Market Conditions: February Sales Actually Rose 3.9% Year Over Year

Chicago skyline November 2010 final

Nearly every month in 2014 showed declining sales compared to 2013 even though mortgage rates moved lower.

Finally, February 2015 bucked that trend as sales rose year over year.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

The city of Chicago saw sales of 1,448 homes in February 2015, up 3.9 percent from last year. The median price of a home in Chicago was $212,000, up 21.1 percent over February 2014.

Here is the sales data for February going back to 1997 (courtesy of G). It is slightly different from the IAR’s data:

  • 1997: 881 sales
  • 1998: 991
  • 2000: 1383
  • 2001: 1151
  • 2002: 1677
  • 2003: 1566
  • 2004: 1814
  • 2005: 2228
  • 2006: 1855
  • 2007: 1703
  • 2008: 1454
  • 2009: 870
  • 2010: 1257
  • 2011: 1092
  • 2012: 1250
  • 2013: 1411
  • 2014: 1361
  • 2015: 1448

Here is the Median Price Data also going back to 1997 (thanks G!):

  • 1997: $117,000
  • 1998: $132,000
  • 1999: $143,750
  • 2000: $161,500
  • 2001: $180,200
  • 2002: $212,000
  • 2003: $215,000
  • 2004: $229,900
  • 2005: $268,900
  • 2006: $267,500
  • 2007: $270,000
  • 2008: $290,000
  • 2009: $218,125 (with 31% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2010: $176,000 (with 46% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2011: $150,250 (with 50% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2012: $140,300 (with 52% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2013: $158,000
  • 2014 $175,000
  • 2015: $221,000

Lower sales in February 2014 were blamed on the weather which was a one, two punch of both cold and snow.

Remember, February closings usually went under contract earlier- in December and January.

This year, winter weather wasn’t really a factor until the record cold and snow in February (which should show up in the March and April closings, if it impacted sales at all.)

The Illinois Association of Realtors doesn’t blame the weather this year. It blames low inventories.

Statewide, inventories are down 4.8% but market times have ticked up to 91 days from 88 days.

“Sellers should definitely be motivated by this market,” said Jim Kinney, ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and vice president for luxury sales at Baird & Warner in Chicago. “The lower inventories and relatively short time it takes to sell a home are indicators that the housing market is quite robust entering into the busy spring season.”

Mortgage rates continue to be well under the year ago levels. A 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.68% versus 4.32% a year ago.

“Chicago’s spring buying season is starting strong. In a sign of buyer confidence, year-over-year city sales increased for the first time since last summer despite the low inventory,” said Hugh Rider, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and co-president of Realty & Mortgage Co. “This is welcome news for potential sellers who might have been tepid about putting their home on the market. Homeowners also can be motivated by median sales prices that continue to top last year’s.”

Last year, the weakness in the spring remained throughout the year.

With these improved February numbers, will Spring 2015 be a different story?

Illinois home prices surge 13.1 percent in February; Home sales decline 1.7 percent amid tight inventories [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, March 23, 2015]

A 3-Bedroom Streeterville Penthouse With Its Own Basketball Court: 415 E. North Water

415 e north water approved

There are a LOT of penthouses coming on the market this spring in Chicago including this 3-bedroom penthouse at 415 E. North Water in Streeterville.

But this one stands out for its unique features.

At 9300 square feet, this 2-level unit includes a 67 foot wraparound terrace.

It also has a 500 gallon hot tub and a private basketball and squash court (see the pictures to check that out.)

The unit also has 3 saltwater aquariums.

The listing says $1 million+ was spent on exotic stone.

There are floor to ceiling windows with North and West exposures.

It also has 3-car parking included.

Listed at $12.95 million, it ranks as one of the most expensive properties on the market downtown.

Who’s the buyer for this type of property and will this sell close to ask?

Philip Skowron at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #PH05: 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 9300 square feet

  • I can’t determine a prior sales price. It looks like multiple transactions
  • Currently listed at $12.95 million
  • Assessments of $6508 a month (includes central air, gas, water, doorman, exercise room)
  • Taxes of $89,819
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • 3-car parking included
  • Bedroom #1: 20×16 (main level)
  • Bedroom #2: 14×14 (main level)
  • Bedroom #3: 18×14 (main level)
  • Basketball court: 38×36 (second level)
  • Squash court: 32×20 (second level)


Looking for a Vintage Penthouse in East Lakeview? 739 W. Brompton


This top floor vintage 2-bedroom at 739 W. Brompton in East Lakeview came on the market in February 2015.

Built in 1924, the mid-rise building has 9 units.

This penthouse has the large layout you would expect from that era with a full-size dining room and sunroom.

Many of the original features remain including wainscoting, moldings, and a wood burning fireplace in the living room.

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

There is a marble bath in the master bathroom.

The unit has most of the features buyers look for including washer/dryer in the unit and central air.

There’s no parking, however. It appears to be rented in the neighborhood.

At 1800 square feet, is this a good townhouse alternative for a buyer who loves vintage?

Richard Curto at Baird & Warner has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3N: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1800 square feet

  • Sold in April 1996 for $207,000
  • Sold in August 2009 for $405,000
  • Originally listed in February 2015 for $465,000
  • Still listed at $465,000
  • Assessments of $272 a month (includes cable, water)
  • Taxes of $7067
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • No parking- looks like it is rental in the neighborhood for up to $280 a month
  • Wood burning fireplace
  • Bedroom #1: 14×14
  • Bedroom #2: 14×13
  • Dining room: 19×12
  • Living room: 20×15
  • Kitchen: 13×10
  • Sunroom: 15×8

A Mies Van Der Rohe Family Home Across from Lincoln Park: 2400 N. Lakeview

2400 n lakeview

This 3-bedroom at 2400 N. Lakeview in Lincoln Park just came on the market.

This is a Mies Van Der Rohe designed building built in 1963 with 264 units.

The listing for this unit says it has been fully gutted with new electric and plumbing. It also apparently has a new layout.

It has dark wide planked wood floors.

The kitchen and baths have modern finishes reflecting the Mies aesthetic.

The kitchen has white and wood modern cabinets with Miele and Thermador appliances and subway tiles.

It has central air and a washer/dryer in the unit.

There’s also parking but I can’t tell if it’s leased or included.

All three of the bedrooms are generously proportioned.

It has East, West and North exposures and overlooks Lincoln Park.

Is this unit a good alternative for those looking for a family home in Lincoln Park?

Tamar Kasey at Redfin has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #2906: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in February 2011 for $405,000
  • Currently listed for $645,000
  • Assessments of $1056 a month (includes a/c, doorman, cable, pool)
  • Taxes of $5899
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 12×16
  • Bedroom #2: 15×12
  • Bedroom #3: 16×10
  • Foyer: 17×9


Past Peak Bubble Pricing in the West Loop: A 2/1 in 1228 W. Monroe

1228 w monroe approved

This 2-bedroom at 1228 W. Monroe in the West Loop came on the market in February 2015.

The building was built at the top of the housing boom in 2006.

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

Both bedrooms apparently measure 10×10.

The listing says it can be rented out for $1800 a month so it’s being marketed as an investment unit.

It has the features buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and parking.

We last chattered about this building in 2011 which was close to the bottom of the market.

Back in 2011, a 1000-square foot 2/2 was bank owned and ended up selling for $192,000.

Not many of you thought it was a “deal” at that price, as it was bought with all cash.

Sonies said he’d rather put his cash in “passive investing.”

Bob said there was no longer appreciation so why not just invest it in something with a dividend?

Jenny said that 2/2s outside of the Gold Coast were heading under $200,000.

See the discussion here.

A LOT has changed since 2011, obviously.

This unit is just a 2/1 and it is listed well above its 2006 peak bubble price at $350,000. That’s over 30% appreciation since 2006.

How high will prices go in the West Loop?

Nicholas Calabrese at Re/Max Premier Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #208: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 872 square feet

  • Sold in July 2006 for $266,500
  • Originally listed in February 2015 for $379,999
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $350,000 (includes 1-car parking)
  • Assessments of $256 a month
  • Taxes of $2892
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 10×10
  • Bedroom #2: 10×10



Home Sweet Home – Only 2 Occupants Over 95 Years: 220 E. Walton in the Gold Coast

220 e walton

This 4-bedroom vintage unit at 220 E. Walton in the Gold Coast came on the market in November 2014.

Built in 1919, the listing says it is being sold by only the second occupant in the last 95 years.

Now those two owners saw a LOT of Chicago history from their windows.

The building has just 19 units.

There are only 2 units per floor and this one is 3000 square feet.

It has north and south exposures and the vintage features you would expect from a 1919 building including a 25×9 foyer and crown molding.

There is a wood burning fireplace in the living room.

The listing says it has space pac central air but there are window A/C units in several of the bedrooms.

Two of the four bedrooms are the typical massive sized vintage bedrooms but the other two bedrooms are behind the kitchen and are tiny. Those were likely the servants’ bedrooms.

It also has a library which the listing calls a family room.

There’s in-unit washer/dryer but no parking. It is available for rent nearby.

Originally listed for $925,000, it has been reduced to $875,000.

For someone with vision, and who wants to renovate, is this a good deal?

Richard Anselmo at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #5E: 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 3000 square feet

  • There’s no prior sales info since it was so long ago
  • Originally listed in November 2014 for $925,000
  • Reduced twice
  • Currently listed at $875,000
  • Assessments of $2760 a month (includes water, heat, doorman)
  • Taxes of $11455
  • Listing says there is space pak central air
  • Washer/dryer hook up in unit
  • Wood burning fireplace
  • Bedroom #1: 20×12
  • Bedroom #2: 20×12
  • Bedroom #3: 12×8
  • Bedroom #4: 12×8
  • Kitchen: 17×13
  • Dining room: 19×13
  • Library: 15×13

Do You Dream of a Double Lot? A 6-Bedroom House at 1345 W. Wolfram in West Lakeview

1345 w wolfram

This 6-bedroom single family home at 1345 W. Wolfram in West Lakeview just came on the market.

If it looks familiar, that’s because we chattered about it in September 2013.

See that chatter here.

If you recall, it’s on a rare double lot measuring 52×124.6 which allows it to have that other rare city feature: the 5 car garage.

At 9050 square feet, it not only has 6 bedrooms but also 7 full bathrooms and 2 half baths.

It has 4 decks and a basketball court.

If you have a lot of children using those bedrooms, there is a lower level nanny’s quarters complete with a full kitchen.

The double lot allows you to have 4 bedrooms on the same level, all with ensuite bathrooms.

The kitchen is gourmet with luxury stainless steel appliances.

If you don’t want to walk up and down all the stairs, there is an elevator.

In 2013, some of you became obsessed with the low property taxes and thought it must have only included one pin, instead of two.

The taxes are higher this go around, having jumped to $16890 from $11866 in 2013.

The listing says the house is in the Prescott school district.

With inventory low again, will 2015 be the charm for this house?

Jennifer Ames at Coldwell Banker has the listing again. See the pictures and floor plan here.

1345 W. Wolfram: 6 bedrooms, 7 full baths, 2 half baths, 9050 square feet, 5 car garage

  • I couldn’t find a prior sales price
  • Originally listed in September 2012 for $3,195,999
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in September 2013 at $2.95 million
  • Withdrawn in November 2013
  • Listed in March 2014 for $2.95 million
  • Withdrawn in October 2014
  • Re-listed in March 2015 for $2.85 million
  • Taxes now $16,890 (they were $11,866 in 2013)
  • Central Air
  • 3 fireplaces
  • Nanny’s quarter with kitchen
  • Basketball court
  • Bedroom #1: 21×15 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 15×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 11×15 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 11×18 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #5: 11×13 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #6: 8×16 (lower level)

5 Years Later, This East Village 2-Bedroom Tries Again: 823 N. Winchester

823 n winchester approved

This top-floor 2-bedroom at 823 N. Winchester in the East Village just came on the market.

For those long time readers, this unit may look familiar because we last chattered about it in 2010.

See our 2010 chatter here.

The building was built in 1908 and this unit still has many of its vintage features.

It has original built-in hutches, a stained glass window and original moldings.

It also has a skylight and unique exposed brick.

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

The unit has the features buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and garage parking.

It also has a deck off the back and a 10×9 walk in closet, which is rare in a vintage unit.

In 2010, it was originally listed at $350,000 but never found a buyer.

Five years later, it has come back on the market at the price of just $315,000.

Will the improved market and a lower price equal a quick sale this time around?

Ron Knoll at @Properties has the listing again. See the pictures here.

Unit #3: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, no square footage listed

  • Sold in October 2003 for $272,000
  • Originally listed in April 2010 for $350,000
  • Withdrawn in December 2011
  • Currently listed at $315,000
  • Assessments of $104 a month (they were also $104 a month in 2010)
  • Taxes now $4362 (they were $3372 in 2010)
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Garage Parking included
  • Bedroom #1: 15×11
  • Bedroom #2: 11×8

Live in Streeterville for Less: A 1-Bedroom Loft at 540 N. Lake Shore Drive

540 n lake shore drive

This 950 square foot 1-bedroom loft in 540 N. Lake Shore Drive in Streeterville just came on the market.

It has the authentic loft features that loft lovers look for including exposed brick walls and 12-foot timber ceilings with south facing windows.

The kitchen has white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

It has central air but there’s no in-unit washer/dryer or parking. There is laundry in the building and rental parking, however.

It’s a full amenity building with a doorman, exercise room and rooftop deck.

Chicago is one of the few remaining big American cities where you don’t have to be a millionaire to live in the city center.

At $259,000, is this loft a good starter condo for someone who really wants to live in Streeterville?

Michael Kelly at Dream Town has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #413: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 950 square feet

  • Sold in June 1992 for $100,000
  • Sold in December 1998 for $134,000
  • Sold in March 2012 for $186,500
  • Currently listed for $259,000
  • Assessments of $460 a month (includes A/C, water, gas, cable, doorman, exercise room)
  • Taxes of $3054
  • Central Air
  • Laundry in the building
  • Rental parking available in the building
  • Bedroom: 20×14

The Legacy Re-Lists 30 Condos for Sale: 60 E. Monroe in the Loop

60 e monroe approved

This 2-bedroom in The Legacy at 60 E. Monroe on Millennium Park in the Loop just came on the market.

It is one of 30 condos that were re-listed last week by the developer.

The Legacy was built during the boom but didn’t start closings until 2009, which was after the bust.

The listing says the building is now 83% sold.

The building has 355 units, many with striking lake and city views.

This 1487 square foot 2-bedroom has south and east views.

The kitchen has cherry cabinets and luxury appliances like a Subzero refrigerator and a Bosch dishwasher.

It was originally listed pre-construction in 2007 for $649,900.

In 2012 and 2013, it was listed for $700,000 but withdrawn.

It has come back on the market at $719,000 with parking an extra $55,000 to $75,000.

Most of the new listings are 2-bedroom units although there are several that are larger.

Will we see more of these unsold units come on the market this spring? (i.e. the accidental landlords as well?)

Anthony Madonia at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1603: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1487 square feet

  • Originally listed in July 2007 for $649,900
  • Was listed in 2012-2013 for $700,000
  • Withdrawn
  • Currently listed for $719,000 (plus parking at $55,000 to $75,000)
  • Assessments of $621 a month (includes gas, water, doorman, pool, exercise room)
  • Taxes aren’t listed
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 12×16
  • Bedroom #2: 10×13