Market Conditions: Chicago October Home Sales At 5 Year Low


We’ve already been chattering about how slow the fall has been in Chicago real estate.

The official October sales numbers are now out from the Illinois Association of Realtors and sales fell to a 5 year low:

The city of Chicago saw an 8.8 percent year-over-year home sales decrease in October 2016 with 1,981 sales, down from 2,173 in October 2015. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in October 2016 was $262,000, up 9.2 percent compared to October 2015 when it was $240,000.

Thanks to G for all the data on October sales going back to 1997:

October Chicago sfh/condo/th sales and median

  • 1997 1,731 $129,900
  • 1998 1,855 $138,000
  • 1999 1,978 $159,500
  • 2000 2,106 $174,710
  • 2001 2,177 $200,000
  • 2002 2,503 $215,000
  • 2003 2,996 $236,000
  • 2004 2,651 $241,000
  • 2005 2,846 $268,500
  • 2006 2,630 $278,000
  • 2007 2,007 $285,000
  • 2008 1,564 $261,000
  • 2009 2,068 $215,000
  • 2010 1,225 $183,000
  • 2011 1,324 $162,000 (44% short/REO sales)
  • 2012 2,009 $175,000
  • 2013: 2,231 $218,500
  • 2014: 2,128 $236,000
  • 2015: 2,173 $240,000
  • 2016: 1,981 $262,000

“Although the autumn market’s pace is reduced compared to the summer months, great opportunities to buy and sell property remain,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “As long as the low inventory continues, strategically priced properties will continue to fly off the market at higher prices.”

“No doubt that the election contributed to a decline in sales, but prices continue to grow,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “For the next three months, price growth is anticipated to be a little stronger.  Declining supply contributes some uncertainty to sales growth.”

Mortgage rates in October averaged 3.47% for the 30-year fixed, down from 3.78% in October 2015. So mortgage rates were not an issue in the slowdown in sales.

Statewide, sales also declined. The IAR blamed it on tight inventory which dropped 14.7% year over year. Average time on the market statewide dropped to 60 days from 69 days.

Nationwide, October existing home sales were the opposite of what happened in Illinois. They were the highest in 9 years.

What is keeping sales down in Chicago?

Was it really uncertainty over the election?

Illinois home prices show solid gains in October; Sales decline [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, November 22, 2016]

Selling a 3-Bedroom in Walton on the Park: 2 W. Delaware in the Gold Coast


This 3-bedroom in Walton on the Park at 2 W. Delaware in the Gold Coast just came on the market.

It last sold in 2010.

We haven’t chattered about this building in 6 years. The last time we did was in November 2010 when the developer cut prices.

See that chatter here.

Last spring, however, the building was back in the news because a developer had bought up units that were being rented with the intention of re-selling them as condos.

From Crain’s:

In another sign of the resurgent downtown condo market, a venture led by Letchinger plans to convert Walton on the Park, now primarily a rental building, back into condos. Begun in the waning days of the condo boom, the 201-unit tower at 2 W. Delaware St. was one of several downtown developments that ran into loan trouble after the bust and were reborn as rental properties as the apartment market took off.

Now, with downtown condo prices back above their peak 2008 levels, Letchinger aims to profit by returning Walton on the Park to its original state. Condos in the building will start in the mid-$700,000 range and go up to about $3.7 million, he said.

“It’s really responding to the demand that’s out there for new condos and the lack of supply,” said Letchinger, president and founder of JDL Development.

But to further complicate the picture, the second tower, No. 9 Walton, which was always planned with this development, is currently being constructed just to the north of this building.

Letchinger was aware of that because he owns it.  No. 9 Walton, a luxury boutique building across the street from the Ogden School, is nearly sold out.

You can see No 9 Walton under construction below. That is Walton on the Park behind it.


This unit has both north and south facing views and you can see No. 9 Walton in some of the listing pictures.

It has a Viking kitchen with custom Italian cabinetry.

Two of the bedrooms are ensuite.

The unit has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and one heated garage parking space included with another available for $50,000.

The listing says “developer controls the management” meaning that there is no condo board.

The original sale included both parking spaces so if you include the second space at $50,000 this unit has come on the market for $70,500 less than the 2010 purchase price.

Is this a deal for a 3-bedroom in this location?

Mariah Dell at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #801: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 1920 square feet

  • Sold in August 2010 for $1,319,500 (included 2 parking spots)
  • Currently listed for $1.199 million (includes one parking spot but second one available for $50,000)
  • Assessments of $1243 a month (includes heat, a/c, doorman, cable, clubhouse, exercise room, pool, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $18964
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 15×12
  • Bedroom #2: 16×11
  • Bedroom #3: 11×10


Should You De-List and Wait Until Spring? A 4-Bedroom in Budlong Woods: 2933 W. Gregory


This 4-bedroom single family home in the Budlong Woods neighborhood of Lincoln Square came on the market in August 2016.

(Yes- I know the picture is bad. I think this is my worst picture taking foray in years! And that says something because you all know how my photography skills are. Ha! Oh well- work with me…)

Built in 1965, it is on a larger than normal Chicago lot measuring 45×125.

The listing says it has been “newly rehabbed.”

It has a “custom kitchen” with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and wood cabinets.

The bedroom layout is the preferred choice for most buyers, with all 4 bedrooms on the second floor, which also has the washer/dryer.

It has a full basement, but it’s unclear if it has been finished or not.

The house has 3 full baths and 2 half baths.

It has central air, an attached 1-car garage, and 3 fireplaces.

This house recently sold in June 2016 for just $550,000. It is currently listed at $739,900.

If you don’t want to buy it, you can rent it for $2950 a month.

If you’ve got a property to sell, what are the pros and cons to being listed through the slow holiday season?

Should you de-list and wait until spring?

Peter Kassis at Kassis Realty Group has the listing. See the pictures here.

2933 W. Gregory: 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths, 2 half baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in May 2004 for $520,000
  • Sold in November 2010 for $455,000
  • Sold in June 2016 for $550,000
  • Originally listed in August 2016 for $739,999
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $739,900
  • Or- you can rent it for $2950 a month
  • Taxes of $9871
  • Central Air
  • 3 fireplaces
  • 1 car attached garage
  • Bedroom #1: 18×15 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 16×11 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 15×11 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 12×11 (second floor)
  • Full basement

You Can Still Get a 2/2 in River North With Parking for Under $400,000: 758 N. Larrabee


This 2-bedroom loft at 758 N. Larrabee in River North came on the market in October 2016.

It appears to be bank owned.

This loft has tall concrete ceilings and concrete beams along with industrial windows.

Just one of the two bedrooms has windows.

The kitchen has wood cabinets, what looks like granite counter tops and black appliances.

There are hardwood floors and a fireplace in the living room.

It has central air. The listing doesn’t say if it has washer/dryer in the unit but this building was converted with in-unit washer/dryer in 2002.

It appears that there is garage parking included.

This loft has come on the market at $399,000 for 1400 square feet and the parking.

Is this a deal for the location?

Alexander Carr at AM Realty Management has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #514: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1400 square feet

  • Sold in August 2002 for $290,000
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in September 2013
  • Looks like it is bank owned as of September 2016???
  • Currently listed at $399,000 (looks like garage parking is included)
  • Assessments of $575 a month (includes doorman, cable, exercise, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal, internet)
  • Taxes of $4572
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer hook-ups in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 15×14
  • Bedroom #2: 14×13

Tired of Renting? Buy a 1-Bedroom Southport Loft Instead: 1122 W. Newport


This top floor 1-bedroom loft at 1122 W. Newport in the Southport neighborhood of Lakeview just came on the market.

This is a 23 unit industrial building just a few blocks west of Wrigley Field.

It is an authentic loft with exposed brick walls, 14 foot timber ceilings and big industrial windows.

This is a corner unit, so there are two walls of windows and the bedroom also has windows, which isn’t common in many 1-bedroom lofts.

There are hardwood floors in the living room and carpet in the bedroom.

The kitchen has white cabinets and counter tops along with stainless steel appliances.

This loft has the features buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and outdoor parking is included.

With mortgage rates still low, is this a good starter condo for someone tired of renting?

Ben Bodelson at Dream Town Realty has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3A: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, no square footage listed

  • Sold in September 1992 for $128,000
  • Sold in December 1995 for $137,000
  • Sold in May 2000 for $217,500
  • Sold in September 2013 for $230,000
  • Currently listed for $269,000 (outdoor parking included)
  • Assessments of $188 a month (includes scavenger and lawn care)
  • Taxes of $3258
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • The listing says “No pets allowed”
  • Bedroom: 13×13
  • Living room: 17×19
  • Kitchen: 13×7



Fully Renovated Duplex Up Asking 43% More Than 2015: 600 N. Kingsbury in River North


This 3-bedroom duplex up at 600 N. Kingsbury in River North just came on the market.

It was on the market last year and sold in September.

But it has now been “fully renovated” with a new kitchen with Italian cabinetry, Italian quartz counter tops, Subzero and Wolf appliances and a wine refrigerator.

There are walnut hardwood floors and Porcelanosa tile throughout.

The bathrooms have also been renovated. The master bathroom has a walk-in rain shower and floating dual vanities.

There are 20 foot floor-to-ceiling windows with river views.

Two of the bedrooms are on the second floor with the third bedroom on the main level.

It has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and parking is available for $35,000.

Last October, this unit was on the market as a rental listed for $4800 a month (not sure it was “renovated” then.)

It was reduced to $4475 by January 2016 before it was withdrawn from the market.

The unit has come on the market for sale for 43% more than the September 2015 sales price of $585,000 (which included the parking.)

Buyers love “new.”

Will this seller get the premium?

Nick Hira at @properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #309: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2000 square feet, duplex up

  • Sold in August 2002 for $623,000 (parking included)
  • Sold in March 2006 for $580,000 (parking included)
  • Sold in September 2015 for $585,000 (parking included)
  • Currently listed for $995,000 (parking is $35,000 extra)
  • Assessments of $1029 a month (includes heat, a/c, gas, doorman, cable, exercise facilities, pool, exterior maintenance, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $10116
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 26×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 13×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 12×11 (main floor)


Market Conditions: Is the Luxury Apartment Market About to Bust?


The building above is The Aurelien at 833 N. Clark in the Gold Coast. (Who thinks up these building names???)

It is expected to begin leasing in 2017.

We’ve chattered about the luxury apartment market off and on over the last several years on Crib Chatter.

Thousands of new apartments have been built since the housing bust and developers aren’t stopping.

In 2016, a record 3830 apartments are expected to begin leasing in downtown Chicago. Remember, “downtown” doesn’t even include those that are built in Lakeview, Wicker Park etc.

From Crain’s:

Landlords are starting to feel the impact of an historic building boom that is adding thousands of apartments to the downtown market. While rents are holding steady so far, the occupancy rate for high-end buildings fell in the third quarter to its lowest level in nearly seven years, according to a report from Appraisal Research Counselors, a Chicago-based consulting firm.

The occupancy rate at Class A buildings fell to 92.2 percent in the quarter, down from 94.8 percent in the second quarter and 93.7 percent in third-quarter 2015, according to the report. The Class A occupancy rate, which does not include buildings in their lease-up phase, hasn’t been that low since late 2009.

Rental incentives are common place now with 1 to 2 months free being the most common deal.

New high-rises are creating a challenge for existing buildings nearby because the developers that built them are more willing to offer free rent just to fill them up. In some cases, developers are giving new tenants two months of free rent if they sign an 18-month lease.

That’s hard to match, said developer Tony Rossi, chairman of RMK Management. A 332-unit tower near Millennium Park that Rossi completed in 2014 is facing tough competition from Marquee at Block 37, a 690-unit tower that recently opened about two blocks away, and Mila, a new 402-unit building that’s offering two months of free rent.

“When someone across the street is offering two months free, at these rent levels that’s four or five thousand dollars,” Rossi said. “If they’re doing two months’ free rent, you might be able to get away with one. You’re going to have to give something.”

Rossi’s building at 73 E. Lake was 85.8 percent occupied at the end of the third quarter, down from 92.8 percent in the second and 90.1 percent a year earlier, according to the Appraisal Research report. The building’s net rent fell to $3.20 per square foot, down 4.8 percent from a year earlier.

2017 is expected to be another record year with 4500 units completed. All of those are already under construction so they will be coming to market.

But another 4200 units are “planned” for 2018. This includes buildings like the second tower at Wolf Point that is expected to have around 700 units.

Foundation equipment has also arrived south of Grant Park for the 76-story Rafael Vinoly building which will have 792 units. Construction has also started at the Riverline project in the South Loop which will be thousands of units unto itself when completed.

With occupancy rates falling, is the luxury apartment boom finally coming to an end?

Also- is a golden period for renters coming in 2017 and 2018?

For downtown apartment landlords, tough times ahead [Crain’s Chicago Business, Alby Gallun, November 14, 2016]

5000 Sq Ft on the “Best Block” in the Gold Coast: 1246 N. State Parkway


This 6-bedroom vintage row house at 1246 N. State Parkway in the Gold Coast came on the market in April 2016.

Built in 1875, it still has some of its vintage features intact including original moldings and built-ins along with 12 foot ceilings.

It also has 4 fireplaces.

But this row house also has modern features including central air and a coach house with a 2-car garage.

It has 5100 square feet with east and west exposures along with a mudroom and a butler’s pantry.

Two bedrooms, including the master, are on the third floor, with 4 bedrooms on the top level.

The eat-in kitchen has granite counter tops and luxury stainless steel appliances along with an island.

The listing says this is the “best block in the neighborhood.” It’s just a block away from the restaurants and stores in the Rush Street corridor yet surrounded by historic properties.

Originally listed for $3.25 million, it has been reduced $255,000 to $2.995 million.

Why isn’t this property selling?

Lissa Weinstein at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

1246 N. State Parkway: 6 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, 5100 square feet, 2 car garage

  • Sold in September 1996 for $1 million (according to Zillow. The CCRD was “down” yesterday.)
  • Originally listed in April 2016 for $3.25 million
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $2.995 million
  • Taxes of $28,641
  • Central Air
  • Coach house
  • Back patio
  • 4 fireplaces
  • Bedroom #1: 15×17 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 13×15 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 13×17 (fourth floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 12×9 (fourth floor)
  • Bedroom #5: 8×13 (fourth floor)
  • Bedroom #6: 7×13 (fourth floor)
  • Library: 13×20 (second floor)
  • Laundry room: 13×18 (basement)

The Most Unusual Place for a Shower Ever? 15 E. Division in the Gold Coast


This 3-bedroom duplex down in The Kirkwood at 15 E. Division in the Gold Coast came on the market in August 2016.

This is a 6-unit building with outdoor parking behind it.

It has tall ceilings and hardwood floors on the main floor along with 2 of the 3 bedrooms.

The kitchen has white cabinets along with some open shelving, granite and butcher block counter tops, and stainless steel appliances.

This unit has 2 fireplaces and exposed brick in the basement.

The third bedroom is also in the basement, along with a family room and a full bath which appears to be open to the bedroom.

The shower in the bathroom looks like it has 3 glass walls and a 4th wall that is open to the rest of the bathroom but also seems to be in the middle of the bedroom.

Is this the most unusual place you’ve ever seen a shower?

This unit has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and an outdoor parking space behind the building.

It was under contract in September but came back on the market and is still available at $699,000.

The listing says this unit is 2400 square feet.

Is this a good townhouse alternative?

Pamela Rueve at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1W: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2400 square feet, duplex down

  • Sold in April 1998 for $272,500
  • Sold in September 2002 for $589,000
  • Sold in June 2012 for $535,000
  • Sold in July 2014 for $650,000
  • Originally listed in August 2016 for $699,000
  • Under contract in September
  • Re-listed
  • Currently listed at $699,000
  • Assessments of $589 a month (includes exterior maintenance and scavenger)
  • Taxes of $11,910
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Outdoor parking
  • Bedroom #1: 19×21 (main level)
  • Bedroom #2: 13×11 (main level)
  • Bedroom #3: 13×11 (lower level)
  • Family room: 29×22 (lower level)


Get a 3-Bedroom With Vintage Charm in Blaine for under $420,000: 4055 N. Greenview


This 3-bedroom at 4055 N. Greenview in Graceland West in Lakeview came on the market in August 2016.

This is a vintage 6-flat building across from Lake View High School. This unit is on the second floor.

It has some of its vintage features including a bay window, hardwood floors, moldings and transom windows.

The listing says it is “designer owned.”

There is a master suite with its own bathroom.

The kitchen has wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances. There is a bonus television area off the kitchen.

This unit has garage parking, washer/dryer in the unit and “partial” air conditioning.

The listing says this property is in the Blaine school district, one of the top public schools in the city.

Originally listed in August 2016 for $460,000, it has been reduced $41,000 to $419,000.

Is this a good starter condo in this neighborhood?

Marlene Granacki at Re/Max Exclusive Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #2S: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1330 square feet

  • Sold in March 1996 for $160,500
  • Sold in September 1999 for $264,500
  • Sold in August 2004 for $358,000
  • Originally listed in August 2016 for $460,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $419,000 (includes garage parking)
  • Assessments of $365 a month (includes heat, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $5286
  • Partial air???
  • Bedroom #1: 16×13
  • Bedroom #2: 10×10
  • Bedroom #3: 10×9
  • Walk-in closet: 10×6