Empty McMansions Everywhere: 23% Reduction at 1933 W. Barry

Walk around Lakeview on a lovely weekend afternoon and one thing you can’t help but notice is the sheer number of homes for sale- with many being new construction “McMansions.”

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Take 1933 W. Barry in West Lakeview. It is brand new construction of over 4200 square feet of luxury. Here’s the listing:

EXQUISITE DESIGN AND DETAILS FEATURED IN THIS 4200SQ FT CUSTOM HOME. BRAZILIAN CHERRY HRDWD FLRS. HIGH CEILINGS, 3 FIREPLACES. KITCHEN W/CUSTOM AMISH HANDMADE CHERRY CABINETS SUBZERO, MIELE & WOLF APPL.GROHE AND KOEHLER FIXTURES!

MASTER BATH W/MARBLE SURROUND SHOWER W/STEAMER.SPACIOUS LOWER LEVEL HAS RADIANT HEAT,WETBAR,STONE FP & ADDITIONL BEDROOM! ENJOY GRILLING ON GARAGE ROOFTOP DECK!THIS HOME …

It has been on the market not just months. Not just a year.  But YEARS.

And empty it sits. Even after a 23% price reduction.

But, again, not to pick on this property, as I can find dozens more just like it all over the North Side. How long will they continue to sit empty? And at what price will some of these finally sell?

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1933 W. Barry: 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 4200 square feet, 2 car garage

  • Originally listed in July 2006 for $1.485 million
  • Reduced to $1.395 million in August 2006
  • Stays on the market all of 2007 with several reductions
  • Finally reduced to $1.205 million in November 2007
  • Currently listed at $1.205 million
  • Don’t know the taxes since it’s new construction
  • Re/Max 1st Class Realty has the listing

32 Responses to “Empty McMansions Everywhere: 23% Reduction at 1933 W. Barry”

  1. i'm just sayin' on May 30th, 2008 at 6:17 am

    FWIF, to spread more to doom/gloom but while the condo bubble gets a lot of attention, there was also a big teardown/McMansion bubble especially as the barriers to entry in the teardown market is nonexistent compared to 50+ unit condo buildings.

    A lot of growth in SFH prices was due to teardown prices on the dumpy, deservedly demolished houses inflating the comps for all the other houses.

    Great for me as I want to buy a SFH/townhouse. Bad for the current owners, the city, Cook County, and the economy. Watch as the property tax/sales tax enema gets further jammed up your arse by Stroger and Daley (which you will feel even if you’re a renter).

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  2. I think part of the problem is that most people who can afford these homes will not want to send their kids to Chicago Public Schools. So you buy the house but then you have to move before Junior goes to school which really doesn’t give you that much time to enjoy a place like this. Your other option is to pay for a suitable private school. When it comes down to it, I think a lot of people make the decision to ultimately skip the middle step and go straight from married couple living in a condo to the suburban McMansion. Bang for your buck is better out there by far if you consider the cost of a good education (or at least the preception of one.) You also have a smaller pool of investment money bottom feeding for these things.

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  3. Somehow, I don’t associate the term “mansion” with a tiny living room, an entry that dumps you right into it, and a kitchen in the main living space. Thus, the deragatory term “McMansion”.

    There’s nothing special about this house. It looks nice,a perfectly attractive classic townhouse; and does a lot more for the street than the decrepit old frame dumps that formerly occupied this block. But that doesn’t make it worth $1.4MM or anything close.

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  4. “I think part of the problem is that most people who can afford these homes will not want to send their kids to Chicago Public Schools.”

    That’s sort of true. There are a number of good (genuinely good, not “good for CPS”) elementary schools that are not selective enrollment (i.e., magnet schools). When looking at any of these SFRs, you need to know about the neighborhood school, too. The neighborhood school for this house is Jahn, which isn’t “bad” but isn’t one of the good schools either. Go north of Belmont and you’re in Audobon or (especially) north of Addison and in Bell and it’s a different story–LOTS of families sending or intending to send their kids to public school. This just proves that there are a lot of short-sighted developers.

    And a TON of people who can afford a house like this want to send their kids to private school anyway. One problem in the city is that the private schools have genuinely competitive admissions.

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  5. Also, they paid at least $490k for the lot (deed to builder was a QC with no $$, but prior deed–recorded later–was for $490k). There’s a mortgage for $784k and another for $1,046,000 (which probably supercedes the $784–same parties) with a lis pendens filed on the $1,046k mortgage in 9/07.

    If the $1,046 actually covered the full cost of the land and construction, they stayed too greedy for too long. Sometimes you just need to cut your losses. They would have been able to sell this at $1.2 or so if they’s listed it at $1.3 in ’06.

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  6. Now, that is just sick- that people who had the wherewithal to even acquire the lot to build something like this should end up in foreclosure.

    I mean,I can see why a family struggling along on $40K a year and sick of dealing with crap rentals and forever having to move, just might get a little crazy from it all and grasp at any straw to buy something for $200K that perhaps they should have known they couldn’t afford.

    I don’t condone their lack of responsibility, but I can at least understand it.

    I absolutely DON’T understand how a family that was clearly affluent enough to afford a really great place for, oh, $800K, just HAD to let their egos and desire to impress get so far over on them that they just HAAAAAD to put themselves behind it to acquire a really rather ordinary townhouse.

    There was completely no need for these people to subject themselves to this kind of financial stress, when they had so many choices of really great housing priced well within their budget. But they went out and destroyed themselves anyway, for a lifestyle only incrementally better, if at all, then the perfectly beautiful place they could have had for way less money. And I just don’t understand why.

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  7. No, Laura, not an individual owner–this is still owned by the builder/developer. It hasn’t been sold since completion and appears to have been built on spec (altho it is possible that someone had a contract and backed out).

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  8. That’s even worse when you consider it. Did this developer look at the demographics of the area and the market as a whole and consider that maybe it was a little overbuilt?

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  9. That’s even worse when you consider it. Did this developer look at the demographics of the area and the market as a whole and consider that maybe it was a little overbuilt?

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  10. I agree with Laura in that the finishes are not that spectacular for a home like this.

    It’s probably very hard to sell something like this to a buyer who cannot choose their own finishes.

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  11. The finishes are not spectacular and interior architecture is horrid. Were it not for the French windows, you’d think you were in any Urban Generic condo or townhouse. I hate the way the front door dumps you right into the narrow living room, and the staircase is graceless. Most of all, I despise a kitchen that is right in the living area and is so small in a “luxury” house- like I want to look at a stack of dirty pots and pans at dinner.

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  12. As a Chicago Public Schools graduate, I feel comfortable saying that I’m better educated than 95+% of my suburbanite peers. Just sayin’. A child’s education is a result of involved parenting, discipline and effort. If you swapped the entire enrollment of Naperville district schools and Chicago Public Schools, the CPS would be conspired primo and Naperville a cesspool of waste.

    I bring this up because it’s a long-running pet peeve of mine: the accepted wisdom of the superiority of suburban schools in impacting a child’s level of achievement, when such achievement is so obviously the self-fulfilling result of parenting. It’s not like middle-school or high-school level material is hard stuff.

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  13. Yikes, preview is my friend. Replace “conspired” with “considered.”

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  14. “the accepted wisdom of the superiority of suburban schools in impacting a child’s level of achievement, when such achievement is so obviously the self-fulfilling result of parenting.”

    Well, the environment of the school does have an effect, too. If you’re the only kid with parents who care, it is a lot harder, both b/c of peer pressure and the classroom environment. Thus, the focus on particular schools, rather than the district as a whole. There are a lot of genuinely bad schools in CPS.

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  15. Not to start a war, but I think the problem is often bad kids, not bad schools.

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  16. “the problem is often bad kids, not bad schools”

    If there aren’t any kids, there isn’t any school. Saying “bad school” is a euphemism because it’s mean to pick on kids.

    Also, good teachers have choices and they mostly stay away from the bad schools, thereby reinforcing the intial problems.

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  17. Yes you are right, they are America’s knife-cather’s of the future!! We should be nice to them! hahaha. 😉

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  18. Catchers…. sorry

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  19. ugh, Jason and anon–that is way off topic, and a very ugly direction for this blog to go. I don’t come to this blog to hear people blame 10-year-olds for their own misfortune.

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  20. Not blaming ten year olds! (Anyway, j/k, getting off the mark…)

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  21. “hear people blame 10-year-olds for their own misfortune”

    ?? I’m talking about the effect that neighborhood school attendance boundaries have on the saleability of property designed for family living. And that bad schools are self-perpetuating, as parents who care make every effort to send their kids to a “good” school (which is possible in CPS now), leaving the bad schools with the kids whose parents don’t (or can’t afford to) care–kids who have a lot more to overcome.

    It’s a bad situation, but it’s a real consideration when discussing 5 br homes.

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  22. I agree with Kenworthey — this isn’t a place to debate sociology theories. I think it’s safe to say that this place isn’t going to go for anywhere near 1.4, good school in the area or not.

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  23. We made an offer to this house 6 months ago, and it is certainly not a Mcmassion, but a livable space. You are right that the owners are greedy , they dont know what they want because there were three other offers for this house out there along with ours- the owners are certainly not stressed about the money and that is not the reason for the foreclosure otherwise they would have sold the house to us or the three others that gave decent offers months and months ago. The owners have to realize that a comparable house sold for under 1 million just a few months ago and it has somewhat better finishes with coffered ceilings and crown moldings, etc, etc. and the location of this house is not in the best area of town but an acceptable one. The comp house was located in a better looking street as well . You are all correct in saying there is really nothing special about the house but it is rather standard for the city- Nevertheless, it is a decent size home that one can find livable in the city. City houses tend to be dark and this one actually gets some light- I personally find it horrid to spend 2 hours a day in traffic back and forth between the city and the suburbs- driving cuts out the precious time I spend with my kids for the sake of bigger living rooms, larger kitchens,yards that rarely get used that are a pain to look after-

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  24. Who would pay that much money for a house that is nearly at Damen? This isn’t in Lakeview; it is in Roscoe Village (which could be good for taxes, I suppose).

    Wouldn’t it be better for the developer to just SELL it? I mean, can’t they sell it for one million and call it a wash? It seems silly to have a house like that sit on the market for 2 years.

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  25. Got to love the asphalt shingle sided house next door! Million + i’m sure…..

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  26. Your other option is to pay for a suitable private school.

    Just because you can pay for the Latin School, does not mean your kid can get in…..

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  27. There was completely no need for these people to subject themselves to this kind of financial stress, when they had so many choices of really great housing priced well within their budget.

    Hopefully everyone can get bailed out and be happy again!

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  28. I didn’t research into this property but I bet you that the developer took out a huge loan and is sitting on the money and using that to pay the mortgage. If he decides to flee the country like some developers did, at least he has cool million or more to live off of. I just can’t believe how stupid the banks were to loan to these shady developers who can’t even read a contract. Guess who is the bigger fool.

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  29. “it is in Roscoe Village”

    If it were in Roscoe Village, it would have sold, probably close to the original list price. This is the wrong side of Belmont and the wrong side of Damen and the wrong side of the railroad. There’s nothing “wrong” with the neighborhood, but there’s not much to recommend it either.

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  30. I always get a kick out of how some suburbanite wants to talk about “kids and schools” when these higher caliber city homes are discussed (I think this house is an architectural abortion, but still).

    The people buying homes of this caliber in the city could care less about the public schools!!! It’s not as if potential buyers are looking at homes like this and thinking “well it’s either this or a Toll Brothers house 30 miles from downtown.”

    Note to suburbanites and “people with kids:” the world doesn’t revolved around “people with kids” and “good schools.”

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  31. “architectural abortion” LOL!

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