Market Conditions: After a Hot July, Will Chicago’s Housing Market Cool in August?

Housing is big news this week. Chicago’s real estate experts and some agents have been chiming in about July’s hot sales. The Sun-Times even put rising real estate prices on the front page.

From the Tribune:

Despite the positive report, the local housing market’s recovery continues to be uneven. Unlike eight to 10 years ago and except for investors, people who are priced out of choice neighborhoods are not looking at fringe neighborhoods in search of a good deal and future appreciation, said Zeke Morris, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors.

“We still need pioneers, people who are willing to take that chance in neighborhoods,” Morris said. “I’m happier that our median price is moving up. The only thing I caution people about is, the top half of the median is not the problem. The bottom half is the problem. How do we get prices at the lower half of the median moving up?”

In July, the median sales price of a home sold in the nine-county Chicago area rose 18.3 percent from a year ago, to $201,075, the Illinois Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. The median price of a home sold within the city increased 25 percent year over year, to $250,000.

While those kind of numbers seem reminiscent of the bubble years of runaway home prices, that’s not the case this time, real estate agents say. They add that homeowners who expect their properties to fetch unrealistically high prices are being urged to ratchet down their expectations.

“We’re not seeing prices skyrocketing,” said Michael Golden, a co-founder of @properties. “Pricing is still very moderate. The market today is much more thoughtful, much more careful, even though it is hotter than it was two years ago.”

The slower pace of activity that Prudential Rubloff agent Francesca Rose has seen in August is welcome because it means a more balanced market and a less-panicked buyer.

“The nervousness and the panic, people feel like they’re going to make the wrong decision,” Rose said, adding: “When we say it’s slow, it’s relative. It’s slow relative to April.”

The Sun-Times covers the bidding wars but also talks about slowing in August.

“The inventories are so low that there’s really no place for prices to go but up,” said broker Leigh Marcus of @properties. Marcus works Chicago neighborhoods from the South Loop to Rogers Park, and he reports brisk sales and bidding wars for homes with attractive features.

He handled such a sale in July for Joe Chasen, an options trader at the Chicago Board of Trade. Chasen said the Bucktown rowhome sold in three days and drew a strong response because of features such as a yard and rooftop party space.

Marcus said it sold for $861,500 and that six offers were made, all above the asking price.

Chasen said he bought a house in Glenview before selling in Bucktown and had to beat out other bidders. “I think I hit the market at a good time, just before interest rates began to tick up,” he said.

Marcus said the higher rates are just now having an effect. He said he detected a slowdown in sales starting in August beyond the typical impact of vacations and back-to-school preparations.

Wesbury, however, said the market will take the rates in stride. He said that with more confidence in place, “buyers are more willing to buy than back when rates were lower but buyers thought home prices might fall further.”

Will the experts be right about August cooling?

July’s heady housing gains in, around Chicago not expected to be replicated [Chicago Tribune, Mary Ellen Podmolik, August 22, 2013]

Housing market heats up in Chicago area with July sales up 36.1% [Sun-Times, David Roeder, August 22, 2013]


3-Bedroom Duplex Up Brick and Timber Loft Returns: 612 N. Oakley in West Town

612 n oakley approved

We’ve chattered about this brick and timber authentic loft in The Village Lofts at 612 N. Oakley in West Town several times over the last year.

Our first chatter, in May 2012, consisted of debating whether or not this property was in the Ukrainian Village or the Patch.

No one could decide.

See that chatter here.

Back in May, most of you thought it was overpriced for the neighborhood.

But that was then and this is now.

If you recall, it has exposed brick and timber ceilings in 2000 square feet.

There are two bedrooms and two baths on the main floor along with the main living area.

A steel staircase takes you to the second floor where a master suite and a 25 foot landscaped west facing terrace awaits.

The kitchen has maple cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

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

Last July, this loft was reduced to $448,000.

It has come back on the market at $524,900.

Is the market $76,900 hotter just 13 months later?

Didn’t it also appear on a recent episode of House Hunters? (it was the one where the couple was looking for a 3-bedroom with vintage character in Lakeview, so of course, they went to look at this loft in West Town.)

Gregory Quadrini at Prudential Rubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #207: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, duplex up, 2000 square feet

  • Sold in June 1999 for $260,000
  • Sold in December 2001 for $350,000
  • Was listed in May 2012 for $475,000 (parking included)
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in July 2012 for $448,000 (parking included)
  • Withdrawn
  • Currently listed for $524,900 (parking included)
  • Assessments of $362 a month
  • Taxes of $5784
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 21×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 25×10 (main floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 12×11 (main floor)


Market Conditions: Best Year for July Sales Since 2007 in Chicago

It’s that time again. As expected, July sales soared year over year. Median prices also jumped by double digits.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

The city of Chicago saw a 31.1 percent year-over-year home sales increase in July 2013 with 2,838 sales, up from 2,164 in July 2012. 

The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in July 2013 was $250,000 up 25 percent compared to July 2012 when it was $200,000. Chicago condo prices also saw double-digit gains for the month, posting a 13.8 percent jump to $280,000. Average time on market in the city was 48 days, down 30.4 percent compared to 69 days last July.

Here’s the July data since 1997 (thanks, once again, to G for the 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: 2,838

Inventories continue to be the problem.

“The market is starting to come together, especially in the condo arena that was hard-hit across most areas of the city. That condos are moving at a strong pace now and prices are also increasing means that both buyers and sellers are feeling confident,” said REALTOR® Zeke Morris, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and Operating Principal and Managing Broker, Keller Williams Realty, CCG. “As the availability of inventory continues to decrease, we hope to see buyers look into some of the areas that aren’t performing as well, as an alternative.”

Additionally, foreclosures have all but dried up and those that do come on the market are bought by investors.

“While both prices and sales continue to point to a sustained housing market recovery,” noted Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois, “the inventory of homes for sale remains at low levels.  The number of foreclosed properties may have deterred many potential sellers from listing their homes.  Recent analysis suggests that the level of foreclosed properties may return to pre-recession levels by the end of the year and thus providing some incentive for additional listings.”

What does the CAR mean when it says they “hope to see buyers look in some of the areas that aren’t performing as well”?

That buyers who are looking in Lakeview will now start looking in Uptown or Rogers Park or Albany Park?

New mortgage applications have been falling this summer. That data would indicate that sales, nationally, will also fall in the coming months.

Will July be the best it will get for 2013 or will Chicago be immune to a slowdown?

Illinois home sales and prices see double-digit gains in July; Statewide sales up 28.5 percent, median price jumps 14.2 percent [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, August 21, 2013]

2-Bedroom Triplex With Original Safe Still Available: 1733 W. Irving Park Road in Lakeview

1733 w irving park road

We last chattered about this 2-bedroom triplex corner loft in the Postcard Lofts at 1733 W. Irving Park Road in Lakeview in May 2013.

You can check out that chatter here.

Priced at $499,900 some of you thought it was too expensive but $475,000 might get it done.

We actually chattered about this unit nearly 6 years ago- in October 2007.

The interior of the loft now looks remarkably similar to what it looked like back then. Check it out here.

Loft lovers will delight that many of the original features remain including the original safe which is now a bathroom, complete with the safe door serving as the bathroom door.

It has 14-foot timber ceilings and a spiral staircase.

The listing says there is an unfinished 4th floor with 600 square feet.

The kitchen is the same as six years ago. It still has what look to be maple cabinets, white appliances and does not have granite counter tops.

The listing also says there is an “assessment credit available.” From the public listing it doesn’t appear that the assessment includes heat or cable.

The loft has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and garage parking.

This loft has reduced to $475,000.

Will that be enough to make the sale?

Jennifer Vogel at Conlon still has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #222: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2379 square feet, triplex

  • Sold in 1998?
  • Sold in February 2005 for $528,000
  • Was listed in 2006-2007 for $599,000
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in October 2007 for $549,000
  • Withdrawn in 2008
  • Was listed in May 2013 for $499,900
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $475,000
  • Assessments now $618 a month (includes snow removal and water) (They were $554 a month in October 2007) 
  • Assessment credit available
  • Taxes are $6033
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Garage parking
  • Bedroom #1: 20×16 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 22×13 (third floor)

This 3-Bedroom in a Classic Lincoln Park Greystone Reduces: 1130 W. Armitage

1130 w armitage

We’ve chattered about the first floor unit in this 3-unit greystone at 1130 W. Armitage before but now a second floor unit has come on the market.

It has high ceilings, crown molding and access to both the front and back porches.

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

The master bedroom has a white marble bath.

Because it’s a vintage 3-flat, the bedroom sizes are smaller. The listing says to “note” the second and third bedroom sizes which are 10×9.

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

The unit is also just a few blocks from the Armitage El stop and surrounded by all the shops and restaurants on Armitage.

It came on the market in July and has reduced $4,000 to $495,000.

This is $10,000 under the 2005 purchase price.

Is this a deal?

Randy McGee at Koenig & Strey Real Living has the listing. See the pictures here.

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

  • Sold in July 1995 for $274,000
  • Sold in December 1999 for $370,000
  • Sold in June 2001 for $410,000
  • Sold in June 2005 for $505,000
  • Originally listed in July 2013 for $499,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $495,000
  • Assessments of $162 a month
  • Taxes of $8565
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Garage parking included
  • Bedroom #1: 16×11
  • Bedroom #2: 10×9
  • Bedroom #3: 10×9

We Love Huge Printers Row Authentic Brick and Timber Lofts: 711 S. Dearborn

711 s dearborn approved

This 1200-square foot 1-bedroom brick and timber loft in the Donohue Building at 711 S. Dearborn just came on the market.

The kitchen and bath have been upgraded since the original conversion in the 1990s.

It has espresso cabinets, stainless steel appliances and a white tile backsplash.

There are also white tiles in the bathroom.

It’s a top floor unit with timber ceilings and walls of exposed brick.

This building has some great windows and this unit is no exception with its large arched windows in the living room.

It’s one of the rare Donohue units that has central air (most have window units.)

It also has in-unit washer/dryer.

Parking is available just up the street for $35,000 in 801 S. Plymouth or you can rent around the corner.

The assessment  includes the heat.

With almost nothing available on the market, will this unit go under contract this week?

Judy Howard at Prudential Rubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #802: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 1200 square feet

  • I couldn’t find a prior sales price
  • Currently listed for $300,000
  • Assessments of $704 a month (includes heat and cable)
  • Taxes of $4600
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Parking available to buy down the street for $35,000
  • Bedroom: 12×12


Market Conditions: Will Soaring Mortgage Rates Put a Damper on the Chicago Market?

The 10-year treasury hit a 2-year high yesterday of 2.89%.  That is pushing mortgage rates up over 4.5%.

Many people who were looking to buy properties this summer have already locked in lower rates. Many locks are good for up to 3 months so properties that went under contract even 60 days ago that haven’t yet closed will most likely get lower rates.

But if rates stay at this level, the 3.3% 30-year fixed mortgage rates look to be a thing of the past for many buyers.

We’ve debated many times over the last 6 years whether or not rising rates would impacct buyers.

Another wrinkle in this market is that a large percentage of purchases are being made with all cash, which makes the mortgage rates moot anyway.

What’s the level at which rates would have to rise to really make an impact on sales?

Have we hit it already or is it some magic figure like 5% or 6%?



4-Bedroom House With Ornately Carved Faces Returns: 3526 N. Marshfield in Lakeview

3526 n marshfield

We’ve chattered about this house at 3526 N. Marshfield in Lakeview several times over the last year.

See our April 2012 chatter here.

It not only has “ornately carved faces” on the exterior (see the listing to see plenty of pictures) but in prior listings it talked about “underground tunnels”- although that reference has now been removed.

But in case you want to own a house with a past, this house was apparently once owned by a Chicago celebrity (of whom many of you named in the first chatter we did on this property back in March 2012- and she lived in the house nearly 20 years ago!).

See the March 2012 chatter here.

If you recall, the house was built in 1889. It is on an irregular lot measuring 27.2×73.5x60x51.5.

The listing still says the house is being sold “as-is.”

All four bedrooms are on the second level and there is a family room in the basement.

The kitchen has dark cabinets and white appliances as well as a kitchen island.

The house has central air and a “gated yard with parking for 1-car”.

The house is now listed for $64,000 more than last year.

Will the hot market matter with this property?

David Bovyn at Kale Realty still has the listing. See the pictures here.

3526 N. Marshfield: 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2500 square feet, 1 car parking

  • Sold in July 1991 for $160,500
  • Sold in February 1994 for $176,000
  • Was listed in March 2012 “as-is” for $550,000
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in April 2012 at $539,000
  • Withdrawn
  • Re-listed in July 2013 for $650,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $599,000
  • Taxes now $8056 (they were $7958 in April 2012)
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 20×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 15×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 16×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 9×12 (second floor)
  • Family room: 30×17 (lower level)

4 Months Later, 3-Bedroom French Normandy Still Available in Galewood: 1901 N. Newcastle

1901 n newcastle

We last chattered about this 3-bedroom French Normandy house at 1901 N. Newcastle in Galewood in May 2013.

See our prior chatter here.

Previously, it was the most expensive home on the market in Galewood but that is no longer the case as it has been reduced to $347,000.

If you recall, it was built in 1948 on an oversized corner lot measuring 37×125, it has hardwood floors throughout the first floor and crown molding.

There is a marble fireplace in the living room.

It has the preferred layout of all three bedrooms being on the second floor.

The listing also says that there is a bathroom on each floor but it looks to have 1 full bath and 2 half baths.

There’s a family room in the finished basement.

The house has central air and a 2-car garage.

The market isn’t just hot in the GreenZone. Other homes are under contract in Galewood.

Will this latest price reduction make this house competitive in the Galewood market?

Christine Todde at Century 21 Grande Realty has the listing. See the pictures here.

1901 N. Newcastle: 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, 2 half baths, 2000 square feet, 2 car garage

  • Sold in April 1997 for $210,000
  • Sold in May 2007 for $430,000
  • Previously listed from 2009-2011
  • Was listed in May 2013 for $360,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $347,000
  • Taxes of $5667
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 15×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 14×10 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 13×12 (second floor)
  • Family room: 20×11 (basement)

Will Parking Matter in the Hot 2013 Market? A 2-Bedroom Cottage at 3908 N. Paulina in Lakeview

3908 n paulina

We last chattered about this 2-bedroom cottage at 3908 N. Paulina in Lakeview in July 2011.

See our prior chatter here.

The house has been on and off the market since February 2009.

Listed in 2011 for $400,000, Homedelete thought it would sell quickly due to it being in Blaine even though it doesn’t have any parking.

But it was withdrawn from the market in October 2011 without a sale.

If you recall, the house has hardwood floors throughout the first level.

The bedrooms are split, with one on the main level and the master bedroom on the second floor.

There is also a den on the second floor.

The listing says the kitchen has been “renovated” and has maple cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

The house has central air and a full basement with a laundry room.

The one thing it’s missing is parking as it’s built on a smaller than average Chicago lot of 25×60 which does not back up to an alley.

With this hot market, will lack of parking even matter?

Scott Berg at Berg Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

3908 N. Paulina: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1200 square feet

  • Sold in August 2000 for $252,000
  • Sold in April 2006 for $430,000
  • Originally listed in February 2009 for $517,900
  • Reduced numerous times
  • Was listed in April 2010 for $464,900
  • Withdrawn
  • Was listed in July 2011 for $400,000
  • Withdrawn
  • Currently listed for $399,900
  • Taxes are now $5601 (they were $4605 in July 2011)
  • Central Air
  • No Parking/Garage
  • Bedroom #1: 14×11 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 10×10 (main floor)
  • Living room: 13×13
  • Dining room: 13×13
  • Kitchen: 8×10
  • Den: 8×13 (second floor)