Jenny’s Dream: A Townhouse Under $500K Close to Downtown: 467 N. Armour in Noble Square

This 2-bedroom townhouse at 467 N. Armour in the Noble Square neighborhood of West Town just came on the market.

Sorry, I don’t have a picture of this 8-unit complex, but I wanted to crib on it anyway because Jenny is looking for a townhouse with these criteria:

“There are too many people who want to live in the same neighborhoods and pay very little for their places. I want a sub-$500,000 townhouse within a 15 minute drive from downtown. Every so often such a place comes on the market, but it’s rare. There’s a lot of competition for places at that price point in areas where I would want to live.”

This townhouse is one of the rare ones she mentions as it is priced under $500,000 and is within a 15 minute drive of downtown.

It has three outdoor spaces, including a private rooftop deck.

There’s a family room on the first level along with a patio, the laundry room and a 1-car garage.

The kitchen has granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and an island.

The master suite has a walk-in closet and a rain shower.

Both bedrooms are on the third floor.

The listing says it is “walkable to Fulton Market.”

These townhouses are fee simple which may account for the different colors of the garages and front doors in the listing picture.

It has been on and off the market since 2009. It was actually listed earlier in the year, in February, for $34,900 less than it is currently listed, and was withdrawn after 2 months on the market.

Townhouses are popular with buyers and competition at “affordable” price points is fierce.

Will Jenny have to settle for less than her unicorn criteria?

Or is her dream townhouse attainable?

Katharine Waddell at Jameson Sotheby’s has the listing. See the pictures here.

Or go see it at this weekend’s Open Houses on Saturday, Sep 23 from 11:30-1 pm and Sep 24 from 12-2 pm.

467 N. Armour: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in March 1998 for $220,000
  • Sold in April 2003 for $300,000
  • Sold in July 2004 for $359,000
  • Sold in May 2005 for $380,000
  • Was on the market off and on from 2009 to 2017
  • Was on the market to rent in 2015 for $2450 a month
  • Listed in February 2017 for $425,000
  • Withdrawn in April 2017 still listed at $425,000
  • Currently listed for $459,900
  • No assessments: fee simple
  • Taxes of $7400
  • Central Air
  • Private rooftop deck
  • Bedroom #1: 15×9 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 12×10 (third floor)
  • Family room: 15×11 (main floor)
  • Laundry: 5×4 (main level)

Market Conditions: August Sales Fall 4.5% in Chicago: What’s to Blame?

Flowers in the Gold Coast 2017

The Illinois Association of Realtors is out with the August sales data. Yes, sales slowed at the end of the summer.

The city of Chicago saw a 4.5 percent year-over-year home sales decline in August 2017 with 2,716 sales, down from 2,844 in August 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in August 2017 was $285,000, up 5.2 percent compared to August 2016 when it was $271,000.

August sales since 2007:

  • August 2007: 2923 sales
  • August 2008: 2078 sales
  • August 2009: 1927 sales
  • August 2010: 1486 sales
  • August 2011: 1787 sales
  • August 2012: 2209 sales
  • August 2013: 2850 sales
  • August 2014: 2414 sales
  • August 2015: 2701 sales
  • August 2016: 2844 sales
  • August 2017: 2716 sales

August median price since 2007:

  • August 2007: $305,000
  • August 2008: $297,500
  • August 2009: $229,900
  • August 2010: $200,000
  • August 2011: $192,500
  • August 2012: $200,000
  • August 2013: $245,000
  • August 2014: $269,500
  • August 2015: $271,000
  • August 2016: $271,000
  • August 2017: $285,000

“With the improvement in the economy, people decided to enjoy their summer and the disposable income in their pockets,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “While this contributed to a slight slowdown in year-over-year sales, the market is on track and poised for a strong autumn; days on market continue to decline, and our year-to-date sales are higher than last year’s. Energy and attention is shifting to the housing market and the opportunities therein.”

Statewide market times continued to fall. It was down to 48 days from 55 days a year ago.

Total statewide inventory also continued to shrink, falling 11.4% to 60,462 from 68,240 properties a year ago.

“The uncertainty in the Illinois economy over the last two years has contributed to a dampening of housing demand in contrast to the generally positive outlook in the rest of the country,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.  “At the same time, declines in inventory are still exerting upward pressure on housing prices and thus reducing affordability.”

Last year, sales were weak in August as well and lack of inventory was to blame.

This year, it sounds like it was three things: lack of inventory, problems in the state with the budget/pensions that is dampening demand, and people enjoying their summers and buying things other than housing.

There’s no doubt inventory is low, but it had been low all year long even as sales continued to rise.

Was the sales slowdown in August just a blip that will be long forgotten in a hot fall market?

August brings higher Illinois home prices, lower sales amid tight inventory [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, September 20, 2017]

Looking for a True Mid-Century Modern Apartment? 1040 N. Lake Shore Drive in the Gold Coast

1040 n lake shore drive #1

This 2-bedroom in The Carlyle at 1040 N. Lake Shore Drive in the Gold Coast recently came on the market.

The Carlyle was built in 1964 and has 128 units.

It’s a full service building overlooking the Lake with doormen, an exercise room and an indoor rooftop pool.

This unit on the 27th floor has a 33 foot east facing balcony as well as a private west facing balcony from the master suite.

It’s being sold “as-is.”

There’s wall-to-wall carpeting throughout with floor to ceiling windows.

The unit has an eat-in kitchen with what looks to be the original cabinets as well as original fixtures like the sink, which appears to be brown in color. It has a window with lake views.

The master suite has a walk-in closet.

This unit is just 1.5 baths but the listing says “plumbing in place for addition of full second bathroom.”

In what is certainly a mid-century feature, the second bedroom appears to be completely wood paneled, including matching closet doors.

The building is 100% owner occupied.

No pets are allowed.

If you were the buyer, would you keep some of the unique mid-century modern features, like the paneling?

1040 n lake shore drive #2

Millie Rosenbloom at Baird & Warner has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #27B: 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, no square footage listed

  • There’s no prior sale going all the way back to 1989 when records became available
  • Currently listed for $965,000
  • Sold “as-is”
  • Assessments of $1819 a month (includes doorman, exercise room, pool, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $19,039
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • Parking included
  • 2 balconies, including one east facing
  • Bedroom #1: 17×17
  • Bedroom #2: 12×14
  • Dining room: 15×13
  • Living room: 25×18
  • Kitchen: 20×11



Market Conditions: Could Chicago’s Housing Market Handle Amazon’s 2nd Headquarters?

Hancock picture September 2017

Since Amazon announced it wanted to open up a second headquarters in North America, it has become like the quest to host the Olympic Games among major city (and some not-so-major) mayors and governors as they rush to put together the best “bid.”

Amazon has requirements, however (sorry Gary, Indiana, Tulsa and others hoping to bid), including:

  1. At least 1 million in population
  2. An airport with non-stops to Seattle and DC as well as international destinations
  3. Prefers an urban location with access to public transportation

It could bring as many as 50,000 jobs (not all at once, obviously) and may spend up to $5 billion building out a campus. Most of the jobs will be managerial/administrative in nature, such as tech, accounting etc. The average pay is around $100,000.

According to many urban planners, Chicago is among the forefront of those who would be bidding on it.

But could our housing market handle it?

Can we house the first couple of thousand employees who would show up to work here?

Crain’s looked at possible impacts:

  • Amazon employees would create another Bucktown, perhaps on the West Side. An influx of high-end buyers could “speed up the process that we already see in the West Loop and Fulton Market,” said Thad Wong, a co-head of real estate brokerage @properties. As North Side neighborhoods all along Milwaukee Avenue fill up, “it’s inevitable that people look west,” Wong said. With good CTA service, ample classic Chicago buildings mixed among empty land and great parks, East Garfield Park and later West Garfield Park might see a wave of rehab and renewal wash in.
  •  Anti-gentrification flareups would multiply. Seattle’s tech boom, fueled by Microsoft and other employers, not just Amazon, has made it one of the nation’s most unequal cities as measured by household income, with lower- and middle-income people moving farther out in search of affordable housing. In Chicago, where established populations have fought against gentrification in Bridgeport, Humboldt Park, Uptown and other areas, “you would see increased pressure on lower-income households and increased tension over the need for affordable housing,” said Geoff Smith, executive director at the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University.
  • Fears of an apartment downturn would dissipate. “There are thousands and thousands of new apartments being built downtown in the next few years,” said Gary Lucido, president of Lucid Realty based in West Town. With about 8,000 apartments scheduled for completion in 2017 and 2018, on top of thousands opened in the past few years, rents have been dropping to get them filled up. “In the absence of Amazon,” Lucido said, “are we facing a glut?”

The developers of the Finkl steel site, which is along the Chicago River in Lincoln Park/Bucktown, are said to be putting together a proposal involving their mixed use parcel.

Another juicy possibility, is Related’s 60-acre parcel along the south branch of the Chicago River, south of Roosevelt Road and north of Chinatown. With the Riverline development already happening just north of it, it’s inevitable that a riverwalk will extend down that entire shore line with multiple water taxi stops, shops and restaurants.

Related’s property also could incorporate Metra and possibly a Red Line stop.

There’s also talk of the Old Main Post Office in the West Loop which is awaiting renovation.

Whichever city Amazon chooses will see big impacts.

Do the pros outweigh the cons for Chicago? Or will the city who “wins” end up regretting it?

What would Amazon do to Chicago’s housing market? [Crain’s Chicago Business, by Dennis Rodkin, September 14, 2017]

Should You Restore That 1960s Vintage Kitchen? 1300 N. Astor in the Gold Coast

1300 n astor

This 1-bedroom in Astor Tower at 1300 N. Astor in the Gold Coast recently came on the market.

The listing says this is a designer-owned corner unit.

It has new porcelain tile throughout.

And instead of ripping out the original 1960s kitchen, this home owner chose to restore it instead.

Yes, those are yellow mid-century modern cabinets.

The bathroom also has the original vanity mirror with lights going all the way around it.

The unit has central air but no parking and no washer/dryer in the unit. There’s coin laundry in the building.

When should you ditch the old kitchen and when should you try and save it?

Helen Beller at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #18C: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 800 square feet

  • Sold in April 1988 for $42,000
  • Sold in November 1991 for $67,000
  • Sold in July 2000 for $164,500
  • Sold in October 2006 for $234,000
  • Currently listed for $275,000
  • Assessments of $795 a month (includes heat, doorman, cable, exercise room)
  • Taxes of $4399
  • Central Air
  • No in-unit washer/dryer (coin laundry in the building)
  • No parking
  • Bedroom: 14×12
  • Living room: 21×14


Selling That “New” Condo 5 Years Later: A 2-Bedroom at 1348 W. Diversey in Lakeview

1348 w diversey

This 2-bedroom top floor unit at 1348 W. Diversey in Lakeview came on the market in June 2017. (It’s the one on the right in the picture above.)

We chattered about this building, and its sister building next door, back in 2012 when they were under construction.

See our chatter here.

Back then, the market was still pretty sick but was in the process of bottoming. New construction condos started to be built on the north side and sold quickly, including those in both of these buildings.

If you recall, this is an all brick building.

The kitchen has dark modern cabinets, stainless steel appliances and stone counter tops.

There’s a wine fridge in the kitchen as well as a second one on the second floor landing, which leads to a private rooftop deck.

Unlike the sister building next door, there’s no pergola on the top floor of this unit but there’s city views.

The second floor also has custom cabinetry and a small office space.

The master suite bathroom has a double sink and a separate spray shower.

The unit has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and one garage space is included.

Originally listed for $599,000, it has been reduced by $14,000 to $585,000.

These condos represented the current trends of that year, with modern cabinets and wide plank floors.

How are these contemporary finishes holding up just 5 years later on the re-sale?

Jim Streff at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

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

  • Sold in December 2012 for $477,500 (per Zillow)
  • Originally listed in June 2017 for $599,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $585,000 (includes 1 car garage parking)
  • Assessments of $175 a month (includes exterior maintenance, lawn care, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $8498
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Private rooftop deck
  • Bedroom #1: 18×13
  • Bedroom #2: 10×10
  • Den: 17×8 (second floor)
  • Deck: 40×18 (second floor)



You’ll Pay $849,00 for a 3-Bedroom New Construction Penthouse in West Lakeview: 1342 W. Belmont

1342 w belmont

This 3-bedroom penthouse at 1342 W. Belmont in West Lakeview recently came on the market.

This is a new construction 6-unit building with an elevator and 1-car parking per unit.

The building also has a heated front sidewalk and security cameras throughout.

The units have 10-foot ceilings, heated floors and large front-facing terraces.

The kitchens have luxury appliances by Fisher and Paykel.

There’s porcelain tile throughout and the bathrooms have custom glass showers.

This is one of two penthouse units and has a private rooftop deck.

The new extra large Whole Foods has opened just 2 blocks away and the shops and restaurants of Southport are nearby as well.

The listing says this building is in the Burley school district.

It looks like at least 2 out of the 6 units are already under contract.

Has Lakeview reached a new price level for luxury condos?

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

Unit #4W: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed.

  • New construction
  • Currently listed for $849,000
  • Assessments of $350 a month (includes scavenger)
  • Taxes are “new”
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 14×11
  • Bedroom #2: 14×11
  • Bedroom #3: 14×10
  • Front terrace: 26×8
  • Rooftop deck: 18×14

We Love Secret Terraces: A 2-Bedroom at 1255 N. State Parkway in the Gold Coast

1255 n state parkway better

This 2-bedroom duplex in The Churchill at 1255 N. State Parkway in the Gold Coast came on the market in June 2016.

The listing says this vintage unit has been renovated.

The eat-in kitchen has white cabinets, white appliances and stone counter tops.

The 3 bathrooms are custom with marble counter tops and heated flooring.

Both bedrooms are on the second floor, but I can’t tell if they have any windows. The bathrooms appear to, but it’s not clear the bedrooms do as there aren’t any in any of the pictures.

The 3×3 laundry room is also on the second floor.

The living areas and kitchen are on the main floor along with a secret 450-square foot terrace with a custom pergola and seating.

The unit has washer/dryer in the unit and what looks like space pak cooling although the listing says central air.

The HOAs are $1592 a month but it includes almost everything but taxes.

There’s no parking with the building but there’s public lots in the neighborhood.

Originally listed for $599,000 in 2016, it has been reduced $100,000 to $499,000.

Will the price, and the unique outdoor space, finally sell this unit?

Cheryl Dyle at Re/Max Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #2E3E: 2 bedrooms, 3 baths, duplex up, 1700 square feet

  • Sold in August 1997 for $209,000
  • Sold in August 2005 for $510,000
  • Bank owned in September 2009
  • Sold in April 2010 for $295,000
  • Originally listed in June 2016 for $599,000
  • Reduced numerous times
  • Currently listed for $499,000
  • Assessments of $1592 a month (includes electric, gas, doorman, cable, exterior maintenance, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $6162
  • Central Air or Space Pak?
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • No Parking
  • Bedroom #1: 13×21 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 14×9 (second floor)
  • Laundry: 3×3 (second floor)
  • 450 square foot private terrace/deck


When Do Condo Owners Need to Put in New Kitchens? 208 W. Washington in the Loop

208 w washington

This 2-bedroom in 208 W. Washington in the Loop just came on the market (sorry for the bad picture of the building above. I didn’t realize how crappy it was!)

This building was converted into condos in 2002 so the original finishes are 15 years old.

The listing for this unit describes its complete renovation.

The kitchen now has new designer cabinetry, new granite waterfall island design, a high gloss backsplash and luxury stainless steel appliances from Dacor, Bosch. There’s also a Liebherr refrigerator.

The hardwood floors have been refinished, there’s new lighting, new wood closet doors and new light fixtures.

Both bedrooms have been fully enclosed with sound proof glass. Neither has a window.

The master suite has a double vanity. The second bathroom has also been renovated.

Both bedroom closets also have built-ins.

The unit facing south and has a balcony.

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

This unit is just 15 years old.

Is that around the time when the kitchens and baths start to look “old”? How long can you wait in a condo to start replacing them?

Crystal Tran at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Or you can see it at the Open House on September 17 from 1 PM to 3 PM.

Unit #1813: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1140 square feet

  • Sold in November 2002 for $299,500
  • Currently listed for $435,000 (includes the parking)
  • Assessments of $770 a month (includes heat, A/C, gas, cable, Internet, doorman, exercise room, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger)
  • Taxes of $5142
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 13×12
  • Bedroom #2: 12×10


Will McDonald’s Execs Want to Live in West Loop Lofts? A Penthouse at 110 N. Peoria


This 2-bedroom duplex up penthouse at 110 N. Peoria in the West Loop recently came on the market.

It’s a 2125 square foot authentic loft with exposed brick walls, soaring ceilings with steal beams and skylights.

Both bedrooms are on the second floor and have en suite baths.

There’s a half bath on the main floor along with the living room, dining room, kitchen and the massive private terrace with city views that has a built-in barbecue and planter boxes.

The kitchen has white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

The loft has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and one parking space is included that the listing says will fit 2 cars.

Listed at $999,000, are million dollar lofts going to be bought by McDonald executives?

Nancy Tassone at Jameson Sotheby’s has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #501: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2125 square feet, duplex up

  • Sold in February 1996 for $435,000 (did not include parking)
  • Sold in January 2006 for $742,000 (included the parking)
  • Sold in June 2013 for $722,500 (included the parking)
  • Currently listed for $999,000 (includes the parking)
  • Assessments of $475 a month (includes exterior maintenance, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $10,061
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 21×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 10×15 (second floor)
  • Deck: 36×22