya know.”

    Hmm.. Could that be because there was a stay at home parent to raise the kids?

    People also usually had one car and I remember my dad saying that they almost never went out to eat. It was also socially acceptable among the middle class to raise kids in apartments. Both of my parents were raised in apartments. My dad’s family was too poor to buy a house and my mom’s parents had seen their parents lose their houses during the depression and were afraid to take the risk and buy.

    They didn’t have to pay for internet and cable. Utilities were likely included in their rent. Kids played games on their own and parents didn’t have to pay for various sports.

    Pet weren’t taken to the vet and doggy day care didn’t exist.

    If any of us wanted to, we could give up many of these things and live simpler lives. I would not want to live like that, but we could live like HD’s grandparents if we wanted.

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  187. Why is it my grandparents and wife’s grandparents had 6-8 kids each like good catholics, and they are all wealthier than I will be only having three? That’s the rub ya know.

    God liked them better

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  188. “Then again you can only drive one at a time.”

    is a very stupid opinion!!!

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  189. i would love to live a simpler life. pen and paper role playing games actually talking and interacting with the dungeon master! those were the days.

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  190. when we going to have a CC DND adventure DM HD?

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  191. As of late, I’ve become addicted to this game: http://www.tgwerewolf.com/

    It would be hilarious to play with the people on this site.

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  192. “Wow, hd’s life is terrible. That explains a lot.”

    imo hd’s life’ll get much worse during ’18 – imo dt’ll try to fire Mueller for investigating & indicting dt for violations of Foreign Corruption Practices Act (‘FCPA’) re 2012-16 licensing & overseeing const of Trump Tower Baku in Azerbaijan (hereafter ‘AZ’). Due to oil boom the kleptocracy named AZ’s GDP grew tenfold from 2001-2011. AZ’s the size of Indiana w/2X the oil reserves of Texas. Basically imo dt facilitated foreign money laundering for associates of Putin just like Manafort did. (I’d guess dt performed sim. acts in Georgia & elsewhere)

    dt’s dev’t partners in Baku, members of Mammadov family regularly jv’d with Azarpasillo Const. (“AC”), a front for Iranian Rev. Guard (‘IRGC’) who due to US sanctions needed foreign friends w/ bank access to launder money. IRGC had ties & relationship w/ Ziya Mammadov via AC. Mammadov owned Bank of AZ. Wikileaks (“Wiki”) previously published in 2011 a US State Dept cable describing Mammadov, who became a billionaire while being pd $12k/yr for ‘serving’ as Transportation Minister of AZ as “notoriously corrupt even by Azerbaijani standards”. As AZ’s Trans Minister Mammadov rejected Bechtel’s bid of $9.65 mil/mile to build AZ’s road network as much too high (I agree!) but instead AZ paid Azarpasillo $29 mil/mile to build it – the most expensive roads ever built. Do you think there was any wetting of beaks by Mammadov, IRGC & others? I rec reading “The Coleones of the Caspian” in Foreign Policy journal.

    Everything abt the Baku dev’t screams pass to any RE developer w/any business sense who’d do basic due diligence – too much downside risk even for $5 mil+ in licensing fees pd upfront. Extremely corrupt country, corrupt local partner in gov’t w/ strong ties to IRGC (Mammadov’s history working w/IRGC was also revealed in another State Dept cable Wiki’d leaked/published in ’11), terrible neighborhood/location particularly for luxury hotel, 35% occup’y rate @ Baku’s existing deluxe hotels in much better locations… No chance in hell of successful RE dev’t outcome but that was never the plan imo.

    Frederick Bourke, co-founder of a US handbag co who’d invested in an AZ project which paid bribes to gov’t officials in AZ served a yr in prison in ’09 upon conviction for violating FCPA – App Ct dismissed his appeal stating FCPA criminalized “conscious avoidance” — the deliberate effort to remain in the dark about any transgressions a foreign partner might be involved in.

    Like Manafort dt believes himself too smart & powerful & able to talk/lawyer his way out of any investigation. We’ll see huh hd?

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  193. “We’ll see huh hd?”

    you’ve lost your mind southbound. I was making a self-depreciating and running joke about Dungeons & Dragons and you bring up trump in the middle this. It’s truly no different than HH’s rants just the opposite side of the political spectrum. Please, seek professional help.

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  194. “Please, seek professional help.”

    Thanks for your concern but I try to conduct myself in a manner I believe assures I don’t need professional help from an attorney. I wish you had the same level of concern for future of our great nation but hey every little bit of consideration helps so thanks again.

    Fwiw posters routinely rail against Chgo, Cook Cty & IL pols. I understand why & there’s no point attempting to defend indefensible behavior. Imo that’s why you try to tar me w/HH’ism instead of responding to my post. (I will point out Madigan looks like a piker compared to AZ’s pols/dt & dt’s partners but that’s not a defense.)

    As I believe Carl Sandburg said ““If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell”! I certainly hear you (and dt) pounding & yelling. Good day sir

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  195. “Why is it my grandparents and wife’s grandparents had 6-8 kids each like good catholics, and they are all wealthier than I will be only having three? That’s the rub ya know.”

    In addition to Jenny’s comments, their kids (your parents) never played “organized” sports that cost thousands of dollars a year to join. They played in Little League that was cheap and then for their high school.

    And the vacations were very different. Going to Lake Geneva was exotic. If someone went to Disney World (or, gasp, Disney Land), you definitely drove there. But you were rare. No one left the country unlike today when it’s pretty common for the upper middle class to routinely go to Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica with their kids every spring break.

    Hawaii was even a big deal. Very, very expensive. A special experience.

    My grandmother sewed a lot of the family’s clothes. Who does that today? Almost no one. Clothes, though, have gotten cheaper so it doesn’t make sense to make them at home (from an economic point of view.)

    There were also pensions so no one was saving separately in 401ks. And you moved less. You bought a house and lived there for 20-30 years. You were guaranteed to pay it off and it was harder to get home equity loans etc. (i.e. harder to “cash in”) so that generation had assets by the time they retired.

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  196. “Early 90’s no. Dorms reeked of microwave popcorn.”

    Guess you went to a ritzy school with rich kids. Because no one at Big State U had a microwave when I was there. We made popcorn in the dorm kitchen and that was it.

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  197. “C’mon, I’m certain neither you nor anyone else here has set foot in an alai’s anytime recently.”

    Sure. It’s right next door to the Trader Joe’s in Lincoln Park. I shop in both pretty often.

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  198. “I was making a self-depreciating and running joke about Dungeons & Dragons and you bring up trump in the middle this.”

    I agree with this.

    Can you lay off the politics Southbound? For just a few days? It’s already so tiring just being an American with this leadership. Can’t we talk about something else?

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  199. And lay off the obsessive use of abbreviations while you’re at it. It doesn’t cost you a dollar out of your own pocket every time you use a whole word, but you sure the hell type like it.

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  200. Sabrina,

    on the one hand I agree with you that vacations are more exotic, clothes aren’t made at home and traveling sports weren’t common. On the otherhand, air travel has gotten cheap, foreign vacations to third world Caribbean countries have become about as cheap as domestic vacations, and traveling sports aren’t *that* expensive. I’d argue the cost of housing and vehicles and education is what has contributed to this. My uncle told us at a family get together over the summer he bought his ranch in silicon valley for $50,000 in the 1970’s and it’s worth $2,000,000 now. My property taxes in the last 5 years have increased nearly 20% and not due to losing any exemptions or anything. And schooling, that’s so expensive too. Back in the days people had 6-8 kids spread out over 20+ years (there is a 20+ year gap between my oldest and youngest aunt/uncle and the same for my wife’s aunts/uncles on both sides of her family), crammed them into an affordable post-war house. taxes were low, the local school was new and good, and the family had a cheap, reliable tank of a car. These days cars are more expensive than ever – yes you get more, much more for a car, and the days of the 1970s crapboxes are over, but that doesn’t change the fact that may families are making $800 a month in car payments for two cars spread out over 5 or more years. Even a decent minivan is $30k now these days.

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  201. Cars used to last 10 years. Now they last more than 15: http://faculty.sites.uci.edu/kevinroth/files/2011/03/Scrappage_18Jan2016.pdf

    Also, nobody is forcing anyone to buy high end cars. If they bought a stripped down model, the closest equivalent to what was available in the 70s, they wouldn’t be spending $30K.

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  202. “Thanks for your concern but I try to conduct myself in a manner I believe assures I don’t need professional help from an attorney.”

    Two Words –

    Therapy

    You sure as hell need it, you’re unhinged

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  203. “My property taxes in the last 5 years have increased nearly 20% and not due to losing any exemptions or anything. And schooling, that’s so expensive too.”

    Back in the day, there were 40 kids to a classroom and teachers weren’t in unions, so public schools were a lot less expensive to run. We should go back to that model.

    You’re also extremely fortunate that your property taxes have gone up just 20%. Mine have increased about 60%. I think people who are using public schools should have their property taxes go up if they don’t want 40+ kids to a classroom. Also, churches/temples/mosques should pay property taxes and entertainment taxes.

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  204. “Back in the day, there were 40 kids to a classroom and teachers weren’t in unions, so public schools were a lot less expensive to run. We should go back to that model.”

    yeah thanks a lot JFK for the plague that is public unions!

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  205. Gary, you can barely find “stripped down” models anymore.

    A lot of the bloat in cars though is driven by government regulations which is causing auto manufacturers to include a lot of the high tech safety features on all cars… back up cameras, ABS, traction control, air bags, etc. All this stuff adds to the cost of the vehicle. This is also why a lot of the beloved models of yesteryear aren’t made now as there is no way to make them and comply with govt regs.

    The other issue is that it is harder to find a shadetree mechanic anymore to do basic work on cars because of all the electronics. The car manufacturers use proprietary diagnostic systems so you have to bring your car into a dealer to get work done (if you want it done right) in many cases.

    I recall my parents being able to take their car to some guy name “Stucky” to get work done on their car. I’m sure if I brought my current cars to Stucky these days, I’d get a blue screen of death as I’m sure he doesn’t have the fancy diagnostic system required. In fact, I had that happen to my Touareg when I took it to a specialized off road mechanic. They were about 50% of the cost of the dealer, but didn’t have the diagnostic tools VW required and couldn’t get some of the electronics reset properly after they did the work.

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  206. Guess you went to a ritzy school with rich kids. Because no one at Big State U had a microwave when I was there. We made popcorn in the dorm kitchen and that was it.

    If UofI is a ritzy school so be it

    Late 80’s Hot Plate and Toaster Oven

    By 90 it was Microwaves

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  207. Russ,

    Good point. In theory the benefits of those requirements would be worth it but they aren’t. Airbags cost at least $1.8 MM per life saved. I did not realize the backup camera was now a requirement but I bet that costs even more per life saved.

    I also didn’t realize how expensive cars have gotten but you can get a Kia Optima for under $22K and I can assure you it’s a much nicer car than I drove around in as a kid.

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  208. Comparing anything to Silicon Valley is dumb

    School costs – Admin bloat. Class size isn’t driving the costs nearly as much

    You can thank Cash for Clunkers for eliminating much of the used car market

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  209. dude just buy a OBD reader for under 20 bucks like this
    http://amzn.to/2zcAeBM
    (I’ve even used that to clear my check engine light and pass emissions in IL lol)

    and you’ll know what’s wrong with your car before you take it to your mechanic… there’s not really any “special” proprietary software to do most things with exception for the very high end luxury brands, for example the “change oil light” on Porsches can only be reset by a Porsche dealer (dumb)

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  210. “A lot of the bloat in cars though is driven by government regulations which is causing auto manufacturers to include a lot of the high tech safety features on all cars… back up cameras, ABS, traction control, air bags, etc. All this stuff adds to the cost of the vehicle. This is also why a lot of the beloved models of yesteryear aren’t made now as there is no way to make them and comply with govt regs.”

    “Good point. In theory the benefits of those requirements would be worth it but they aren’t. Airbags cost at least $1.8 MM per life saved. I did not realize the backup camera was now a requirement but I bet that costs even more per life saved.”

    I dunno. There’s also stuff that gets added wo regulations, so I’m not sure how much of this would happen anyway (regulation almost surely speeds up). E.g., AC is virtually standard now. Power locks/windows prob getting close. Also, the $1.8 MM is lower than the value of a life inputs they use in govt cost/benefit analyses, isn’t it?

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  211. “truly no different than HH’s rants just the opposite side of the political spectrum”

    It concerns me that you actually believe that, HD.

    You are equating political viewpoints with racism.

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  212. “Back in the day … teachers weren’t in unions”

    What day? 1895?

    CTU traces back to 1897. Before women could vote in Illinois. Maybe we should disenfranchise women, too.

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  213. “Also, the $1.8 MM is lower than the value of a life inputs they use in govt cost/benefit analyses, isn’t it?”

    Holy shit! The DOT puts a value on a life of around $10MM if I read that correctly. I think we need to outsource living to a cheaper country because we’ll go broke with that mentality.

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  214. “Airbags cost at least $1.8 MM per life saved.”

    While the VSL may be too high, considering only “lives saved” unvalues airbags–there is undoubtedly also a meaningful reduction in serious injuries.

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  215. Well, this has probably been debated endlessly. The SAE said it was a bad deal after factoring in all benefits. I don’t know why the government has to mandate stuff like this. It should be offered but mandating it? http://papers.sae.org/2004-01-0840/

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  216. “Two Words –
    Therapy
    You sure as hell need it, you’re unhinged”

    Two words (count mine sonies) – no thanks. Thanks for your opinion but imo you couldn’t be more wrong.

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  217. Do you really want to be the life that wasn’t saved because your cheap ass skimped on the airbags?

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  218. Some random thoughts on costs of families – imo US car makers produced many extremely crappy products between abt 1975-1999. Imo my ’75 2 dr Pontiac Ventura epitomized why foreign car makers succeeded here. It was a pos throughout – the front seat backs were pre-set in an unalterable position designed to comfortably accommodate the most obese prospective car purchasers. As a consequence normal size drivers couldn’t find a safe comfortable driving position. It hesitated significantly before responding to accelerator. Many features like power windows failed. Our Plymouth K-car & later our Chrysler minivan both died before reaching 80K miles despite paying dealer for regular maintenance & far too many repairs. Our more recent cars (both domestic & foreign) are much more reliable making ownership costs much more predictable. I remember first hearing abt car leasing in late 80’s when an auction house bought farmland to accommodate a coming boom in reselling 2 yr old used cars.

    We spend $650/mo on avg @ EBC, roughly 2x our $325 dues (+ trainers, classes, food shop carryout etc). While imo that’s the best ROI re our discretionary $, my parents joined a tennis club only after we were all launched and I’ll guess it cost $50/mo. tops. My Catholic HS cost $660/yr (abt what UICU then charged me for tuition) & when I looked up Benet HS it sounded cheap @ $11K/yr (plus siblings attending get a discount which my kids Catholic schools didn’t offer) since I believe Ignatius is $19K/yr and Loyola’s @ $16K+ plus both expect additional family donations. Just my fwiw

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  219. watch this if you think skimping on safety features is ok
    https://www.autoblog.com/2017/08/02/tsuru-vs-versa-iihs-crash-test-autoblog-minute/

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  220. or rather this since autoblog site sucks
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85OysZ_4lp0

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  221. “You are equating political viewpoints with racism.”

    Oh no, not this line of faulting reasoning again – SB’s unhinged delusional conspiracy rants are less delusional because they are about Trump; whereas HH’s delusional conspiracy rants about jews and the new world order are more delusional because they are racist. To me there’s no difference because it’s all crap. I don’t want to reargue Charlottesville here again

    Anyone interested in a holiday party this year? I hear Bennigans in Schaumburg has *really* good chicken fingers. The honey mustard sauce is awesome too. BBQ is too spicy for me.

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  222. “You can thank Cash for Clunkers for eliminating much of the used car market”

    I think emissions testing, and the rising requirements of emission tests, is what eliminated much of the used car market.

    Also, I think that only a computer controlled car can pass current emissions tests after 10 years of age.

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  223. “this line of faulting reasoning”

    So, when you criticize someone for what he *says* and the way he *acts* it is the same as criticizing an entire group based on the color of their skin?

    So, you summarily reject as “faulty reasoning” the concept of distinguishing between judging people by the content of their character, vs by the color of their skin?

    Please to explain how I’ve misinterpreted what you are writing. And be sure not to cite to data from a niche.com page.

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  224. PS: to be clear, I have no idea as to the veracity of SB’s allegations.

    But you, HD, have essentially equated the making of the allegations with believing in the blood libel.

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  225. “I hear Bennigans in Schaumburg has *really* good chicken fingers.”

    Do you mean Elgin? Or are you also referring to a time before teachers formed unions?

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  226. “The SAE said it was a bad deal after factoring in all benefits.”

    First, if you read the publication, the author seems more than a little biased. Second, it does not appear he took the value of life type benefits into account, only direct economic losses (property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, etc.).

    “I don’t know why the government has to mandate stuff like this. It should be offered but mandating it?”

    I tend to agree but I dunno. I don’t think externality arguments really apply here, though there are some (probably limited) externalities. I do think there can be a case where the market would take some time to adjust because of frictions etc that the govt can provide some benefit by stepping in. E.g., if you are going to end up w airbags in almost all cars anyway (as we have with AC), then mandating it would not only move us there faster but also drive down costs quickly (I don’t know if this actually happened). Are there really a lot of people who are upset about being forced to buy cars with airbags?

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  227. I think there’s a stronger case to be made that back up cameras don’t save lives. I like having a back up camera because it makes life easier, but I think the life saving use cases are very small.

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  228. 1) If given the choice I would get airbags in my cars. But that’s because my life is worth more than everyone else’s.
    2) People clearly complain about the cost of new cars and all these govt requirements are part of the reason so perhaps some would prefer not to have airbags as a way to cut their cost. Maybe they don’t put the same value on their life as I do on mine. Also, if it were optional I guarantee you that there would be a lot more written on the benefits of them so that people could make intelligent choices.
    3) I suspect that Jenny is right that the benefits of a backup camera are weak relative to the cost but again we would opt to get it. My wife needs it.

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  229. Anon(tfo), Sabrina specifically asked SB “no more politics”. I’m not going to argue with you with you see as an argument of moral equivalency, or as I see it, the delusional rantings of two lunatics. let’s just leave it at that.

    As for Bennigans, I actually meant Houlihans in Schaumburg. The top reviews on Yelp actually say ““The stuffed shrooms are fantastic” and “Also, Disco Fries are awesome and the peach Long Island Iced Tea pitcher is preeeetty awesome, especially when they’re on special.” Yummy Sysco friend food…..

    But alas, i need to get out of the back of the comic book store, to my horror, I discovered Houlihans has been closed in Schaumburg since 2012! what the heck? When did this happen? Why did I not notice this? Can we all go to Pizzaria near Woodfield instead? I’ll rent the party room!

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  230. “let’s just leave it at that.”

    So, you realized that you overreached?

    Or you really stand behind “Raving about Trump = Blood Libel” and are embarrassed by that (as you should be)?

    To be clear, I think that the bleeding edge of raving about Trump is damaging to the anti-trumpkin side of ‘normal’ domestic politics, and isn’t welcome in polite(ish) company. That doesn’t come close to making it the equivalent of the blood libel, which is what teh Hof traffics in.

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  231. no overreaching. just don’t want to reargue charlottesville. we can do that at the holiday party at the olive garden at 90/94 and addison. i love the bread sticks!

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  232. “don’t want to reargue charlottesville”

    This isn’t C’ville. No matter how often you pull that strawman out of your pocket.

    It’s about something stoopid you wrote, most likely bc SB is being a DB, again.

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  233. ” the olive garden at 90/94 and addison”

    been there… the food is… salty

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  234. “I suspect that Jenny is right that the benefits of a backup camera are weak relative to the cost but again we would opt to get it. ”

    Back up cameras are pretty cheap actually The cameras are low res and they use the console panel LCD. I’ve got a larger vehicle these day to tow around the fam and the vehicle steers and turns like a beast. The camera is a godsend when backing out of a parking space, driveway or parallel parking. Otherwise it would be impossible to see.

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  235. “On the otherhand, air travel has gotten cheap, foreign vacations to third world Caribbean countries have become about as cheap as domestic vacations, and traveling sports aren’t *that* expensive.”

    It’s $5,000-$10,000 for a family of 4 for a week at an all inclusive in the Riviera Maya these days. It’s not unusual to see your kids classmates at the resort you’re at over Spring Break.

    It’s worse for Hawaii. Those fares are more and hotels more expensive. Closer to $10,000 there.

    Is that “cheap”?

    Is that what the Baby Boomers spent on their vacations with their kids when they got into the car and went to the campgrounds or drove down to Disney? I doubt it.

    Traveling sports aren’t that expensive? Ba ha ha ha!

    Clearly your kids are too small, or aren’t playing sports, HD.

    Here’s the average annual spending of families with children ages 8 to 18 who play organized sports (per Time magazine this year):

    1. Lacrosse: $7,956
    2. Hockey: $7,013
    3. Baseball/softball: $4,044
    4. Football: $2,739
    5. Soccer: $1,472
    6. Basketball: $1,143

    And now imagine that 2 or 3 of your kids are doing this at the same time?

    Also per Time Magazine: joining a high school travel team can cost families of upwards of $3,000 per season. And there is fall baseball and summer baseball. Numerous “seasons” now and, yes, they play even in Chicago. They play nearly year round now.

    There’s no way the Baby Boomers paid anything like this. They paid $50 to get their kid into the little league, and then bought equipment. Although, I do have to say, the girls didn’t play in the 1960s-1980s. So you only had to pay for your sons. Now, however, it’s both sexes. 24/7.

    HUGE expenses.

    Yet the odds of playing competitive, meaning Division 1, after high school are worse than winning the lottery. It’s a complete waste of money (sorry kids!).

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  236. “There’s no way the Baby Boomers paid anything like this. They paid $50 to get their kid into the little league, and then bought equipment. Although, I do have to say, the girls didn’t play in the 1960s-1980s. So you only had to pay for your sons. Now, however, it’s both sexes. 24/7.”

    Girls rode horses instead back then. That wasn’t cheap.

    Also, don’t forget about Model UN. That usually requires foreign travel. Then, there’s volunteering at a kibbutz, an exchange year, and doing summer programs at colleges. It’s not easy being a middle class family these days.

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  237. I don’t think it was ever easy being middle class… like why do people look back at the 50’s-70’s middle class lifestyle so fondly? IT SUCKED ASS!

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  238. I grew up middle class and I don’t know a single middle class family that rode horses – and I lived in Texas. And nobody traveled much – never overseas. No exchanges. And sports were through the school or the park district with no fees that I’m aware of – except your own equipment I guess.

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  239. Jenny, your view of what is middle class is warped. Maybe middle class for Wilmette or something, but I don’t know too many truly middle class folks who could afford riding horses. That is a very upper crust activity unless you are living on a farm. Next thing I know you are going to say sailing is middle class.

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  240. “I think there’s a stronger case to be made that back up cameras don’t save lives. I like having a back up camera because it makes life easier, but I think the life saving use cases are very small.”

    The standard back up camera in our vehicle probably saved someone’s life a week ago. I was pulling out of our driveway and saw a little old man behind the car at the last second – he was basically too low and close for the review mirror, but I got a close-up of him (oblivious to the vehicle) via the camera.

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  241. how fucking fast are you people driving in reverse? Saving someone’s life? lol are you really not paying attention to where you are reversing?

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  242. I actually like most of the new tech in cars other than navigation systems as I wish the car companies would just leave that to phone apps mirrored to the nav screen.

    My truck has the automatic emergency braking which has come on a few times. In all the cases, I was aware of the idiot in front of me, but thankful for the backup braking.

    I love the backup cameras and parking sensors. I kind of wish I had the 360 degree overhead camera though, but it wasn’t all that common when I got my truck.

    My favorite though is the adaptive cruise control. It will brake and accelerate automatically based on traffic. All I have to do is steer. If a car gets in front of me, my car will automatically slow down or brake and then accelerate again.

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  243. “It’s $5,000-$10,000 for a family of 4 for a week at an all inclusive in the Riviera Maya these days. It’s not unusual to see your kids classmates at the resort you’re at over Spring Break.

    It’s worse for Hawaii. Those fares are more and hotels more expensive. Closer to $10,000 there.”

    I never understand why people go for those all inclusive places. They are trashy with bad food. Took my family to Greece for two weeks, rented a house and a few apartments, the total housing cost was $2000. If timed right, you’ll get good airfare too. Just go out to local restaurants and shop at the local grocery. Such a better vacation, than some sanitized, boring caribbean island or Hawaii.

    Sabrina’s right about travel teams. We pay over $2200 for a travel soccer team.

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  244. “Jenny, your view of what is middle class is warped. Maybe middle class for Wilmette or something, but I don’t know too many truly middle class folks who could afford riding horses. That is a very upper crust activity unless you are living on a farm. Next thing I know you are going to say sailing is middle class.”

    My mom, grandma, and I all grew up riding horses, but never owned horses ourselves. I just took weekly lessons and became rather good at it. I highly doubt my parents spent anywhere near what families spend on traveling sports teams. Riding horses is middle class. One of my friends now owns a horse. They go on simple vacations with the kids and live on a non-fancy street (drug dealers a few houses down). She just really loves horses and gives up a luxury car and fancy trips to own one.

    Sailing is also middle class. The park district offers sailing lessons to anyone. One of my adult friends took the lessons at the park district for a minimal cost. You can rent boats from the park district too. I took basic sailing lessons as a kid, but didn’t enjoy it enough to go further. You don’t have to be wealthy to enjoy these pastimes. I think everyone should learn to sail and ride a horse.

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  245. “Riding horses is middle class.”

    Not in the city, it isn’t, no. In small town wherever, maybe.

    “really loves horses and gives up a luxury car and fancy trips”

    Luxury cars and fancy trips are definitionally not MC, too.

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  246. If horses and sailing were middle class then I’d like to know the annual income of said families and how much they retired on because nobody that I knew in the middle class could afford such things. Weekly lessons?

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  247. “If horses and sailing were middle class then I’d like to know the annual income of said families and how much they retired on because nobody that I knew in the middle class could afford such things. Weekly lessons?”

    There are free sailing programs in Chicago for kids and discounted programs for adults. You don’t need to own a boat.

    Horseback riding is a little more expensive, but still likely less costly than a traveling sports team.

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  248. I enjoy hearing Jenny’s skewed version of what is middle class and what isn’t. I think it’s hilarious that sailing is middle class because the park district offers classes.

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  249. “Took my family to Greece for two weeks, rented a house and a few apartments, the total housing cost was $2000. If timed right, you’ll get good airfare too.”

    All inclusives are easy with kids. You already paid so they can just eat and drink as much as they want. They also have much better beaches than most of Greece (sorry- but it’s true.)

    Riviera Maya isn’t too “boring” if you’re into history as you can see several former cities of one of the world’s greatest civilizations (some would put it on par, or even greater, than the ancient Greeks). But it depends on where you go in the Caribbean, obviously.

    Additionally, you’re not going to Greece in March or April during spring break. Most of Greece is actually pretty cold then and many islands would not really be open for tourism (ferries not even running reliably etc.) Greece is a summer destination. That’s why you’ll find French, German, and Brits all over the Caribbean all winter long.

    You can rent a home in Mexico for $2000 with a cook, too, in places like Puerto Vallarta. Airfares will be cheaper. What’d you pay total for your trip Tone? You aren’t listing the airfare, so I’m assuming at least $1000 per person for summer travel. That’s still not horrible- to pay $6,000- for a summer break. But not exactly “cheap” either. Riviera Maya will be cheaper in the summer. Could probably do a family of 4 with airfares for about $4,000 at that time of the year. The $5,000-$10,000 is for peak winter travel.

    And clearly you haven’t been at an all inclusive in a long time. While many of the family focused resorts are pretty average with food (but who cares as the kids eat pizza anyway) – there are numerous resorts who specialize in food now, especially the adult only. They’re not dumb. They know people want foodie vacations.

    Additionally, not all all inclusives are huge resorts. There are smaller ones that have only like 150-200 rooms.

    I sound like a travel agent. Lol.

    By the way, the all inclusive resort basically originated in Europe with Club Med. The French love their all inclusives!

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  250. “Riviera Maya isn’t too “boring” if you’re into history as you can see several former cities of one of the world’s greatest civilizations (some would put it on par, or even greater, than the ancient Greeks)”

    A meso-american might make that argument but they would be quickly shot down – no way were the precolumbian new world cultures more advanced than the greeks. They never even invented the wheel!

    However, many of these sites are well preserved, more so than the modern ruins in Greece today. The Parthenon is still around because it’s on the top of a hill and was only used a short period. Places like Sparta and Delphi haven’t got much left.

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  251. “I think it’s hilarious that sailing is middle class because the park district offers classes.”

    Sailing is free (or essentially free) at MIT and the poorz can go to MIT for free. So there’s that.

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  252. HD sailing may not be middle class everywhere, but it’s certainly accessible in Chicago, if you don’t mind sticking to those little boats that typically stick behind the breakwater.

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  253. Disagree on the food at all-inclusives, I’ve been to two of the top-ranked ones (including a top five in the world at the time on Trip Advisor) and the food was awful, generally worse than a mainstream cruiseline even. Unless you go to something like a Grand Velas (which I just priced at well over 4K a person for a week at the Cabo location without airfare) that makes food a priority, or you think Olive Garden is good eating, you will very likely be disappointed.

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  254. Fine you want a drop dead gorgeous beach go to Sardinia. We took our kids there too. Rented an apartment overlooking the Mediterranean, that was about $1000 and stayed at a working agriturismo farm with dinner and wine grown and made on site. That was $200 for all of us per night.

    All inclusives generally suck.

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  255. Yes all inclusive food is terrible!

    Riviera Maya blows too, only nice thing is that you are a quick cab ride to Playa del carmen or other stuff other than your ‘hotel thats trying to shove a timeshare up your ass’, in the area

    Russ – Only thing I need tech wise is parking sensors and traction control

    My ‘truck’ has adaptive cruise as an expensive option and apparently the prior owners didn’t opt for it. I was excited to try it out

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  256. I find the idea of “all inclusive” to be depressing. You have so many people in the same place, all doing the same things, eating the same foods, with the same obnoxious children. You could do that anywhere. I like being able to explore on my own and do my own thing.

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  257. While in Sardinia, I rented a speed boat for the day, which was 100 euros and went to 5 or 6 beaches that are only reachable by boat.

    They looked like this.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/tamata80/18338245942

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  258. “Riviera Maya blows too, only nice thing is that you are a quick cab ride to Playa del Carmen”

    The Riviera Maya IS Playa del Carmen. It stretches from Cancun south to Tulum and includes two ancient Mayan cities.

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  259. “Fine you want a drop dead gorgeous beach go to Sardinia.”

    It looks great. Much better than Greek beaches. I’d love to go there in the summer but somewhere in Europe would never work for my kids spring breaks. It’s just too cold there. We always wanted the beach and warmth coming from Chicago.

    And, by the way, there are PLENTY of all inclusives IN Sardinia. Lol. I told you, the Europeans basically invented the all inclusives. There’s this idea that they’re all high brow over the ocean when they’re not. They LOVE the all inclusives, which is why the Europeans fly 12 hours nonstop flights to get to the Riviera Maya. They can’t go to Sardinia in the winter either. It’s too cold.

    Here’s some options in Sardinia. My personal favorite is the one with 598 rooms and a train/shuttle to take you around the resort. Lol.

    https://www.oyster.com/sardinia/hotels/roundups/best-all-inclusive-hotels-in-sardinia-italy/

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  260. “Unless you go to something like a Grand Velas (which I just priced at well over 4K a person for a week at the Cabo location without airfare) that makes food a priority, or you think Olive Garden is good eating, you will very likely be disappointed.”

    Like I said, you have to go to one that has focused on the food. And if you think going to one with 500 rooms will have the best food, then you’re crazy. No way you can cook unique food for that many people 24/7. That’s why the “foodie” resorts tend to be smaller. This is a big market now. The millennials want better food so they have started catering to this crowd. Pick one that is focused on it.

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  261. But why bother with bad food you on a sanitized resort when you can rent an apartment and go to good restaurants? All for half the price?

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  262. Maybe my understanding of these all inclusive resorts is inaccurate, but I always thought the intention when you go to them is to stay on the property the entire time and not see anything else. I imagine them to be like cruises where you never get off of the boat.

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  263. Because people are sheep

    I prefer to keep it that way as it keeps pricing low and availability high

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  264. “I imagine them to be like cruises where you never get off of the boat.”

    In many of these places with all inclusive resorts, its just not safe to be off the resort property. You don’t want to go into ‘town’ because it’s dangerous. And that’s what makes it ‘cheap’. Thats why you can fly, eat drink and do everything on an all inclusive resort for a few thousand dollars but you shouldn’t leave resort property. And don’t ever get injured there or have to undergo surgery. The major hospitals in town aren’t better than the most rural hospitals in america. Most americans choose to spend $30,000 or more to get airlifted out of these places as soon as they are stabilized. There’s an entire industry in south florida dedicated to leer jetting injured americans back to miami-dade and ft lauderdale hospitals. Also, I’ve seen through litigation what happens when someone is injured on these resorts. You’re subject to local laws where personal injury awards are limited to the local average wages – and it’s abysmal. It’s major multinationals that own these resorts – many of them spanish due to the shared language – and they do everything they can to avoid liability. There’s always a weak leak in the resort, whether it’s negligent staffing , or faulty facilities (like dangerous pools, etc), poor food prep standard (that’s why so many people get sick there), or even in some cases, substandard transportation to/from the airport. I’m sure the resort industry will point out that the injury rate is very low yada yada yada but if I’m going to undergo exploratory surgery to stop internal bleeding due to some accident at a resort, I want to be on american soil, not in the middle of kingston, Jamaica.

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  265. One of the chicago news channels recently had a story about rogue waves at the beaches at major resort in Cabo sweeping people out to sea. This is a common problem. They tell you to stay in the pool area because the beach is dangerous.

    Travel Advisor will remove your review if it talks about anything bad:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/02/travel/trip-advisor-rape-mexico.html

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  266. http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/investigations/2017/08/16/blackout-victims-mexico-resorts-have-little-hope-justice/565961001/

    Mexicans are drugging americans at resorts.

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  267. https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/mexico-travel-warning.html

    The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to certain parts of Mexico due to the activities of criminal organizations in those areas. U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in various Mexican states. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Mexico issued December 8, 2016.

    For information on security conditions in specific regions of Mexico, see our state-by-state assessments below. U.S. government personnel and their families are prohibited from personal travel to all areas to which the Department recommends “defer non-essential travel” in this Travel Warning. As a result of security precautions that U.S. government personnel must take while traveling to parts of Mexico, our response time to emergencies involving U.S. citizens may be hampered or delayed.

    Gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place on streets and in public places during broad daylight. The Mexican government dedicates substantial resources to protect visitors to major tourist destinations and has engaged in an extensive effort to counter criminal organizations that engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico. There is no evidence that criminal organizations have targeted U.S. citizens based on their nationality. Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the level of drug-related violence and crime that are reported in the border region or in areas along major trafficking routes.

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  268. “The Riviera Maya IS Playa del Carmen. It stretches from Cancun south to Tulum and includes two ancient Mayan cities.”

    uhhh no, playa del carmen is a city on its own

    I’ve been going to that area for like 25 years now, there used to be nothing where Riviera is but yeah its now connected basically to Cancun although it is still super rural feeling between cancun and playa because the resorts are so far from the main road

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  269. One of the chicago news channels recently had a story about rogue waves at the beaches at major resort in Cabo sweeping people out to sea. This is a common problem. They tell you to stay in the pool area because the beach is dangerous

    Sounds like a riptide and not that uncommon

    So they tell people there are areas of the beach that are dangerous, chowderheads don’t listen and it’s the resorts fault?

    Please keep going to Mexico

    Thanks
    The rest of the Caribbean

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  270. https://weather.com/news/news/2017-11-06-barbara-thomas-beverly-skripsky-twins-cabo-san-lucas-rogue-wave-tragedy

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  271. “https://weather.com/news/news/2017-11-06-barbara-thomas-beverly-skripsky-twins-cabo-san-lucas-rogue-wave-tragedyhttps://weather.com/news/news/2017-11-06-barbara-thomas-beverly-skripsky-twins-cabo-san-lucas-rogue-wave-tragedy”

    And…what’s the point of this link? I thought maybe these sisters were from Chicago or had some connection to us here.

    What a tragedy. Just went for a walk on the beach.

    This is on the Baja- not the Riviera Maya. The water is very dangerous on the Pacific side (even down to Puerto Vallarta.) You don’t see many in the water there unless they’re surfers. They red flag the beach many times as well- due to the waves etc. And this is still hurricane season, so people need to pay attention to the weather there.

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  272. “uhhh no, playa del carmen is a city on its own”

    Yes- it is a CITY in the region that the Mexico tourism board named “the Riviera Maya” to separate it from Cancun in people’s minds. And because it sounded good.

    You know what they’re calling the area south of Tulum now? Costa Maya.

    Gotta have a tourist name!

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  273. “https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/mexico-travel-warning.htmlhttps://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings/mexico-travel-warning.html”

    Yes- this is well known. Tourism is down 10% in Cancun as a result.

    I’ve been going for 10 years- all over the country. I feel like the cartels have broke the unwritten code in the last year of violence in the tourist zones. They killed three on the beach near San Jose del Cabo in the Baja and there have been 2 drug-related deaths in Playa del Carmen. Neither one targeted tourists, but they were in tourist areas.

    That’s the first time it has ever happened. It means the cartels simply don’t care now.

    It’s actually safer to go to the larger cities where the cartels have NEVER cared about the tourists, such as Mexico City and Guadalajara. There, your biggest problem is a pick pocket or someone snatching your smartphone, like what happens here in Chicago.

    The dollar is still strong against the peso. There are lots of direct flights to the major cities from Chicago or with a stop in Houston. It’s still incredibly cheap to go on vacation there.

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  274. “Mexicans are drugging americans at resorts.”

    These are massive resorts with thousands of employees. Same thing that happens at ALL of the resorts around the world. And on cruise ships. If you think otherwise, you are naïve.

    It’s a shame some of them are covering it up, however, instead of addressing their problem employees. It was brave of these victims to come forward for this story.

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  275. “In many of these places with all inclusive resorts, its just not safe to be off the resort property. You don’t want to go into ‘town’ because it’s dangerous.”

    Not in Mexico, HD. Clearly you’ve never been there.

    Have you EVER left the country, HD? I’m beginning to think the answer is “no.”

    In some countries, the areas are still poor. If you go to an all inclusive in Haiti, then, yeah, you may not want to leave your resort. Dominican Republic has some issues. It depends on the country and its economy.

    The Mexican economy is quite strong now. Today’s Mexico is nothing like the Mexico of 20 or 30 years ago. There’s a much bigger middle class now.

    Just watch Mexico House Hunters on HGTV. Do those towns that those Americans are moving to with their 5 year olds look “dangerous” to you? Lol.

    I’ve gone for years. Playa del Carmen, for instance, has grown from a small fishing village to, now, about 100,000+ people. They actually have their own Home Depot now (Lol!). There are condos being built everywhere. The town is quite well off due to all the tourism jobs, many which pay well.

    And the hospitals in the Cancun/Playa region are also very good. These are big cities now with all the modern amenities. If you’re on a smaller island like Dominica or even St. Lucia, your options are more limited and they will likely fly you out.

    Remember, when Sheryl Sandberg’s husband had his resort accident, they took him to the local Puerto Vallarta hospital. That’s a “big” resort city with several hundred thousand people and a modern hospital. He died there so there was no airlift but Sandberg praised the doctors and ambulance staff.

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  276. “I’m sure the resort industry will point out that the injury rate is very low yada yada yada but if I’m going to undergo exploratory surgery to stop internal bleeding due to some accident at a resort, I want to be on american soil, not in the middle of kingston, Jamaica.”

    Would you say the same if you got hurt in St. Thomas? Or San Juan? Or Guam?

    All American soil.

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  277. “Maybe my understanding of these all inclusive resorts is inaccurate, but I always thought the intention when you go to them is to stay on the property the entire time and not see anything else.”

    Yeah- your image of them is completely wrong Jenny. Of course some people NEVER leave. They simply sit there on the beach.

    But if you’re in a town/area/country with a lot of natural history- then of course you leave. 2 or 3 million people a year visit the Mayan ruins at Tulum. Most of them are staying at all-inclusive resorts.

    The Riviera Maya has several great eco-parks as well. They’re kind of like a Disneyland for nature. There is snorkeling, lazy rivers, bikes, beaches, Mayan cultural shows etc. It’s great. You can get a park only pass or an all inclusive where the kids can eat all they want all day (yeah- that food isn’t that great but you’re at a park so you don’t care.)

    There’s also lots of shopping in the various towns and great restaurants in Playa del Carmen and Tulum especially. The Sian Kaan Biosphere is also just south of Tulum. Lots of nature lovers go there. There are small Mayan ruins and the original Mayan canals that you can float down. It’s truly a nature wonder.

    I also forgot, if you’re a snorkeler, the caves in the Riviera Maya are fantastic. Huge cave systems as well as cenotes, where you can swim and snorkel. You can also swim with the turtles off the Akumal beach, although I heard they are now restricting it because they are over touristed now and it’s bad for the turtles (good!).

    If you’re in a country/island without much else going on- then maybe you don’t leave your resort. But in most places, that’s not the case so plenty of people leave to see local culture.

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  278. Would you say the same if you got hurt in St. Thomas? Or San Juan? Or Guam?

    STT’s hospital (Schneider) isn’t bad and if it’s anything they can’t handle it’s an airlift to Miami or San Juan

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  279. I went to the hospital in San Juan and it was pretty bad. But when I finally got home the local place here was even worse. Healthcare is a crapshoot anywhere, even at supposedly top-rated places.

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  280. I think a big reason Mexico has more of these tourist incidents is that unsafe, bogus liquor is a big business there, to the extent there is a secondary market in name brand liquor bottles to put it in. Can’t say that about most places, certainly not cruise ships.

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  281. I’ve been to Tulum as part of a cruise. It was amazing. I’m not a huge fan of cruises, but they are so cheap that you can take a little mini vacation out of the country for next to nothing. I like moving around a lot and seeing lots of different places and things on vacation, so I find all inclusive resorts a turn off.

    I went to Costa Rica a few years ago and had a travel agent help plan it. We stayed at small hotels, but did some tours and had a small tourist bus take us to the different cities we visited.

    One of my friends visited Mexico City last year and enjoyed it. I was shocked at the beauty. I had always imagined it to be a very dirty city. I would consider visiting for a long weekend.

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  282. “Have you EVER left the country, HD? I’m beginning to think the answer is “no.””

    Internationally I’ve traveled most of western europe through central europe all the way to Moscow and as far south as the Saharan desert. I won’t do third world countries anymore – even if the tourist areas are ‘nice’. I include Mexico in that designation. I get it – a lot of people really like Mexico. it’s close, cheap and has a different culture. I also like dark beers and I’m not a big IPA fan, to the surprise of most craft beers drinkers I know. Everybody’s got their preference, and I personally don’t go south of the border.

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  283. You know what they’re calling the area south of Tulum now? Costa Maya.”

    *cringe*

    I remember when Tulum was TINY, basically the only reason to go there was the nearby Xel-Ha park
    THAT place had some amazing snorkeling

    Now its a fuckin hipster airBNB type spot and they’re building it into an extention of cancun/rivieramaya blech

    Thats why I like Isla Mujeres, still hasn’t become so touristy and lame yet

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  284. ” I thought maybe these sisters were from Chicago or had some connection to us here.”

    One of them was a former N’ville resident:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/ct-nvs-former-naperville-woman-and-sister-drown-st-1025-20171024-story.html

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  285. “Thats why I like Isla Mujeres, still hasn’t become so touristy and lame yet”

    Why do tourists hate tourists?

    anyway, ponies, now that I’ve disparaged you, what’s your current market advice?

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  286. Back to real estate. I posted my monthly update for October yesterday. Sales up 3.3% from last year but IAR will report them as flat. Inventory down AGAIN and market times got shorter still.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/getting-real/2017/11/chicago-real-estate-market-update-home-sales-stuck-in-the-mud/

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  287. “Why do tourists hate tourists?”

    I hate everybody

    ” what’s your current market advice?”

    no

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  288. Gary, any data on median price change?

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  289. I don’t really track that because it’s so meaningless. Sell more SFHs and it will go up. Sell more Lincoln Park SFHs than Englewood SFHs and it goes up also. Doesn’t really tell you anything. For instance median prices.

    For instance, mush everything together and it went down 1.1% from last year but condos were up 5.1% and SFHs were down 2.2%.

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  290. Why do tourists hate tourists?

    Cause the majority act like idiots and treat the locals like peasants?

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  291. Thanks Gary. I look forward to your report every month.

    Most tourists are aholes. That’s for sure. Another reason to go local and rent an apartment or home.

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  292. “Thats why I like Isla Mujeres, still hasn’t become so touristy and lame yet”

    Really? I’ve thought about checking it out but wasn’t sure if the hype was worth it.

    Should I rent a condo or go the hotel route? There aren’t many hotels there.

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  293. “I won’t do third world countries anymore – even if the tourist areas are ‘nice’.”

    Mexico isn’t “third world.” Not even close. Unless you count Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza, and free wifi as “third world.” And those things are in every major city. Sure, the rural areas are very remote and poor, but so is Appalachia in the United States.

    Would you consider Colombia to be third world? What about Thailand? I’d put Mexico in the league with both of them.

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  294. Crains is reporting the sales contracts were up 14% in October 2017 from 2016. Makes sense, there is nothing on the market it seems.

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  295. Nahhh. They should know better than to report that number. 6 months from now the sales contracts for October will be flat or down. Why? Because at least 15% of them will have fallen through. The October 2016 contract number is seasoned. 2017 is not. When I do my contract activity analysis I always factor it for broken contracts.

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  296. “Should I rent a condo or go the hotel route? There aren’t many hotels there.”

    We stay at a BnB there called Casa Sirena, definitely awesome

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  297. “We stay at a BnB there called Casa Sirena, definitely awesome”

    Thanks Sonies. I’ll check it out.

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