Would You Live in a Gated Community in the Green Zone? 1802 W. Diversey in North Center

1802 w diversey

This 3-bedroom single family home at 1802 W. Diversey in North Center came on the market in May 2014.

It is in a gated community of single family homes called Picardy Place that was built in 1995.

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

Two of the bedrooms are on the second floor with the third bedroom, or a family room, on the top floor.

It has central air and a 1-car garage.

Picardy Place is next door to another gated community bordering Diversey called Landmark Village which is one of the largest townhouse developments in the city.

But there are also gated communities in Lincoln Park and even in the Gold Coast.

City Commons is a gated townhouse development at 641 W. Willow in Lincoln Park.

Sutton Place, in the Gold Coast, is one of the older gated communities on the north side.

Suffice it to say, many of these gated communities were built at a time when their neighborhoods weren’t what they are today.

Yet the gates remain.

Would you live in a gated community in the Green Zone?

And what will it take to sell this house?

Jeffrey Lowe at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

1802 W. Diversey: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed, 1 car garage

  • Sold in January 1996 for $206,000
  • Sold in September 2001 for $310,000
  • Sold in March 2004 for $412,000
  • Sold in February 2008 for $425,000
  • Was originally listed in August 2013 for $499,000
  • Withdrawn in September 2013
  • Re-listed in May 2014 for $469,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $459,000
  • Assessments of $160 a month (includes snow removal)
  • Taxes of $6601
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 12×15 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 12×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 22×13 (third level)

Predictions: What Will Happen With Chicago’s Fall Housing Market?

5235 n ravenswood #2

All summer long, sales in Chicago have been lower month over month compared to a year ago.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

A year ago, mortgage rates spiked on fears of the Fed’s QE taper, which came in 2014 instead. The higher mortgage rates put the kibosh on the hot housing market in the second half of 2014.

In 2014, the mortgage rates have come back down but for some reason sales have not recovered.

Nationally, mortgage applications still remain weak, falling year over year by the double digits. Applications are still at 19-year lows. The applications are forward looking and usually indicate that home sales will remain low for several months into the future.

Now that September has arrived, what will happen with Chicago’s fall housing market?

  • 1. Will buyers jump in as rates remain low and boost the sales numbers?
  • 2. Will sellers take the opportunity to sell during the low rate environment?
  • 3. Will sellers just wait until next spring in the hope of continuing rising housing prices even though mortgage rates will likely be higher again? (since most economists are forecasting the Fed to raise rates sometime in the first half of 2015.)

What would boost this housing market again?

Get a Top Floor 2-Bedroom for Under $350K With Parking in Lakeview: 4107 N. Greenview

4107 n greenview

This 2-bedroom in this 6-unit vintage building at 4107 N. Greenview in North Lakeview came on the market in July 2014.

It has retained many of its vintage features including crown moldings, beamed ceilings, and built-ins in both the dining room and the kitchen.

The unit has 9 foot ceilings and French doors which lead to a sunroom.

The top floor unit has three exposures: South, East and West.

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

It seems to have all the features that buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and a parking space.

While this property is just north of Irving Park Road, it is just blocks from the Irving Park Brown Line stop.

Earlier this year, a first floor unit with a nearly identical layout (and features) came on the market.

Unit #1N was listed in February for $329,000, went under contract in March and sold in April for $310,000.

See those pictures here.

This unit came on the market at $335,000 and has remained there.

Has the market changed since the spring that this top floor unit will have to wait longer than the first floor unit did for a buyer?

Vicky Tordova at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3S: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1500 square feet

  • Sold in September 2002 for $300,000
  • Sold in May 2005 for $364,000
  • Sold in July 2009 for $335,000
  • Currently listed for $335,000
  • Assessments of $225 a month
  • Taxes of $5195
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • 1-car parking included
  • Bedroom #1: 13×12
  • Bedroom #2: 11×11
  • Sunroom: 11×8

Should You Paint Your Crown Molding? A 2-Bedroom at 559 W. Surf in Lakeview

559 w surf approved

This 2-bedroom in the Green Brier at 559 W. Surf in East Lakeview came on the market in early August 2014.

The building was built in 1903 and most of the units, including this one, have many of the vintage features of that era including 10 foot ceilings, thick crown molding and pocket doors.

This unit also has a decorative fireplace.

The kitchen and baths are newer, however.

The kitchen has white cabinets, stone counter tops and stainless steel appliances, including a Sub-Zero refrigerator.

But what struck me about this unit, having done many posts on this building on CribChatter in the past, was that all of the crown molding, including the molding around the windows, and even the pocket doors, was painted white.

We normally don’t discuss the interior of the units much as this isn’t a design blog.

But there have been several discussions over the years in the CribChatter comments about how you should NEVER paint vintage crown molding.

This is the first unit I’ve seen for sale in the Green Brier where someone actually had the guts to do it.

To see what the crown molding looks like unpainted in the building, check out this 1-bedroom unit that is currently available here.

The 1-bedroom also has a beamed ceiling, which the 2-bedroom does not, but the color of the wood around the windows is standard throughout the rest of the building.

Should you ever paint vintage crown molding?

Ronda Fish at Jameson Sotheby’s has the listing. Check out the pictures, and that painted crown molding, here.

Unit #207: 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, 1500 square feet

  • Sold in August 2002 for $299,000
  • Sold in July 2005 for $353,000
  • Sold in June 2007 for $400,000
  • Currently listed for $429,000
  • Assessments of $529 a month (includes doorman, cable)
  • Taxes of $3087
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • No parking- but rental is available
  • Listing says the unit is rented until September 2014
  • Bedroom #1: 17×12
  • Bedroom #2: 14×13
  • Den: 10×5

Looking for a Buyer for this Vintage 2/2 in Andersonville: 1439 W. Catalpa

1439 w catalpa

This 2-bedroom at 1439 W. Catalpa in Andersonville came on the market in early July 2014.

However, the market time on the listing says 5 days because just recently it was withdrawn and re-listed for the exact same price.

It would seem to have everything going for it.

It’s the top unit with high ceilings and skylights.

The unit has 4 exposures thanks to the sunroom off the front of the building.

It has some of its vintage features intact including some crown moldings and exposed brick in the hallway.

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

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

Not only does it have a parking space, it is garage parking (which would be welcome going into this upcoming winter.)

The unit has a prime Andersonville location, being just a half a block to all the shops and restaurants on Clark.

Andersonville was hot the last few years.

Has it cooled?

What will it take to sell this property?

Andre Nguyen at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3W: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1590 square feet

  • Sold in July 1997 for $116,000
  • Sold in September 2004 for $337,500
  • Sold in August 2008 for $302,000
  • Originally listed in July 2014 for $325,000
  • Currently still listed at $325,000
  • Assessments of $390 a month (includes heat, water, electric)
  • Taxes of $3908
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Garage parking
  • Bedroom #1: 18×11
  • Bedroom #2: 13×12
  • Sunroom: 11×11

Get 3-Bedrooms and 2-Car Parking for Just $725,000 in the Gold Coast: 1122 N. Dearborn

1122 n dearborn

Let’s talk about housing, shall we?

This 3-bedroom in 1122 N. Dearborn in the Gold Coast came on the market in early August 2014.

It’s a southwest corner unit on the 21st floor.

The kitchen has maple cabinets and white appliances and is open to the living/dining space which has dark hardwood floors.

The bedrooms have carpeting.

The unit has a full-size washer/dryer, central air and a balcony.

Most importantly, it also has a 2 car parking included in the price.

1122 N. Dearborn is a doorman building.

The square footage isn’t listed but the bedroom sizes are those of a “true” 3-bedroom.

With many two bedrooms in the neighborhood selling for over $700,000, is this 3-bedroom, with 2-car parking included, a deal?

David Montagano at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #21I: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in February 2000 for $653,000
  • Currently listed for $725,000 (includes 2 parking spaces)
  • Assessments of $1292 a month (includes A/C, gas, doorman, cable)
  • Taxes of $9772
  • Bedroom #1: 13×15
  • Bedroom #2: 12×10
  • Bedroom #3: 10×11

Market Conditions: July Sales Drop 8.2% YOY in Chicago As Inventory Remains Low

Skyline with Sears Tower Nov 2010

The Illinois Association of Realtors is out with the July data. Sales continue to be weaker than a  year ago despite lower mortgage rates.

The 30-year fixed averaged 4.11% down from 4.35% in July of 2013.

The city of Chicago saw an 8.2 percent year-over-year decrease in home sales in July 2014 with 2,664 sales, down from 2,902 in July 2013. The median price rose to $270,000 versus $250,000 in July 2013, an annual increase of 8.0 percent.

Here’s the July data since 1997 (thanks, once again, to G for the historic info):

  • 1997: 1,694
  • 1998: 2,139
  • 1999: 2,186
  • 2000: 2,013
  • 2001: 2,410
  • 2002: 2,661
  • 2003: 3,105
  • 2004: 3,429
  • 2005: 3,487
  • 2006: 3,088
  • 2007: 2,819
  • 2008: 2,200
  • 2009: 2,040
  • 2010: 1,631
  • 2011: 1,666
  • 2012: 2,088
  • 2013: 2,902
  • 2014: 2,664

“July proved to be another strong month in the city of Chicago, with a median home price increase of 8 percent to $270,000 from $250,000 in July 2013,” said Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner of Urban Real Estate.

“Inventory remains low even when the summer season is popular with sellers looking to move. Now is an ideal time for sellers to contemplate their own long-term plans and consider preparing their home for a fall sale. Interest rates remain historically low, and buyers are still seeking homes in a market with a shortage of housing options.”

Market times continue to drop.

The average time it takes to sell a home continues to decline. In July, it took 65 days on average to sell a home in the state, down 9.7 percent from 72 days last year. The average time to sell a home in the Chicago area was 50 days in July, and 43 days in the city of Chicago.

Market time in the city in July 2013 was 48 days.

If inventory is low and prices are still rising, why aren’t more homeowners listing?

Illinois median home prices increase 7.2 percent in July; Home sales down, but homes selling faster [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, August 21, 2014]

Market Conditions: Chicago Sales Rise Just 1.2% in June But Median Price Kept Rising

The June sales data is out and as expected the slowdown in sales continued as the median kept rising.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

“The city of Chicago saw a 1.2 percent year-over-year increase in home sales in June 2014 with 2,761 sales, up from 2,729 in June 2013. The median price rose to $275,000 versus $252,500 in June 2013, an annual increase of 8.9 percent.”

Thanks to G for the historical sales data:
[unordered_list style=”bullet”]

  • June 2014: 2761 sales
  • June 2013: 2729
  • June 2012: 2246
  • June 2011: 1841
  • June 2010: 2526 (tax credit sales)
  • June 2009: 1981
  • June 2008: 2282
  • June 2007: 3,127
  • June 2006: 3,557
  • June 2005: 3,850
  • June 2004: 3,752
  • June 2003: 2,891
  • June 2002: 2,590
  • June 2001: 2,451
  • June 2000: 2,513
  • June 1999:  2,435
  • June 1998:  2,214
  • June 1997: 1,817

Here is the monthly median price data:
[unordered_list style=”bullet”]

  • June 2014: $275,000
  • June 2013: $254,900
  • June 2012: $216,700
  • June 2011: $207,000
  • June 2010: $234,250
  • June 2009: $242,050
  • June 2008: $309,945

“Home sales traditionally pick up in the summer months, and June was no exception. Chicago buyers helped reverse a year-over-year sales trend by buying more homes than last June,” said Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner of Urban Real Estate. “Demand continues to outpace home supply, and buyers are finding the home they want in a shorter amount of time. This continued to push median prices higher, putting sellers in a strong position.”

“The volume of sales over the next three months (July, August and September) is forecast to match those recorded in 2013. In addition, median prices are continuing to climb while the REAL Housing Price Index suggests a slightly more optimistic growth rate when housing characteristics are taken into account,” noted Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois.

“Further good news may be found in the Chicago foreclosure inventory; the average inventory change rates were -24.2 percent in the past 6 months, -14.3 percent in the last 12 months and -8.2 percent in the last 24 months.  Given these rates of change, the foreclosure inventory would return to the pre-bubble levels by Oct 2014, Dec 2014 and May 2015 respectively,” he said.

Last year, July, August and September sales volumes fell due to rising mortgage rates so the year over year change in sales isn’t expected to be as dramatic as the first half of this year.

Purchase mortgage applications remain at 15-year lows. And all cash buyers remain at an usually high level. Historically, nationally, cash buyers make up about 5-10% of the market. Right now, it is still around 30%.

DR Horton, one of the largest home builders, reported earnings this week and blamed its weak results on the Chicagoland area saying:

“The third quarter results included $54.7 million in pre-tax charges to cost of sales for inventory impairments, primarily related to active communities in the Midwest region in Chicago that were purchased from 2004 to 2007 and had been previously impaired. The Chicago housing market remains weak, with sales absorptions and returns in these communities performing below management’s expectations. During the quarter, the Company took actions to increase sales pace, reduce inventories and improve cash flows and returns in these communities which resulted in these impairment charges.”

Is the glass half full (as the IAR sees it) or half empty (as DR Horton see it)?

Illinois home sales see slight uptick in June; Prices continue annual upward trend [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, July 22, 2014]

Market Conditions: Chicago Sales Fall 15.7% in May But Median Price Rises 14.9%

Sales have been slowing year over year the last several months so it’s no surprise that we saw more of the same in May.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

“The city of Chicago saw a 15.7 percent year-over-year home sales decline in May 2014 with 2,390 sales, down from 2,834 in May 2013. The median price rose to $270,000 versus $235,000 in May 2013, an annual increase of 14.9 percent.”

Last May was also the best May since the boom years as interest rates remained low. Remember, rates didn’t jump until mid-May and it took several months for those rates to impact buyers because those buying in May, June and even July most likely already had locked in the low rates.

May sales:
[unordered_list style=”bullet”]

  • May 2008: 2119 sales
  • May 2009: 1557 sales
  • May 2010: 2057 sales
  • May 2011: 1705 sales
  • May 2012: 2037 sales (not sure why the IAR has a higher number for 2012)
  • May 2013: 2834 sales
  • May 2014: 2390 sales

Median price data:
[unordered_list style=”bullet”]

  • May 2008: $319,500
  • May 2009: $225,000
  • May 2010: $230,000
  • May 2011: $190,000
  • May 2012: $203,000
  • May 2013: $234,000
  • May 2014: $270,000

“Median home prices continue to rise as buyers in the spring market seek out their new home from the little inventory on the market, and make their best and strongest offer,” said Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner of Urban Real Estate.

“It truly is an ideal time for prospective sellers to evaluate if now is their right time to buy, and if so, to consider making their move.  Buyers are being realistic about finding the home they might move into and upgrade later, and don’t expect to find their dream home immediately. They are looking for location, space, and the potential a property ultimately has,” Farrell added.

“The housing market continues to provide evidence of a return to more normal conditions,” noted Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois.  “Sales continue to increase on a month-to-month basis although they have been unable to match the stellar gains of last year.  The impact of foreclosures continues to decrease with the expectation that the numbers of foreclosed properties on the market will return to pre-recession levels sometime in the next 6-12 months.  Homeownership rates for retiring Baby Boomers continue to increase providing some potential medium-term housing market growth opportunities.”

Even though rates are not historically high, home sales continue to lag both in Chicago and nationally. Chairman Yellen blamed tight credit in the FOMC press conference this month.

But it seems like credit is no harder to get than it was last May when sales were soaring.

Will sales lag in Chicago for the rest of the year?

Illinois median home prices up 8.3 percent from a year ago; Statewide home sales down 9.4 percent in May [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, June 23, 2014]


This 4-Bedroom North Center Cottage is Listed at Just $499,900: 1750 W. Grace

We’ve chattered about this 4-bedroom single family home at 1750 W. Grace in North Center numerous times over the years.

You can see our May 2013 chatter here when it came back on the market after several years.

We also chattered about it in 2008 which you can see here.

In between, it was featured on an episode of HGTV.

It’s actually been pending numerous times as well but never sold.

A lis pendens foreclosure was filed in 2011. There was finally a judicial sale in December 2013.

If you recall, it was built in 1878 on a standard 25×125 lot. The house had central air in prior listings, even though the current one doesn’t indicate that, and a 2-car garage.

You can see the interior pictures in the 2008 chatter.

From the current pictures, it appears to have the same kitchen with white cabinets and green counter tops.

The price has been all over the place on this property over the years.

But it looks to be priced at among the lowest prices it has ever been listed at at $499,900.

That’s below what many townhouses or duplex downs are listed for in the neighborhood.

Is this house now a deal?

And will it FINALLY sell in 2014?

Ayoub Rahab at Great Street Properties now has the listing. See the pictures here.

1750 W. Grace: 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1619 square feet, 2 car garage
[unordered_list style=”bullet”]

  • Sold in May 2006 for $555,000
  • Was listed in May 2008 for $669,900
  • Reduced several times
  • Was listed in November 2008 for $584,900
  • Withdrawn
  • Re-listed in April 2009 for $575,000
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in June 2009 for $550,000
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in December 2009 for $535,000
  • Withdrawn in 2009
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in January 2011
  • Was re-listed in May 2013 for $599,000
  • Withdrawn
  • Bank owned in December 2013
  • Currently listed at $499,900 (with HomeSteps financing available)
  • Taxes now $9228 (they were $9171 in 2013 and $7162 in 2009)
  • Central air
  • Basement
  • Bedroom #1: 17×15 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 11×10 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 9×8 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 10×9 (main floor)