Market Conditions: Chicago Sales Drop 15.3% Year Over Year in August

Skyline with Sears Tower Nov 2010

The Illinois Association of Realtors is out with the August home sales and it comes as no surprise to those of us following the market that Chicago’s housing market cooled off at the end of the summer.

Sales were down statewide, in the 9-county Chicagoland area and in the City of Chicago. It was the largest decline in sales in Chicago since 2011.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

The city of Chicago saw a 15.3 percent year-over-year decrease in home sales in August 2014 with 2,414 sales, down from 2,850 in August 2013. The median price rose to $270,000 versus $245,000 in August 2013, an annual increase of 10.2 percent.

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 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: $270,000

The IAR blamed “tighter housing inventory and credit availability” for the slide in sales.

“August rounded out the typically hot summer market with a trend we’ve seen all year. Chicago buyers have fewer homes to choose from yet are finding their desired house in a shorter amount of time,” said Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner of Urban Real Estate. “Median home prices are flourishing as a result of these focused buyers presenting their best offer despite the low inventory.”

But is inventory actually lower than last year- when it was also pretty awful? Last year’s IAR press release for August also talked about tight inventories.

And there is no indication that credit availability is any more difficult than it was 12 months ago.

Mortgage rates were actually lower this year than last, averaging 4.1% compared to 4.4% a year ago. If anything, that should have spurred the market, not depressed it. In August 2013 everyone was worried about rising rates.

Sales have been lower year over year every month this year in Chicago except one.

What’s causing the cooling in the housing market in 2014?

Illinois median home prices increase 6.1 percent in August; Home sales down amid tight inventory [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, September 22, 2014]

Paying $800,000 to Live on Ashland: A 3/3 at 1309 N. Ashland in Wicker Park

1309 n ashland

This 3-bedroom at 1309 N. Ashland in Wicker Park came on the market in June 2014.

This building is the former Polish Women’s Alliance building and used to be a theater. It is part of the “Polish Downtown” or “Polish Triangle” that was the headquarters of the Polish community in the late 1800s through about 1950 in Wicker Park anchored by Milwaukee, Ashland and Division.

The building was converted into 7 condos at the height of the housing bubble in 2006.

This unit has 22-foot high ceilings with a spiral staircase that leads to a large lofted space.

The kitchen has modern cabinets, Subzero and Miele appliances and Carrera quartz counter tops.

It has dark stained floors and 2 balconies.

The unit appears to look out the back of the building (and NOT Ashland.)

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

It’s also just two blocks away from the Division Blue line El stop and near the hot Milwaukee/Division restaurant corridor.

After selling from the developer in 2006 for $700,000, it has come on the market in 2014 at $799,900.

Before you say “no way” on the price- it’s “sister” unit, #303, also a 3/3 with similar finishes, just came on the market at $825,000. It has the same pictures and the same realtor.

Is $800,000 the new reality, even on Ashland, for hot Bucktown?

Carrie McCormick at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #302: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in November 2006 for $700,000
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in October 2009
  • Bank owned in June 2012
  • Sold in August 2012 for $360,000
  • Listed in July 2014 for $799,900
  • Currently still listed at $799,900
  • Assessments of $291 a month
  • Taxes of $11,477
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Garage parking
  • Bedroom #1: 16×15
  • Bedroom #2: 13×13
  • Bedroom #3: 16×10
  • Loft: 25×20

 

 

 

We Love Authentic Lofts: Get 3500 Square Feet in Printers Row at 727 S. Dearborn

727 s dearborn approved #1

This 2-bedroom brick and concrete loft in the Donohue Annex at 727 S. Dearborn in Printers Row came on the market in April 2014.

We’ve chattered about the Annex several times before. It’s the southern most part of the Donohue loft building.

Built in 1883, the Annex has 10.5 foot concrete ceilings (not timber like in the other part of the Donohue) and it still has one of the original building elevators.

The Donohue was one of the first original loft conversion condo buildings in the city.

This unit is a massive 3500 square foot southwest corner unit with city views.

It has floor to ceiling windows and a wide open living/dining and kitchen space.

The kitchen has terracotta floors with a large kitchen island and wine fridge. It has Subzero appliances.

There’s a circular library and one of the bathrooms has a claw foot tub (check out the pictures.)

It is a live/work space so there are some at-home businesses in the building as well as just some businesses (which is why there are desks in the pictures with this unit.)

There’s a washer/dryer hook-up in the unit, central air but no parking. There is leased parking nearby or some buy parking in the Plymouth building across the street.

The listing says it’s in the South Loop Elementary school district.

Since April, it has reduced $46,000 to $849,000.

Who has the vision to turn this loft into their dream home?

Jennifer Ames at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #812: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 3500 square feet

  • Sold in July 1991 for $380,000
  • Sold in October 1999 for $475,000
  • Sold in July 2000 for $562,000
  • Sold in July 2003 for $718,000
  • Originally listed in April 2014 for $895,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $849,000
  • Assessments of $1801 a month (includes heat, cable)
  • Taxes of $10,998
  • No parking- leased for $200 a month in the neighborhood
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer hook-ups in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 14×26
  • Bedroom #2: 10×14

 

Are 3-Bedroom Townhouses Still Hot? 1301 W. George in Lakeview

1301 w george

This 3-bedroom townhouse at 1301 W. George in Lakeview came on the market in June 2014.

While it is a townhouse  in a 16-unit association, it has features of a loft with exposed brick, large industrial windows, and a den/loft on the third floor that overlooks the master bedroom on the second floor.

The second bedroom is also on the second floor with the third bedroom in the basement with its own bathroom. The listing says this could be used as a family room or is “ideal” for a live-in relative.

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

It has two outdoor spaces: a private side yard and a private roof top deck with city views.

The townhouse also has a rare side-by-side 2-car parking in a heated garage.

It has been on and off the market all summer with no price reductions and recently was re-listed at the same price as it was listed for in August.

3-bedroom townhouses at all price points have been the holy grail in the Green Zone since the Great Recession as buyers realized they could live longer in a larger property if their family expanded.

Are 3-bedroom townhouses still hot?

Craig Easly at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

1301 W. George: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2400 square feet, 2 car parking

  • Sold in October 1997 for $331,500
  • Sold in February 2000 for $430,000
  • Sold in November 2002 for $520,000
  • Originally listed in June 2014 for $589,000
  • Withdrew in July
  • Re-listed in July 2014 for $629,000
  • Withdrew in August
  • Re-listed in September 2014 for $629,000
  • Assessments of $80 a month (includes water, snow removal)
  • Fee simple
  • Taxes of $7902
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 15×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 10×7 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 15×12 (lower level)
  • Den/loft: 21×12 (third floor)
  • Rooftop deck

Live Above the Store Fronts for $700,000 in Wicker Park: 1373 N. Milwaukee

1373 N Milwaukee

Six new construction condos above the store fronts at 1373 – 1375 N. Milwaukee in Wicker Park came on the market in August 2014.

We’ve chattered about other condos above the storefronts on Milwaukee in years past but they were closer to the Damen El stop.

These new units are on the “other” end of Milwaukee, closer to the Division El stop, or the “Polonia Triangle” as the map says. Bucktown was once a prominent Polish neighborhood.

The units will have luxury finishes including Italian kitchen cabinets, quartz counters and stainless steel appliances.

There is exposed brick and white oak floors throughout (light wood floors are back “in” again).

The units will have central air, washer/dryer in the units and 1-car garage parking.

The large 2000 square foot 3-bedroom units are listed as high as $699,900.

Before you say “no way” about the price in this location – almost across the street from this development is a totally new construction condo building priced at similar price points. Some of those units are already under contract.

Has Milwaukee in Wicker Park replaced Wells in Old Town as the hottest street in the city?

Ivona Kutermankiewicz at Berkshire KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2000 square feet, 1 car parking

  • Currently listed at $699,900
  • Other units listed from the low $300,000s (possibly without a parking space, although I can’t tell for sure) to the mid-$600,000s
  • Assessments of $200 a month
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 12×21
  • Bedroom #2: 10×13
  • Bedroom #3: 10×12

 

Looking for that Green Zone 3-Bedroom? 1523 N. Wicker Park in Wicker Park

1523 N Wicker Park

This top floor 3-bedroom at 1523 N. Wicker Park in Wicker Park came on the market in August 2014.

At 1750 square feet, it has hardwood floors throughout.

The kitchen has stainless steel appliances and cherry cabinets.

The master bathroom is marble.

It has the features buyers look for like central air, washer dryer in the unit and it has not just one, but 2-car gated parking.

There’s no doubt that this property is IN Wicker Park as it sits directly across the street from the park and is around the corner from some of the areas most popular stores and restaurants, including Big Star. You could almost roll out of bed and be on the Blue line at the Damen El stop as well.

This is one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city with restaurant bigwigs vying for space on Milwaukee and Damen and new restaurants being announced almost monthly.

It is listed for $539,000 or over $100,000 more than its 2005 sale at $424,5000.

Is over $500,000 the new reality for 3-bedrooms in the Green Zone?

Sean Glascott at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1750 square feet, 2 car parking

  • Sold in August 2005 for $424,500
  • Currently listed for $539,000 (parking included)
  • Assessments of $250 a month
  • Taxes of $5558
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 14×12
  • Bedroom #2: 10×10
  • Bedroom #3: 11×8
  • Den: 10×6

 

 

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