The State of Chicago’s Condo Market

The Chicago Tribune reported on the Chicago housing market today.  The news regarding the downtown condo market isn’t all that positive.

The Chicago metropolitan region “isn’t as bad as Florida and California, ground zero in the housing recession, but we have the same problems,” said economist Diane Swonk of Mesirow Financial.

The ills ailing the new-home market here include too much speculative building and soaring mortgage default and foreclosure rates, she said.

Especially hard-hit are Chicago’s inner-city neighborhoods and growing communities like Joliet, Swonk said.

“Unfortunately, about half of the people having problems with subprime mortgage loans could have qualified for prime loans,” she said. “This reflects greed all around.”

“I worry about the second shoe falling on the downtown condo market,” Swonk added. “Chicago came late to this housing boom so there still are a lot of units in the pipeline due for delivery in the next 18 months.”

“This year will be a big test,” she said.

Housing market’s freeze deepens [Chicago Tribune]

Small 2 Bedrooms Struggling to Sell in The Fordham: 25 E Superior

The Fordham at 25 E. Superior in River North was a sensation when it originally was marketed. Slated to originally be an apartment building, it was turned into an upscale condo residence that allegedly had buyers such as Jennifer Aniston (in her Vince Vaughn days) looking there.

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The building was completed in 2002.

But in recent years, as the buzz about the building has faded and new product has come onto the market, The Fordham seems to have a bit of its shine. 

Sellers are struggling to sell the smaller 2 bedroom, 2 bath units in the building. They are only 1100 square feet and the second bedroom is small, only 11 x 10.  The living room is also narrow- only 14 x 11.

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Unit #2804: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1100 square feet

  • Sold in August 2007 for $434,500
  • Currently listed for $549,000 (parking is extra)
  • Assessments of $612 a month
  • Also available to rent for $2900 a month
  • Chezi Rafaeli at Coldwell Banker has the listing

Sorry- these other two units have NO pictures on the MLS.

Unit #1504: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1100 square feet

  • Sold in July 2006 for $550,000
  • Currently listed for $550,000 (parking is extra)
  • Assessments of $532 a month
  • Keller Williams Gold Coast has the listing

Unit #1304: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1100 square feet

  • Sold in February 2003 for $343,500
  • Currently listed for $585,000 (parking is extra)
  • Assessments of $506 a month
  • Chezi Rafaeli at Coldwell Banker has the listing

Steals and Deals: Buy in the Loop for only $200k

Yesterday, everyone was going ga-ga over the $209k foreclosure at 300 W. Grand. 

But it’s still possible to find a one bedroom condo for around $200k in the Loop where you can walk to Millennium Park and the Lake.

20 N. State in the Loop was converted from an office building in 2002.  The building is concrete lofts with exposed brick.  It is also “live/work” so there can be businesses in the building.

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There is no parking, but as City Agent has said in the past, why would you need a car if you live right in the middle of the loop within feet of several El lines and a gazillion buses?

Compared to prices at MoMo, the new high rise down the street, where a 825 square foot one bedroom lists for $325,000 and up, is 20 N. State a “deal”?

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20 N. State: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 650 square feet

  • Sold in July 2003 for $115,900
  • Currently listed for $200,000
  • Assessments are $340 a month
  • The bedroom is only 11 x 9

Charles Rutenberg Realty of IL has the listing.

Update: 550 St. Clair only 85% sold; closings in February

The developer at 550 St. Clair issued a press release a few days ago stating that “sales buck trend in Streeterville”.

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The press release states that they recently sold four units in the building, even as the housing market has stalled.  From the press release:

“Sales have rebounded now that buyers have had a chance to walk through the building and see for themselves how well designed our interiors are,” Sutherland said. “We’ve sold four units in the last week alone and we think buyers are responding to our superior design and great location.”

“Another reason that sales have been so strong is the building’s relative value to other high-end projects in the city,” said Ron Ruby, Managing Broker for Weichert Realtors First Chicago, the exclusive marketing and sales agent.

The building has 112 units. The press release states that 17 units are still for sale. That’s 85% sold.

The press release also states that closings will begin February 7. These are the units left from the developer:

• Two studios with 550 square feet of living space. Prices are $288,500 and $314,500.

• Four 1-bedroom units with 800 to 1,000 square feet of living space. Prices range from $398,500 to $443,500.

• Three 2-bedroom residences with 1,200 to 1,225 square feet of living space. Prices range from $498,500 to $598,500.

• Eight 3-bedroom and luxury penthouses with 1,675 to 3,075 square feet of living space. Prices range from $798,500 to $1,728,500.

Located on the top four floors of the building, available penthouses offer 3 bedrooms, 3 or 4 baths, amazing views and outdoor space—both balconies and terraces.

It’s not surprising that the most expensive units are still available. New penthouse condos are a dime a dozen all over the city right now. Every new building has them available, including 600 N. Fairbanks.

I also wonder how well the studios will sell (especially the flips.)  I can’t imagine someone paying $350,000 for a studio – even in that location.

We shall soon see.

“Nearly Completed, 550 St. Clair Sales Buck Trend in Streeterville” [press release]

550 St. Clair [website]

When No Dogs Are Allowed: 21 E Elm

We were discussing in the comments recently about how hard it was to find decently priced rentals if you have a dog over 25 lbs.  Those renters are at the mercy of their landlords (and price increases.)

But what about when you’re selling a condo?

More buildings than you think actually outlaw dogs (of all sizes) and some even outlaw cats.

How hard is it to sell a condo that outlaws man’s best friend?

21 E. Elm is a lovely vintage building in the heart of the Gold Coast. Built in 1914, it is only four stories and has only a handful of units.

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Unit #1C is on the market. The building doesn’t have parking. And no dogs are allowed.

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Unit  #1C: 3 bedrooms,  2.5 baths,  2200 square feet

  • Sold in October 1998 for $449,000
  • Sold in August 2004 for $650,000
  • Currently listed for $769,000
  • Assessments of $696 a month

Jan Sennott at Rubloff has the listing.

Steals and Deals: River North 1 bedroom for only $209k

A “real” one bedroom has just come on the market in an older River North loft building for only $209,900- which may or may not include the parking space. This isn’t one of those “convertibles” or junior 1 bedrooms.  It’s the real deal. 

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And the bedroom also has a window. 

This unit is already bank owned,  hence the cheap price.

300 W. Grand #504: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, about 900 square feet

  • Sold in April 1999 for $195,000
  • Sold in May 2004 for $250,000
  • Currently listed for $209,900 (includes parking)
  • Assessments of $378 a month

I have chattered about 300 W.  Grand before.  In that post,  I chattered about a 2/2 for sale in the building for under $400,000- including the parking.  That two bedroom unit is still for sale.

There are no pictures of the one bedroom, so instead I’ll post a few of the two bedroom  which will give you a feel for the units in the building.

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The one bedroom  faces south.  It does NOT face into The Silver, which is being built on the north side of the building.

The last time a unit sold for around this price was in November of 2004, when Unit #204, also a 1/1, sold for $215,000.  I don’t know if that included a parking space however.

River North one bedrooms have been selling for closer to $300,000 in recent years.   Will this set a new downward price point or is it an anomaly?

Riklin Realty has the listing.

Flipper Alert: Flippers in Zen Not Feeling So Harmonious

Zen, the new building at 225 S. Sangamon in the West Loop, is all about harmony and balance.

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Or so says the building’s website:

The central theme of Zen is an individual living life in harmony with his surroundings, having balance in his every day life and an understanding of his place within the universe, his home.

This philosophy of life has been translated into an architectural theme by the award winning architectural firm of VOA Associates. There is an intentional blurring of the distinctions between natural and man-made materials that underscore the design elements of the building.

Zen captures this subtle flair with the interplay between polished concrete and stone, tinted glass set in metal framing, and an open canopy that highlights the soaring facade. The overall effect is a building that stands gracefully in the existing architectural landscape yet emanates a truly distinctive appearance.

The building started closings a few months ago.

There are 78 units in the building and currently 6 are for sale.

These flippers, like those at 901 W. Madison, are feeling the pain.  Interestingly, none of the two bedroom listings have the square footage but they are small 2 bedroom units.  The bedrooms are only 12 x10 and 11 x 10.

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Unit #501: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths

  • Sold in January 2008 for $371,500
  • Currently listed for $389,900 plus $29,500 for parking
  • Assessments of $329 a month
  • Listing says it is a “highly upgraded unit”
  • Prudential Preferred has the listing

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Unit #406: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths

  • Sold in September 2007 for $358,500
  • Currently listed at $389,900 plus $29,500 for parking
  • Assessments of $303 a month
  • Prello Realty has the listing

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Unit #806: 2 bedroom, 2 bath

  • Sold in January 2008 for $371,500
  • Currently listed for $389,900 plus $29,500 for parking
  • Assessments of $329 a month
  • @Properties has the listing

Zen Condos at 225 S. Sangamon [website]

Steal and Deals: Get a South Loop Townhouse on the Cheap

Townhouses have become quite pricey in the South Loop.  I’ve chattered about million dollar luxury townhouses and cheaper townhouses near Printers Row.

But as more sellers get into trouble, prices are coming down on some properties. 

Thanks to the tipster who sent me the listing info on this townhouse at 1529 S. State.  This building was completed in 2001. The development consists of a 22 story highrise and some townhouse units adjacent to the highrise.  There are 143 total units.

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Sorry, I don’t have pictures of the interior of the townhouse.  But you can see the townhouse portion better here:

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TH #5: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, square footage unknown

  • Sold in June 2002 for $400,000
  • Was originally listed in September 2007 for $535,000
  • The price has been aggressively reduced
  • Currently listed at $414,000
  • Assessments of $767 a month

The listing tells the story:

SELLER IN DISTRESS! ZERO DOWN AVAILABLE, MAY HELP WITH CLOSING COST! LUXURIOUS, 3-STORY TOWNHOME IN THE HEART OF THE SOUTH LOOP. ENTERTAIN IN THE OPEN LR/DR/KIT, WARM YOUR SELF BY THE FIREPLACE, OR LOUNGE ON THE DECK.

SPACIOUS MBR FEATURES CAVERNOUS CLOSET & MBB WITH SOOTHING WHIRLPOOL TUB 3RD FLOOR LOFT WORKS WELL AS A BR/DEN/OFC & ALSO FEATURES A DECK. ALL APPLIANCES & AMENITIES ARE HIGH-END.

A 3 bedroom townhouse under $400,000 in the South Loop? Seems likely.

Realty Executives Residential has the listing.

No Housing Bubble in Chicago? 4350 N. Broadway

For the last several years many “experts” have said Chicago wasn’t in a housing bubble (as they were apparently having on both coasts where prices were running up 20% a year or more.) In Chicago, prices went up “slowly” and there was no mania.

Really?

Maybe the experts should ask the owners of condos at 4350 N. Broadway, a 10 story mid-rise building built in 2004 in the Buena Park neighborhood at Broadway and Montrose.

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One penthouse unit is going to foreclosure auction this week.

Unit #1010: not sure of the size but at least a 2 bedroom, 2 bath

  • Sold in January 2006 for $557,500
  • Sold in August 2006 for $650,000
  • Foreclosure auction price of $482,081

Better yet- skip the foreclosure auction and buy a penthouse unit just down the hall that’s owned already by the bank.

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Unit #1012: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1950 square feet

  • Sold in December 2005 for $711,000
  • Currently listed for $399,000
  • Listing states it is “sold in as-is condition. Great opportunity!”
  • Assessments of $675 a month
  • Great Street Properties has the listing

That’s a 44% price reduction.

There is one owner trying to sell the old fashioned way.

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Unit #802: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1275 square feet

  • Sold in July 2004 for $326,500
  • Listed for $300,000 (plus $25,000 for the parking)
  • Assessments of $338 a month
  • Listing says “Motivated Seller”
  • Dream Town Realty has the listing

$711,000 for a 3 bedroom penthouse in that location?

No.  There was absolutely no housing bubble in Chicago.

Flipper Alert: Flipper’s Losing Their Shirts at 901 W. Madison

Some flippers in the West Loop are finding out that flipping isn’t always instant money. 

Take Madison 901 at 901 W. Madison in the West Loop.  This new construction building by Terrapin is 148 units.  Terrapin’s website says it is 80% sold.  Closings started in the Summer of 2007.

Currently there are:

  • 9 units for sale (on the MLS- doesn’t mean that Terrapin is listing all available developer’s units on the MLS)
  • At least 5 for rent

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The flippers in the building are feeling an enormous amount of pain.

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Unit #820: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, den, 1600 square feet, southeast corner unit

  • Sold in August 2007 for $543,500
  • Currently listed for $579,000 (plus $25,000 each for two parking spaces)
  • Assessments of $533 a month
  • Joan Dim at Baird and Warner has the listing

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Unit #513: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 990 square feet

  • Sold in June 2007 for $339,500
  • Currently listed at $326,900 (parking $25,000 extra)
  • Assessments of $257 a month
  • Listing says it’s the cheapest two bedroom available in the building
  • No realtor has the listing (FSBO)

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Unit #701: 1 bedroom, 1 bath

  • Sold in July 2007 for $345,500
  • Currently listed for $284,900 (parking is $25,000 extra)
  • Assessment of $204 a month
  • Quest Realty has the listing

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Unit #703: 1 bedroom, 1 bath

  • Sold in August 2007 for $280,000
  • Currently listed at $284,900 (plus $25,000 for parking)
  • Assessment of $204 a month
  • Select a Fee has the listing

After you see numbers like these, it does make you wonder how many investors will even close on their units going forward in other condo buildings.

Madison 901 [website]