24.3% Past Peak in River North: A 2/2 in The Sterling at 345 N. LaSalle

345 n lasalle approved

This 2-bedroom in The Sterling at 345 N. LaSalle in River North just came on the market.

The Sterling is a 389 unit building which was built originally as apartments and then converted into condos at the peak of the boom in 2007.

In many units, kitchens and baths were left unchanged from the apartment finishes.

A lot of investors bought in the building originally.

We have chattered extensively over the years about the foreclosures in the building. You can see one of the posts here.

This unit faces south and east on the curve and has had some upgrades.

The listing says it has new hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances.

The kitchen has granite counter tops and white cabinets. The listing doesn’t say the cabinets are new, so, apparently, those just must be painted.

The bathrooms appear to be original with white tile and vanities.

The listing says there’s a new washer/dryer.

The Sterling is a full amenity building with a doorman, an outdoor pool, and an exercise room.

There is no deeded parking but there is an attached garage where spaces can be rented for around $300 a month.

At $459,900, it is the most expensive unit listed in the building. However, the 2/2 directly under it, Unit #2006, is listed at the same price and is under contract.

If it sells for its list, it will close 24.3% above its 2007 selling price.

Are we only at the beginning of new cycle highs in Chicago’s housing market?

Amy Pritchard at Jameson Sotheby’s has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #2106: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1200 square feet

  • Sold in June 2007 for $370,000
  • Currently listed for $459,900
  • Assessments of $552 a month (includes heat, a/c, doorman, pool)
  • Taxes of $4184
  • Parking is leased in the building between $284 and $300 a month
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 13×10
  • Bedroom #2: 11×10


18% Appreciation in 11 Months in Old Town: A 2/2 at 1445 N. Wells


This 2-bedroom at 1445 N. Wells in Old Town just came on the market.

If it looks familiar, that’s because it was also on the market in 2014.

It last sold just 11 months ago, in June 2014.

We also chattered about it all the way back in 2008.

This building has a private elevator which opens in each unit. In 2008, most of you were obsessed with this feature.

You can see that chatter here.

This unit has 12 foot ceilings with thick crown moldings and custom features such as remote control blinds.

The kitchen has cherry cabinets and luxury appliances including Viking, Jenn-Air and Bosch.

It has central air, washer/dryer in the unit, and 1 exterior parking space.

Old Town, especially Wells Street, has been hot for years.

But this two bedroom has just come on the market for $105,000 more than it sold for 11 months ago.

That translates to $485 a square foot, up from $411 a square foot in 2014. (The 2014 listing and Zillow both say this unit is 1410 square feet. The current listing doesn’t have the square footage.)

Will this unit get the 18% premium in less than a year?

Janelle Jancaric at Rokfish Realty has the listing. It is agent owned. See the pictures here.

Unit #2: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1410 square feet

  • Sold in June 2006 for $602,500
  • Sold in July 2008 for $620,000
  • Sold in June 2014 for $580,000
  • Currently listed for $685,000
  • Assessments of $452 a month (includes snow removal)
  • Taxes of $10,079
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Includes 1-car exterior parking
  • Bedroom #1: 14×14
  • Bedroom #2: 11×10


The Hottest Building in the West Loop? A 2/2 at 130 S. Canal


This 2-bedroom at Metropolitan Place at 130 S. Canal in the West Loop came on the market in March 2015.

The building was converted into concrete lofts in 1999 and has 212 units plus a heated indoor garage.

It is across from Union Station making it the ideal location for those who need to commute.

This loft has 10-foot ceilings and an east facing balcony.

The master suite has a walk-in closet and bathroom.

The kitchen has white appliances and white cabinets.

The loft has the other features buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and parking is $25,000 extra.

There are currently 8 units on the market in the building and 3 are under contract.

10 units have also already closed in 2015.

Listed for $389,900 in March 2015, it was reduced $15,000 in early May to $374,900.

Why is this unit sitting while others are selling?

Michael Gaffney at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #517: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1350 square feet

  • Sold in April 1999 for $246,500
  • Originally listed in March 2015 for $389,900 (plus $25,000 for parking)
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $374,900 (plus $25,000 for parking)
  • Assessments of $629 a month (includes doorman, cable and internet)
  • Taxes of $4547
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 14×13
  • Bedroom #2: 13×13

Market Conditions: April Sales up 5.8% in Chicago As Inventory Remains Low

559 w surf approved

The Illinois Association of Realtors is out with April’s data. As expected, sales were up.

The city of Chicago saw sales of 2,386 homes in April 2015, up 5.8 percent from last year when 2,256 homes were sold. The median price of a home in Chicago was $275,000, up 10.0 percent over April 2014 when median price was $250,000.

Here are the sales statistics for April since 2007:

  • 2007: 2419 sales
  • 2008: 1886 sales
  • 2009: 1407 sales
  • 2010: 1984 sales
  • 2011: 1466 sales
  • 2012: 1816 sales
  • 2013: 2392 sales
  • 2014: 2256 sales
  • 2015:  2386 sales

Here are the median prices:

  • 2007: $289,800
  • 2008: $300,000
  • 2009: $218,000
  • 2010: $225,000
  • 2011: $169,000
  • 2012: $184,400 (IAR says it was $182,000 but I have $184,400 from last year’s data)
  • 2013: $223,500
  • 2014: $250,000
  • 2015: $275,000

“Throughout Illinois we are seeing tight housing inventories and this dynamic is providing encouragement for homeowners to get their property on the 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. “Demand is so high right now that buyers are willing to pay the prices that result from the decreased number of homes on the market this spring.”

The time it took to sell a home in April averaged 78 days statewide, down from 82 days a year ago. Available housing inventory remained tight with 65,568 homes for sale, a 4.8 percent decline from April 2014 when there were 68,898 homes.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central Region was 3.64 percent in April 2015, down from 3.76 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In April 2014 it averaged 4.34 percent.

“In Chicago, year-over-year sales and price gains are a clear sign that buyers are enthusiastic about making a purchase now despite a fewer number of homes available for sale,” said Hugh Rider, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and co-president of Realty & Mortgage Co. “With interest rates so low, we expect more buyers to seize the opportunity to make an investment. Homeowners who enter the market can anticipate strong sales prices as this trend has continued all year.”

With mortgage rates still near the all time low, sales red hot and prices back to peak levels (and beyond), why isn’t inventory increasing as everyone thought it would?

Illinois housing market swings into spring with higher home sales, prices in April [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, May 21, 2015]

Market Conditions: Is Chicago in Another Housing Bubble?

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Multiple bids.

Waiver of appraisal contingencies.

Offers over list price.

Waiving inspections.

Record high prices which keep climbing.

Welcome to Chicago’s 2015 spring housing market.

These conditions are no longer limited to the GreenZone. The market is this hot everywhere in the Chicago and Chicagoland housing market.

Homebuyer Maria Casillas drags her two kids from one prospective home to another, surprised to learn that most everything desirable in her price range is quickly gone. Working-class neighborhoods here are seeing bidding wars between buyers.

She’s part of a broader national trend. Even while home sales are sluggish, home prices are rising in much of the nation. Competition is heating up.

“It’s like everyone is coming out to get a house,” lamented Casillas, 33, as her fiance, David Herrera, inspected the closets of homes they both feel are too small.

Pre-approved by a lender for up to $200,000, Casillas is finding that there’s nothing of good size available in that range here. Price wars are common in high-growth, high-wealth cities such as booming San Francisco. But this is blue-collar Chicago, an exclamation point for the national trend of higher home prices.

According to the article, she is looking in the suburb of Burbank which is on the Southwest side near the Chicago Ridge Mall. It is just west of Evergreen Park.

This suburb is not a GreenZone alternative suburb that routinely gets mentioned on CribChatter such as Park Ridge, Oak Park etc.

The price trend is making housing less affordable for many Americans, who saw wages grow by just 2.6 percent since April 2014. The midpoint price for a home in the United States rose by almost 8 percent between March 2014 and March 2015. In Chicago, where Casillas is house shopping, the midpoint sales price rose by 8.8 percent in the first three months of 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Historically, home prices nationwide have averaged 3-4 percent growth annually with little risk for owners. In the mid-1990s, home prices began soaring to above 13 percent annual growth, before collapsing in 2008. It’s an open question as to whether housing reverts to historical growth rates.

“I think it’s overwhelmingly likely that’s what’s going to happen,” said Austan Goolsbee a University of Chicago economist and former top adviser to President Barack Obama.

Real-estate valuation firm Smithfield & Wainwright warns that at least 14 states and the District of Columbia may be experiencing inflated prices like those that preceded the U.S. financial crisis.

“You’re starting to get a disconnect,” David Macpherson, the company’s chief economist, said of rapidly rising prices in some markets.

His company compares home sales price data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency to the cost of renting a home or replacing one in areas across the country. When the sales price exceeds by 10 percent or more either the cost of renting or replacing a home, the valuation firm argues, it signals a potential price bubble that could burst.

Is a second housing bubble building in Chicago and the Chicagoland area?

With fewer houses on market, some areas see ominous trend in higher prices (McClatchy Washington Bureau, Kevin G. Hall, May 18, 2015)

A 1-Bedroom Vintage Beauty Built for the Rich: 3314 N. Lake Shore Drive in Lakeview

3314 n lake shore drive approved

This large 1-bedroom in the Beaux Arts building at 3314 N. Lake Shore Drive in Lakeview came on the market in April 2015.

If you’re a fan of Parisian architecture, this is the building for you.

Built in 1916, it was the first shoreline high rise apartment building constructed north of North Avenue.

It was, of course, meant for the rich.

According to “Chicago Apartments: A Century of Lakefront Luxury” when it opened, each floor contained a single unit 18-room, 5 bath apartment that rented for about $10,000 a year. Residents included all the ritzy families of Chicago at the time, including those with the names of Spiegel, Ward, Peacock and Goldblatt.

Over the years, the units were reconfigured and when the building was sold to a new owner in 1951 for under $400,000 it contained 49 apartments. Since then, units have been reconfigured so that there are now 29.

The building was converted to condominiums in 1983.

This unit is a 1500-square foot 1-bedroom with lake views.

It has a double living room and a dining room with a bay window and the original tile floor.

The unit has 10-foot ceilings and restored moldings.

There’s a wood burning fireplace in the living room as well as built-in bookcases.

The bathroom is marble.

The kitchen has white cabinets and some stainless appliances.

The unit has all the features buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and 1 covered parking spot included.

With most properties selling quickly, why isn’t this under contract?

Emily Sachs Wong at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3A: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 1500 square feet

  • Sold in June 1998 for $311,000
  • Sold in December 2010 for $404,000
  • Originally listed in April 2015 for $475,000
  • Currently still listed at $475,000
  • Assessments of $1305 a month (includes heat, a/c, water)
  • Taxes of $6698
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Covered parking included
  • Bedroom: 18×13
  • Dining room: 15×14
  • Living room: 19×30



What’s Going on in One Museum Park West? A 1-Bedroom at 1211 S. Prairie

1211 s prairie approved

This 1-bedroom in One Museum Park West at 1211 S. Prairie in the South Loop recently came on the market.

The building was constructed just as the bust hit in 2008 and 2009 but it never went rental.

This 1002 square foot unit on the 41st floor has hardwood floors and a 7×7 den.

It has the views that buyers crave in this location which is lake views to the east.

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

It also has the other features buyers look for including air conditioning, washer/dryer in the unit and 2-car parking.

One Museum Park West is a full amenity building with a doorman, clubhouse and indoor and outdoor pools.

At $499,000, this unit is listed above both the 2008 and 2011 selling prices.

Is it safe to buy again in the South Loop?

Minoo Panahi at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #4102: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 1002 square feet

  • Sold in August 2008 for $481,500
  • Sold in May 2011 for $465,000 (included 1 parking space)
  • Currently listed for $499,900 (listing says it includes 2 parking spaces)
  • Assessments of $499 a month (includes internet, cable, gas, pool, doorman, clubhouse)
  • Taxes of $6113
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 12×12
  • Den: 7×7


Back to Peak for this Jefferson Park 3-Bedroom Spanish Mediterranean: 5749 N. Manton

5749 n manton approved

This 3-bedroom vintage Spanish Mediterranean single family home at 5749 N. Manton in Jefferson Park came on the market in April 2015.

What I love about Crib Chatter is that we continually see the same properties come on the market over and over again.

We’ve actually chattered about this house twice before.

Once in 2010- and you can see our heated chatter about market conditions here. (We weren’t even close to a “bottom” yet- but some of us thought we were in 2010-2011.)

And again in 2012 when the house was in short sale. See that chatter about who would even buy a Spanish style house in Chicago here.

It finally sold as a short sale in 2013.

Now, the house is back on the market and the listing says it has been “totally rehabbed in 2014.”

It has a new kitchen with wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

The listing says its mechanicals have also been updated with a new furnace, a/c, plumbing and electric.

Built in 1926 on a corner 45×125 lot, it still has its original clay tile roof.

Strangely, this is the only Mediterranean house on the block as most of the others are traditional Chicago bungalows.

But the Mediterranean style was popular in home building in the 1920s and 1930s, especially in neighborhoods like Beverly.

The listing describes this area as “South Edgebrook” but it has usually been called Jefferson Park for real estate purposes.

In 2006, this house sold at the peak for $380,000.

It is currently listed for $395,000 after the renovations.

Is the market strong enough to get the premium in Jefferson Park?

Antonieta Groza at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

5749 N. Manton: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1349 square feet, 2 car garage

  • Sold in July 1997 for $175,000
  • Sold in August 2006 for $380,000
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in May 2010
  • Was listed in October 2010 as a “short sale” for $324,900
  • Withdrawn
  • Was listed as a “short sale” in October 2012 at $230,000
  • Sold in September 2013 for $205,000
  • Currently listed for $395,000
  • Taxes are now $4091 (they were $4832 in October 2012 and $4268 in October 2010)
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 17×11
  • Bedroom #2: 12×12
  • Bedroom #3: 12×10
  • Partially finished basement

From Peak to Foreclosure to Peak Again: A 2/2 Loft at 120 E. Cullerton in the South Loop

1910 s indiana

This 2-bedroom loft in Bank Note Place at 120 E. Cullerton (also 1910 S. Indiana) in the South Loop just came on the market.

This building is known for its unique arched terra cotta ceilings.

This loft is a southwest facing corner unit with hardwood floors, exposed brick, a fireplace and the terra cotta ceilings.

The kitchen is described as “chef quality” with maple cabinets, what looks like stainless steel counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

It has the other features buyers look for including central air, garage parking and side-by-side washer/dryer.

This loft sold near the peak of the bubble market in 2007 for $375,000.

It then became bank owned and was sold at the bottom of the market crash in 2012 for $225,000.

But prices are at, or above, peak again in most parts of the GreenZone.

It just came on the market listed at $375,000 – looks like parking may be extra at $30,000 – so that would put it above peak.

Is past peak pricing in the once overdeveloped South Loop a sign that this housing market has fully healed?

Debra Dobbs at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #405: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed, corner unit

  • Sold in December 1999 for $257,500 (included the parking)
  • Sold in October 2001 for $290,000 (included the parking)
  • Sold in January 2007 for $375,000 (included the parking)
  • Bank owned
  • Sold in July 2012 for $225,000 (included the parking)
  • Currently listed for $375,000 (parking may be $30,000 extra– but I can’t tell for sure)
  • Assessments of $429 a month (includes cable)
  • Taxes of $4941
  • Central Air
  • Side-by-side washer/dryer
  • Bedroom #1: 15×15
  • Bedroom #2: 13×10


The Million Dollar North Center Loft: A 2-Bedroom at 1800 W. Grace

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This 2-bedroom loft at 1800 W. Grace in North Center recently came on the market.

The listing calls it “New York style” with floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed brick and concrete ceilings.

There is a 60-foot terrace that runs the length of the loft.

The kitchen has modern cabinets and finishes with stainless steel appliances.

There is central air, washer/dryer in the unit and 2-car garage parking included.

This loft is listed at $995,000 which would rank it among the most expensive lofts in North Center.

At $506 a square foot, can the North Center neighborhood support this price point?

Brad Lippitz at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #508: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1965 square feet

  • Sold in May 2010 for $706,000 (included 2-car parking)
  • Currently listed at $995,000 (includes 2-car parking)
  • Assessments of $619 a month (includes cable)
  • Taxes of $11,608
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 15×12
  • Bedroom #2: 18×11
  • Terrace: 60×5