Get A Modern Look in the Middle of the Gold Coast: 50 E. Bellevue

This large 1-bedroom at 50 E. Bellevue in the Gold Coast recently came on the market.

Though the building was constructed in 1979, the unit has been renovated and has “all new everything” in the sleek and modern style.

The kitchen has white European style cabinets and hidden appliances.

Anyone know what those floors are?

There is no central air, only wall units.

And the listing says the in-unit washer/dryer is “permitted” (then why didn’t they put it in when they redid everything?)

Parking is also available for rent in the building for $200 a month.

Buyers like “new” right now.

Will this unit command its $299,000 asking price?

Lanae Silvestri at Prudential Rubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1506: 1 bedroom, 1.5 baths, 980 square feet

  • Sold in December 1997 for $160,500
  • Sold in November 2001 for $270,000
  • Currently listed for $299,000
  • Assessments of $680 a month (includes doorman, cable)
  • Taxes of $3504
  • No central air- wall units
  • No in-unit washer/dryer (but it is permitted)
  • Parking is rental in the building for $200 a month
  • Bedroom: 13×15


Full Floor Buena Park Vintage Beauty Now Just $509,000: 707 W. Junior Terrace


We last chattered about this 3-bedroom full floor vintage unit at 707 W. Junior Terrace in the Buena Park neighborhood of Uptown in October 2011.

See our prior chatter here.

It’s a short sale and has been reduced $330,000 from its original 2009 list price.

Back in October, some of you thought this would have to go under $500,000 in order to sell.

It’s currently listed at $509,000.

If you recall, the midrise building was built in 1927 and has 14 units.

Like many vintage buildings of this era, the unit has big room sizes and includes a full sized dining room and family room.

It has arched ceilings in the foyer, crown molding and a fireplace.

The kitchen has stainless steel appliances and stone counter tops.

There is space pac cooling and an in-unit washer dryer.

It looks like the parking is available for rent (not sure if this is just in the neighborhood or in the building.)

With prices on Lakeview vintage units now dropping, what’s this one a little further north likely to finally sell for?

Greg Desmond at Prudential Rubloff still has the listing. See more pictures here.

Unit #5: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, no square footage listed (but somewhere around 3000 based on other units in the building)

  • Sold in March 1996 for $168,000
  • Sold in February 2000 for $308,000
  • Sold in May 2004 for $665,000
  • Sold in July 2006 for $690,000
  • Originally listed in February 2009 for $839,000
  • Withdrawn from the market in January 2010
  • Was listed in July 2011 as a “short sale” at $600,000
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in October 2011 at $550,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $509,000
  • Assessments of $1183 a month (includes heat, gas)
  • Taxes of $4512
  • Space pac cooling
  • In-unit washer/dryer
  • Rental parking
  • Bedroom #1: 17×12
  • Bedroom #2: 16×11
  • Bedroom #3: 11×8
  • Family room: 19×15
  • Living room: 19×15
  • Dining room: 17×12
  • Kitchen: 25×12

Want To Live in “Real” Old Town? A 2-Bedroom Duplex Down at 334 W. Menomonee

We last chattered about this 2-bedroom duplex down at 334 W. Menomonee in Old Town in October 2008 when it came on the market shortly after having been purchased.

See our prior chatter here.

Given what was going on at the time (Lehman Brothers had just collapsed), it was a spirited discussion about people’s real estate decisions.

If you recall, this 16-unit building was converted into condos in 2007-2008.

Initially, only a handful of them sold. The rest were rented by the developer.

Within the last year, I heard that the developer allegedly sold a bunch of them in a bulk sale.

This unit was one of four original sales (so it was NOT included in the recent bulk sale). It is one of the larger units in the building at 1400 square feet.

It has arched windows, millwork and moldings.

The kitchen and baths have luxury finishes. The kitchen has white cabinets, SubZero appliances and marble counter tops.

The listing says the bathrooms have waterworks tile/plumbing.

The unit has central air and an in-unit washer/dryer but there is no parking with the building.

The property is now listed $149,000 under the 2008 purchase price at $450,000.

Is this price in the ballpark for the location in the “real” part of Old Town?

Julie Tag at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #102: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1400 square feet, duplex down

  • Sold in March 2008 for $599,000
  • Was re-listed for sale in October 2008 for $599,000
  • Withdrawn
  • Originally listed in January 2012 for $475,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $450,000
  • Assessments of $195 a month
  • Taxes of $5934
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • No parking
  • Bedroom #1: 16×12 (lower level)
  • Bedroom #2: 13×13 (lower level)

Market Conditions: Chicago Sales Rise 5.7% But Median Price Falls YOY Again in January

It’s that time of the month again when the Illinois Association of Realtors tells us if the housing market is recovering or not.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

In the city of Chicago, January 2012 home sales (single family and condominiums) totaled 1,093, up 5.7 percent from 1,034 homes sold in January 2011. The city of Chicago median home sale price for January 2012 was $149,000, down -0.7 percent compared to January 2011 when it was $150,000.

Here’s the data since 2006 (thanks to G):

  • January 2006: 2009 sales and median price of $258,000
  • January 2007: 1850 sales and median price of $279,900
  • January 2008: 1203 sales and median price of $290,000
  • January 2009: 918 sales and median price of $205,000
  • January 2010: 1237 sales and median price of $195,000
  • January 2011: 1034 sales and median price of $150,000
  • January 2012: 1093 sales and median price of $149,000

The percentage of total January Chicago sales that were REO/Short Sales:

  • 2009: 25%
  • 2010: 42%
  • 2011: 50%
  • 2012: 49%

Chicago condo/townhouse sales:

  • January 2009: 474 sales and median price of $308,625
  • January 2010: 675 sales and median price of $279,000
  • January 2011: 585 sales and median price of $180,000
  • January 2012: 623 sales and median price of $185,000

Remember, the median price can be misleading. It doesn’t really tell you much about what is happening out there with prices except that more is selling on the low end than the high.

The official IAR statement about what is going on in Chicago doesn’t tell us much.

“January gave 2012 a solid start in sales of homes in the city of Chicago,” said REALTOR® Bob Floss, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and Broker-Owner of Bob Floss and Son Realty. “Motivated buyers and sellers moving in what has been a mild Chicago winter has helped move both distressed and traditional properties. We will be closely watching the impact of pricing on the market and how homebuyers and investors react to what could be a new norm.”

While there was some bullishness about the overall state of the market around the state.

“Whether you’re a seller or a buyer, there are positives to this data, said Loretta Alonzo, CRB, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and Broker-Owner of Century 21 Alonzo & Associates in La Grange Park. “After years of standing on the sidelines, buyers are finding this is the right time to get into affordable housing. While sellers may not be getting all of the money they want for a house, they are getting traffic and interest at levels that haven’t been seen in several years.”

Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois, said the Feb. 7 settlement between states and five large banks relating to foreclosure abuses could speed pending cases through the court system.

“Now that the major legal bottlenecks for processing foreclosed properties appear to have been resolved, it is likely that these properties will assume a significant share of sales in 2012,” Hewings said. “This provides mixed news for the housing market; it is positive in the sense that the large backlog can now begin to be removed from the inventory. However, it is likely to continue to dampen any prospect of near-term housing price recovery.”

I hate to say it, but could the mild weather have played a much larger role in these numbers?

Are sales being pulled forward from the normal spring market?

Illinois sees 16.1 percent increase in home sales; strongest January sales report since 2007, data show [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, February 22, 2012]

“This Is The Real Chicago”: A Bank Owned 2-Bedroom at 2211 N. Clybourn in Lincoln Park


We last chattered about this 2-bedroom duplex up at 2211 N. Clybourn in Lincoln Park in November 2010.

See our prior chatter here.

Back then, it was a short sale but it never sold. Thanks to Bob for pointing out that it had recently come back on the market- only as a bank owned unit.

This is one instance where waiting to buy meant you would get a much lower price as it was listed at $265,000 as a short sale in 2010 and is now listed at just $206,000.

It is a Fannie Mae Homepath property. Just 3% down gets you in.

The listing says this is the “real Chicago”.

Could that be a refernce to the famous pizza place that is located just two doors down from the property? (hint, hint: Pequod’s)

There is also a Starbucks almost right across the street as well as the Webster Place movies and Barnes & Noble bookstore just a half a block away.

The listing says the “elegant charm will blow you away.”

At 1400 square feet, the living/dining and second bedroom is on the main floor.

It duplexes up into a huge loft like master bedroom with an exposed wood beamed ceiling, exposed brick and a brand new master bathroom.

The kitchen has white cabinets and stainless steel appliances. From the pictures, it appears to still be intact.

There are 2 woodburning fireplaces, including one in the master bedroom, and a private rooftop deck.

It has central air and washer/dryer in the unit, but it doesn’t appear to have any parking.

Is this a deal at the current price?

Nichola Hansen at REO Plus LLC now has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3F: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1400 square feet

  • Sold in April 2007 for $280,000
  • Originally listed in June 2010 for $315,000
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in November 2010 as a “short sale” for $265,000
  • Withdrawn
  • Bank owned in October 2011
  • Fannie Mae Homepath property
  • Currently listed for $206,000
  • Assessments of $219 a month
  • Taxes of $3041
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Private rooftop deck
  • No parking
  • Bedroom #1: 23×23 (top floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 8×15

Avenue East 3-Bedroom Penthouse Reduces Nearly $450K in 9 Months: 160 E. Illinois in Streeterville

This 3-bedroom penthouse in Avenue East at 160 E. Illinois in Streeterville has been on and off the market since 2010.

But in the last 9 months, it has been reduced $449,100 to $1,349,900.

The listing says it is still developer owned.

It is a south east corner unit with an east facing terrace. The listing says the unit has South, East, River, Michigan Avenue and Trump Tower views.

It has 11 foot ceilings and a custom gourmet kitchen.

The master bathroom has his and her baths.

After the reductions, is this property now a steal for the square footage and upgrades?

Cheryl Bancroft at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

  • No prior sale- developer’s unit
  • Originally listed in September 2010
  • Withdrawn
  • Re-listed in May 2011 for $1.799 million
  • Reduced several times
  • Currently listed at $1,349,900 (parking extra at $50,000 per space)
  • Assessments of $1682 a month (includes heat, a/c, doorman, cable)
  • Taxes of $15836
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 17×13
  • Bedroom #2: 14×12
  • Bedroom #3: 13×11


Catching a Falling Knife in East Lincoln Park: A 2-Bedroom at 2124 N. Hudson

In the last 9 years, this 2-bedroom garden unit at 2124 N. Hudson has sold 3 times and is currently on the market for the fourth time.

It is a short sale and is under contract.

Normally I don’t like to chatter about properties under contract but this one has such an interesting sales history, I thought it was worth exploring.

The “owners” of this unit haven’t had much luck:

  • Sold in 2003 for $387,000
  • Sold in 2005 for $317,000
  • Sold in May 2010 for $255,000
  • Under contract at “approved” short sale price of $189,900

This is a true 2/2 unit with all the bells and whistles buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and the golden ticket of a parking space.

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

One of the redfin agents that toured it in 2010 commented on the small size of the living room which is just 12×10.

Given the history of this property, can anyone say this current price is even much of a deal?

Kathleen DeVivo at Re/Max Vision has the listing. See the pictures here (this is an old listing so it still has the $199k price on it).

Unit #104: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1093 square feet

  • Sold in September 2003 for $387,000
  • Sold in June 2005 for $317,000
  • Sold in May 2010 for $255,000
  • Originally listed in September 2010 for $285,000
  • Reduced numerous times
  • Currently listed as a “short sale” at $189,900
  • The listing says the short sale is preapproved
  • Under contract
  • Assessments of $260 a month
  • Taxes of $4756
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Parking included
  • Bedroom #1: 15×13
  • Bedroom #2: 13×11
  • Living room: 12×10

Market Conditions: Could a Lower Supply of Foreclosures Actually Mean Lower Prices?

Conventional wisdom would have it that as the number of foreclosures and short sales declines, then that should put a floor under prices as its these properties that have been bringing down overall housing prices.

However, as Diana Olick, the real estate reporter at CNBC, recently found out when she talked to some experts on this subject, the declining number of foreclosures may actually work to bring housing prices even LOWER.

“We believe the distressed part of the housing market has already bottomed,” said Morgan Stanley analyst Oliver Chang on CNBC’s Squawkbox. “The bid that we see from the investor is the reason for this bottom.”

He sees further declines in organic home prices.


Banks have been very slow to release their repossessed (REO) inventory onto the market, not to mention that foreclosure processing delays have literally millions of properties still sitting in foreclosure limbo.

There is a dwindling supply of foreclosures and rising investor demand. Analysts keep pointing to overall falling inventories, but the current existing home sales pace doesn’t account for that drop.

The fact is that with so much of the supply distressed, and so few organic sellers putting their homes up for sale, the inventory drop is artificially skewed to the recent lack of movement in foreclosures and a crisis of confidence among potential organic home sellers.

In January, 49% of the 1,094 sales in Chicago were REOs/short sales.

Sure, Clio argues that those sales aren’t “real”- as they are all cash investors buying the $30,000 condo in Albany Park or other  neighborhoods outside the GreenZone.

But take out those 500+ sales, and what are you left with?

A housing market still in crisis.

Here are the percentages of sales in January that were REO/short sale in some of the GreenZone neighborhoods (thanks G!):

  • South Loop: 55%
  • Loop: 31%
  • Near North: 34%
  • Lincoln Park: 14%
  • Lakeview: 28%

What happens if the investors can’t buy because the number of foreclosures begins to fall?

“Investors and first-time buyers ARE the real estate market,” he adds. “Investors and first timers want REO and short sales. Anything done to prevent the flow of distressed property will hurt the volume of existing home sales and all of the economic benefit that comes along with them. An REO-to-rent program will bring about record lows in monthly existing home sales volume. And volume precedes price.”

Hanson believes that when the distressed supply is choked off, by selling REO in bulk to rent, not re-sell, then the only thing you have left is meager organic sales.

“The housing market will implode,” he adds.

Yes, lower supply, in a normal market, would generally mean a return to home price appreciation, but that’s not the way today’s market is working because organic demand is still so weak and is hampered by tight credit.

There is even less demand for mid- to higher-priced homes.

“$200K to $300K is the new normal for home builders,” says Rick Palacios of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “Since new home prices peaked in 2007, new single-family sales of over $500K have been more than cut in half, dropping from 13% to just 6% of all new home transactions.”

Is looking at the foreclosure rate a red herring for those looking for the “bottom”?

Fewer foreclosures could mean lower home prices [CNBC, Diana Olick, February 17, 2012]

Lincoln Park 2-Flat Comes on the Market for Just $250,000: 1828 N. Bissell

This 2-flat at 1828 N. Bissell in Lincoln Park just came on the market priced at only $250,000.

It’s so new I don’t even have a picture yet but Clio wanted to know:

  1. How many offers will it get?
  2. What will it sell for?

The listing calls it an “investor’s dream.”

Built in 1890 on a smaller than standard 24×75 lot, the 2-unit building is made up of the following:

  • Unit #1: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, no rental amount listed
  • Unit #2: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, rented for $700 a month through 8/13

What’s the catch?

The El runs directly behind the building.

But before you totally rule it out as a possible teardown because of the El, consider 1738 N. Bissell down the street.

See pictures of 1738 N. Bissell here.

It is a 4-bedroom new construction single family home listed at $679,000.

It’s also directly on the El and built on a 25×50 lot. The garage is stuck behind the property, where, according to the notes from the Redfin agent, you have to apparently drive under the El tracks to access it.

It’s new construction sister property next door (a bunch of these new homes were recently built on that black) is listed at $699,000 and is already under contract.

Given the nearby new construction, is this a deal for a developer?

Per Clio’s question- what WILL it sell for?

Sadie Buckner at Realty Services Consortium has the listing. See the listing here (no interior pics).

1828 N. Bissell: 2-flat, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold before 1985
  • Currently listed for $250,000
  • Taxes of $1415
  • Unit #2 is rented for $700 a month




Get a 2-Bedroom Duplex Up in This Former House of Worship: 1021 W. Barry in Lakeview

This 2-bedroom duplex up in the converted church at 1021 W. Barry in Lakeview has been on the market for 11 months.

In that time, it has been reduced $139,100.

Unlike some of the converted church units we’ve chattered about over the years, this church unit actually has some of its original church features intact including large, arched windows.

There are 22-foot ceilings in the main living space and exposed brick.

The listing calls the kitchen a “chef’s kitchen”. It has stainless steel appliances and quartz counter tops.

While there is central air and 2 car garage parking, the unit also has a euro-style washer/dryer combo in the kitchen (which you can partially see in one of the pictures of the kitchen.)

The bedrooms are also split with one on the main level and one on the second level. One of the notes left by the Redfin agent on the property says that there are no windows in the main floor bedroom.

The unit is now listed $70,100 under the 2008 purchase price at $349,900.

Is this a deal for 1500 square feet in this neighborhood?

Guy LeMenec at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

Or you can see it in person at the Open House on Sunday, February 19: 1:00 to 2:30 PM.

Unit #1W: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, office, 1500 square feet

  • Sold in March 2005 for $370,000
  • Sold in November 2008 for $420,000
  • Originally listed in March 2011 for $489,000
  • Reduced numerous times
  • Currently listed for $349,900
  • Assessments of $340 a month
  • Taxes of $6410
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • 2 car parking included
  • Bedroom #1: 12×10 (main level)
  • Bedroom #2: 11×11 (second floor)
  • Office: 11×7 (second floor)