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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Looking For a Terrace With City Views? A 2-Bedroom at 303 W. Ohio in River North

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This 2-bedroom in The Silver at 303 W. Ohio in River North just came on the market.

It is unique in that it has loft-style high ceilings measuring 12 feet and a wall of south facing windows with floor to ceiling windows.

The terrace runs the length of the unit measuring 45×12 and also faces south.

The kitchen has modern cabinets with stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops.

The baths are marble.

The Silver was built in 2009 just as the bust was hitting so sales were originally slow.

But most of the units don’t have 12 foot ceilings or private terraces.

This unit has come on the market for $177,000 more than the 2009 purchase price.

Will it get the premium?

Melissa Siegal at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1204: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1306 square feet

  • Sold in October 2009 for $608,000 (included the parking)
  • Currently listed for $750,000 (plus $35,000 for parking)
  • Taxes of $6608
  • Assessments of $627 a month (includes doorman, snow removal)
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Terrace: 45×12
  • Bedroom #1: 22×15
  • Bedroom #2: 16×9
  • Den: 11×11

Is This the Hottest Building in Lincoln Park? A 2-Bedroom at 1335 W. Altgeld

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This 2-bedroom loft in the Piano Factory Lofts at 1335 W. Altgeld in Lincoln Park just came on the market.

I couldn’t find information as to when the 15-unit building was converted into lofts.

This corner unit has north and west exposures with 10 foot timber ceilings, exposed brick and antique doors.

Both bedrooms appear to have windows which is rare for lofts.

The kitchen has white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

The listing says there are 2 “brand new” baths.

The loft has the features that buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and covered parking.

This is the 4th unit that has come on the market in this building in the past 2 months.

1 of those has already closed and 2 others went under contract almost immediately.

  1. #2F: 1/1 listed in March 2015 for $335,000. Just sold for $297,500
  2. #1C: 2/2 listed in April 2015 for $450,o00. Under contract within days.
  3. #2A: 2/1.5 listed in April 2015 for $450,000. Under contract within days.
  4. #1B: 2/2 that just came on the market for $459,000

26% of the building has been listed in just the past 2 months.

Is this the hottest building in Lincoln Park?

I guess lofts aren’t dead after all.

Kathleen Knorr at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1B: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in May 2005 for $400,000 (per Redfin as the CCRD was “down” this weekend)
  • Sold in August 2008 for $360,000 (per Redfin)
  • Currently listed for $459,000
  • Assessments of $364 a month
  • Taxes of $5604
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Covered parking included
  • Bedroom #1: 20×16
  • Bedroom #2: 12×11

Do You Understand High Rise Assessments? A 2/2 at 701 S. Wells in Printers Row

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This 2-bedroom in Wells Street Tower at 701 S. Wells in the Printers Row neighborhood of the South Loop came on the market in March 2015.

Wells Street Tower was built in 2002 and was a big deal for the neighborhood at the time because it was the first new construction in/near Printers Row in decades.

It’s a full service building with 170 units and parking with a doorman and an exercise room. There’s NO pool.

This 2-bedroom unit faces east.

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

It has the highly coveted side-by-side washer/dryer.

The unit also has parking, for $25,000 extra, and central air.

The assessments are $755 a month and appear to include heat, a/c, gas, the doorman and possibly cable (as one of the listings said it did include it- but this listing does not include it.)

Are most condo high rise buyers unrealistic about the rise of assessments over a decade or more?

Leigh Marcus at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #2502: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1215 square feet

  • Sold in December 2002 for $348,000 (included the parking)
  • Originally listed in March 2015 for $365,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $325,000 (parking is $25,000 extra)
  • Assessments of $755 a month (includes heat, a/c, gas, doorman)
  • Taxes of $4221
  • Central Air
  • Side-by-side washer/dryer
  • Bedroom #1: 15×14
  • Bedroom #2: 12×11