Market Conditions: Is a Glut Building in the Chicago Luxury Housing Market?

Luxury home sales were hot in the first half of 2017.

This shouldn’t be surprising as the stock market continued to hit new all time highs. Usually, new highs in the stock market equals strong luxury home sales.

From Crain’s:

Sales of high-end homes in Chicago and the suburbs grew sharply in the first half of the year, far outpacing the growth in the market overall.

“It looks to me like people are feeling better this year with the economy chugging along, and they’re willing to spend money on a nice house,” said Kim Kelley, an @properties agent on the North Shore whose clients bought a house in Glencoe for more than $5.1 million in April.

In the six-county area, 1,347 homes sold for $1 million or more in the first six months of the year, according to Midwest Real Estate Data. That’s up nearly 13.4 percent from the first half of 2016.

But now, there are more million dollar homes and condos than ever before.

Two of the largest condo buildings under construction in the city, the Vista and One Bennett Park, will, combined, add another 475 condos priced over $1 million to the inventory.

But it’s not just condos.

In the GreenZone, plenty of million dollar homes are going up in addition to re-sales.

“There are 14 homes for sale at $5 million or more in Lincoln Park, and there’s only been one sale” at that level, said Jennifer Ames, a Coldwell Banker agent. She represented buyers who made the last big-dollar deal of the year’s first half, paying $4.9 million last week for a six-bedroom, 7,000-square-foot home on Dickens Avenue in Lincoln Park.

In the Gold Coast, where two homes have sold for $4 million or more so far this year, there were 19 at $4 million and up on the market as of yesterday. There’s oversupply in Lakeview, too, though it’s not quite so lopsided. In the first half of the year, 83 homes in the neighborhood sold for $1 million or more, but 111 homes are listed in the $1 million to $2 million range.

Last year, Lincoln Park had three sales at $5 million and up in the first half, compared to just one this year, Ames pointed out. Some high-end listings “go weeks without a showing,” she said.

Baird & Warner agent Marissa Schaefer says she sees a pattern to what isn’t selling: “So many of them look the same,” Schaefer said. At the price, and with so much competition, she said, buyers expect to land a home “that really stands apart architecturally.”

Anyone who has walked around Lakeview over the last 3 years has seen dozens of new construction homes that look like these three.

New construction home on Southport 2014

New construction home on Barry 2014

New construction home on Melrose 2014

All of these were priced over $1 million.

Are we about to have a glut problem in the luxury market?

Luxury home sales surge in first half- but prices slip [Crain’s Chicago Business, Dennis Rodkin, July 6, 2017]

Did Building the Office High Rise Actually Help? A 2/2 at 165 N. Canal in the West Loop

165 n canal from down river 2017

This 2-bedroom at Randolph Place at 165 N. Canal in the West Loop (yes- this is west of the river so it is technically in the West Loop) came on the market in April 2017.

Randolph Place is a big brick industrial building with 341 units and a heated parking garage on the River.

This is an east facing unit, which used to have a direct Chicago River view until the office building was constructed directly in front of it.

Now it has some indirect views of the river as well as a view of the new 150 N. Riverside Park which was built over the train tracks which used to be directly next to this building (in between the building and the River.)

Now, there’s no more pollution or noise from the trains but there’s green grass and trees (see the picture in the listing).

These lofts do not have any authentic loft features (no timber or exposed brick) but they do have high ceilings and big windows.

The two bedrooms in this unit, however, don’t have windows as they are interior rooms (see the floor plan with the listing.)

The kitchen has granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and a custom backsplash.

The loft has an entry foyer, central air, washer/dryer in the unit and an east facing balcony.

Parking in the heated garage is $30,000 extra.

There were a lot of worries over what would be built on the land next to this building and the river over the years. Ideas of a hotel and another condo building were floated before the office building was constructed.

It’s unique design has already made it famous among architect lovers.

Has the new office building and park next door actually enhanced the value of these lofts?

Jodi Slutzky at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #514: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1700 square feet

  • Sold in March 1999 for $259,000 (no parking included)
  • Sold in February 2002 for $330,000 (no parking included)
  • Sold in January 2004 for $430,000 (parking included)
  • Bank owned in 2006
  • Sold in March 2008 with the parking but no price recorded in Recorder of Deeds
  • Originally listed in April 2017 for $469,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $467,000 (plus $30,000 for parking)
  • Assessments of $738 a month (includes cable, Internet, doorman, exercise room, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $7003
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 12×12
  • Bedroom #2: 13×9



A $2.34 Million Loft Lovers Dream in the Heart of the Loop: 223 W. Lake

223 w lake building

8 newly converted lofts in an old industrial building at 223 W. Lake in the Loop recently came on the market.

The listing says this building was constructed in 1895.

These units have all the features that loft lovers look for including tall reclaimed wood ceilings, exposed brick walls and iron and glass double paned window as the El line runs right in front of the building.

These lofts are all 3 bedroom, 3.5 baths. There are 2 units per floor, one facing north (towards the El) and one facing south (towards office buildings).

The 2 penthouse units each have private rooftop terraces.

They have chef kitchens with white modern cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

The bathrooms are also in the modern style.

There are light wood floors throughout.

From pictures and the 3D tours, it appears that each of the bedrooms have windows, although it looks like they are all frosted for privacy.

Each loft has a private elevator entry. The building has a heated garage but no doorman.

This block of Lake contains several historic brick buildings, including one with a Chipotle on the first floor, as well as Monk’s Pub, one of the oldest restaurants in the loop.

223 w lake monks pub

Next door is a new construction luxury apartment tower called Linea which is now leasing.

The first floor of this building looks like it’s retail space which is available for lease.

The prices for these lofts range from $1.48 million for a unit on the second floor to $2.34 million for a penthouse.

At that price point, these lofts would be among the most expensive ever in the loop.

Who is the target buyer for this product in this location?

Will the developer get these prices?

223 w lake front door

Helaine Cohen at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff is handling all the listings. You can see pictures of the penthouse here.

Or you can see the 3D tour with floor plan here.

PH-N: 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 2718 square feet

  • New construction
  • Currently listed at $2.34 million
  • Assessments of $679 a month (includes heat, A/C, scavenger, exterior maintenance and snow removal)
  • Taxes are “new”
  • 1 car heated garage included
  • Bedroom #1: 36×14
  • Bedroom #2: 26×14
  • Bedroom #3: 26×10
  • Rooftop Deck: 35×19

A 3-Bedroom Loft in Hot Wicker Park for $525,000: 1400 N. Milwaukee

1400 n milwaukee

This 3-bedroom loft in the Indigo Lofts at 1400 N. Milwaukee in the Wicker Park/Bucktown corridor recently came on the market.

The Indigo Lofts has 21 units and a heated garage. It was converted in 2001.

This loft has 12 foot ceilings and authentic loft features of exposed brick and ductwork.

The listing for this unit says it has $50,000 in upgrades including new soundproof windows and patio door (as the El runs directly next to this building).

The loft has south and east exposures.

It has dark diagonal hardwood floors and a barn door leading to one of the bedrooms.

It appears that 2 of the 3 bedrooms have windows and they all have floor-to-ceiling walls.

There is a master suite with a remodeled master bathroom with a white quartz double sink.

The loft also has a new stone fireplace.

The kitchen has dark wood cabinets, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and a breakfast bar.

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

This building is right in the middle of all the shops and restaurants of Wicker Park and Bucktown and is within walking distance of 2 blue line stops.

It has come on the market for $100,000 more than the 2015 sales price, at $525,000.

Three bedrooms have been the hottest type of condo.

Will the 3-bedrooms and the neighborhood make this a quick sale?

Laura Meier at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #205: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1400 square feet

  • Sold in November 2001 for $303,000
  • Sold in March 2004 for $342,000
  • Sold in June 2007 for $401,500
  • Sold in April 2015 for $425,000
  • Currently on the market for $525,000 (includes garage parking)
  • Assessments of $501 a month (includes exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $5466
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 15×11
  • Bedroom #2: 11×9
  • Bedroom #3: 10×10



Now’s Your Chance to Buy a Rare 6,600 Sq Ft SFH in Old Town: 321 W. Menomonee

321 w menomonee

This 5-bedroom single family home at 321 W. Menomonee in Old Town came on the market in May 2017.

Built in 1918 on an irregular Chicago lot measuring 48 x 104, it has 2-levels and a 2.5 car garage.

The house has a lot of unique features including  a grand atrium with a curved staircase and skylight (see the pictures on this).

There are skylights throughout the house, including in the second floor family room.

The eat-in kitchen has a large island which opens to a great room with patio access.

4 of the 5 bedrooms are on the second floor with the 5th on the main level.

The master suite has a wood burning fireplace, 2 walk-in closets and a private balcony.

The master bathroom has onyx counter tops and a dual shower.

There’s also a wood-paneled library.

The listing says the backyard has been professionally landscaped and it has a large terrace/patio.

The house has central air.

At 6,687 square feet, and with the rare Old Town Triangle garage parking, is this a chance for Old Town lovers to get a large family home?

Katherine Malkin at Baird & Warner has the listing. See the pictures here.

321 W. Menomonee: 5 bedrooms, 5 baths, 2 half baths, 6,687 square feet

  • Sold in September 1988 for $400,000
  • Sold in January 1989 for $550,000
  • Currently listed for $3.45 million
  • Taxes of $67,417
  • Central Air
  • 2.5 car garage
  • Bedroom #1: 17×25 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 14×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 16×15 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 14×17 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #5: 13×9 (main floor)
  • Family room: 14×23 (second floor)
  • Laundry room: 8×6 (second floor)
  • Library: 11×13 (main floor)
  • Terrace: 46×22



Get a 2/2 Loft With Parking for Under $350,000 in North Center: 3900 N. Claremont

3900 n claremont approved

This 2-bedroom loft in the St. Ben’s Lofts at 3900 N. Claremont in North Center just came on the market.

The building was constructed in 1907 and has 24 units and gated parking.

This is an authentic loft with exposed brick and timber ceilings.

The listing says the espresso hardwood floors were just redone.

It looks, from the pictures, like it has the common loft configuration where neither bedroom has a window.

The kitchen has white cabinets with a marble backsplash and the listing says it has brand new stainless steel appliances.

It has a south facing balcony.

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

At $340,000, is this a deal for a 2/2 in this neighborhood?

Janet Jasmer at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #205: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in October 1998 for $209,000 (parking included)
  • Sold in October 2001 for $268,500 (parking included)
  • Currently listed for $340,000 (secured gated parking included)
  • Assessments of $276 a month (includes exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $4141
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 14×13
  • Bedroom #2: 12×12


Vintage Elegance in East Lincoln Park: A 4-Bedroom Row House at 2017 N. Sedgwick

2017 n sedgewick

This 4-bedroom vintage row house at 2017 N. Sedgwick in East Lincoln Park came on the market in May 2017.

Built in 1886 on a 20×110 lot, it still has many of its original features including crown moldings, original pocket doors, plaster moldings in the dining room, ceiling medallions, and the original wood burning fireplace in the living room along with a marble mantel.

The kitchen has wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances along with tin ceilings.

2 of the 4 bedrooms are on the second floor with the other 2 bedrooms on the lower level.

There’s also a lower level den/media room.

The row house has several outdoor spaces including over the 2-car garage and a paver patio with an outdoor wood burning fireplace.

It has central air.

It’s in the popular Lincoln school district.

Since May, this row house has been reduced $100,000 to $1.495 million.

Is this now priced to sell?

Mitch Serrano at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

There will also be an Open House this Sunday, July 2 from 12-2 PM.

2017 N. Sedgwick: 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 2500 square feet

  • Sold in May 1990 for $350,000
  • Sold in July 1994 for $457,500
  • Sold in May 1997 for $620,000
  • Sold in August 2003 for $875,000
  • Sold in September 2013 for $1,342,500
  • Originally listed in May 2017 for $1.595 million
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $1.495 million
  • Taxes of $22,177
  • Central Air
  • 2-car garage
  • Original wood burning fireplace
  • Bedroom #1: 16×11 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 17×10 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 13×8 (lower level)
  • Bedroom #4: 10×9 (lower level)
  • Laundry room: 8×5 (lower level)
  • Family room: 15×15 (lower level)


Get a 3-Bedroom SFH in the Old Town Triangle for Under $1 Million: 319 W. Eugenie

319 w eugenie

This 3-bedroom single family home at 319 W. Eugenie in Old Town recently came on the market.

Built in 1874, it is landmarked.

It has a smaller than standard Chicago lot of 24×103 but still manages to have a 2-car garage.

The listing describes this as an “Italianate cottage” with arched frames over the window, paired corbels and dentils at the roof eave.

The house has vaulted ceilings and skylights.

There’s a sunroom with a deck off the back and a lower level family room.

The master suite is also on the lower level and has a garden.

The kitchen has luxury stainless steel appliances.

The house has other features that buyers look for including central air.

Listed at $990,000, this is a short sale.

Given that duplex downs and townhomes in nearby GreenZone neighborhoods are now going for over $1 million, is this house a deal for its location in the Old Town Triangle?

Eileen Kelly at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures and the floor plan here.

319 W. Eugenie: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1656 square feet

  • Sold in February 1995 for $465,000
  • Lis pendens filed in August 2007
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in August 2014
  • Currently listed as a “short sale” for $990,000
  • 2-car garage
  • Taxes of $13,693
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 15×11 (lower level)
  • Bedroom #2: 15×8 (main level)
  • Bedroom #3: 12×8 (lower level)
  • Family room: 24×12 (lower level)
  • Sun room: 11×11 (main level)
  • Laundry room: 13×7 (lower level)


Market Conditions: Sales Fall 0.2% YOY But 2016 Was the Hottest May in 9 Years

Statute in Lincoln Park June 22, 2017

The Illinois Association of Realtors is out with the May housing report. Once again, it was another strong month.

The city of Chicago saw a 0.2 percent year-over-year home sales decline in May 2017 with 2,973 sales, down from 2,980 in May 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in May 2017 was $306,750, up 5.5 percent compared to May 2016 when it was $290,750.

May sales:

  • May 2008: 2119 sales
  • May 2009: 1557 sales
  • May 2010: 2057 sales
  • May 2011: 1705 sales
  • May 2012: 2037 sales
  • May 2013: 2834 sales
  • May 2014: 2453 sales
  • May 2015: 2750 sales
  • May 2016: 2980 sales
  • May 2017: 2973 sales

Median price data:

  • 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: $269,250
  • May 2015: $281,000
  • May 2016: $290,750
  • May 2017: $306,750

“We’re in an interesting, sophisticated market at present, wherein inventory is restricting what’s available for those who are looking to buy,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “Sellers are having to price their properties appropriately, as educated buyers are prepared to be flexible on their wants and needs in a new home or wait for the perfect home to come on the market and pay accordingly.”

30-year mortgage rates remain relatively low, averaging 4.01% in May versus 4.05% in April. A year ago, the 30-year rate was 3.6%.

Inventory continues to plunge statewide. It fell 15% year-over-year to just 56,535 properties versus 66,424 in 2016.

“The market appears to be in a “wait and see” mode in both Illinois and Chicago” said  Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.  “The state’s economy has stuttered and the fiscal cloud hanging over the state has seen enhanced net out-migration that has contributed to a dampening of demand.”

In Chicago, the unemployment rate in May fell to a record low (for the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights region) of just 4.1% from 5.4% a year ago. Although some experts believe it could be due to some leaving the state.

Downstate has been struggling, especially due to layoffs at Caterpillar and Deere.

How tight will this market get?

And with a tight market, that means that prices will rise.

Will we soon see a record high median price again in Chicago?

Illinois housing market makes gains in May with higher home sales and prices [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, June 21, 2017]


Love Brick? A 2-Bedroom Loft for Only $365,000 at 420 S. Clinton in the West Loop


This 2-bedroom in the Gotham Lofts at 420 S. Clinton in the West Loop just came on the market.

This is an old General Electric factory that was converted into lofts during the loft craze in 1999. It has a garage as well as a side parking lot.

There’s no doorman but there is an exercise room.

This loft is a corner unit that appears to face Clinton.

If you’re a lover of exposed brick, look no further as this loft has exposed brick in nearly every room of the loft, including in the bathrooms and closets.

The second bedroom even has exposed brick on every single wall.

Both bedrooms are fully enclosed and have windows, a rarity for a Chicago loft.

The master bath has marble and porcelain tile.

There is a walk-in shower in the second bathroom.

This loft has a drywall ceiling. Some units in the building have timber but in some places the timber was too badly damaged so the developer dry walled over it.

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

It also has a large, secret, back deck.

There’s central air, washer/dryer in the unit and the listing says there is assigned parking, which I take to mean it has a spot in the open air lot attached to the building.

At $365,000,  including the parking space, is this a deal for this location?

Laurie Jacobs at Re/Max Vision212 has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #106-A: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in July 1999 for $179,500
  • Sold in August 2001 for $256,000
  • Currently listed at $365,000 (includes assigned parking)
  • Assessments of $390 a month (includes exercise room, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $3830
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 13×13
  • Bedroom #2: 14×10