Full Floor Beaux Arts Beauty on Lincoln Park Returns to the Market: 2344 N. Lincoln Park West

We’ve chattered about this full floor 5-bedroom at 2344 N. Lincoln Park West several times over the last 2 years.

See our May 2013 chatter here.

It’s still available and has returned to the market.

Built in 1916, it commands the entire floor of a 6-unit building with 4 exposures, including Lincoln Park and the lake front.

The building has an elevator and there is rare 2-car parking with the unit.

It has the features you would expect from construction in this era including crown molding and wainscoting.

The unit has a 35 foot foyer and a formal dining room.

It also has space pak cooling and a washer/dryer in the unit.

Originally listed at $2.8 million in 2012, it has been reduced to $2.15 million.

Many of you thought it would sell for around $2 million.

With low inventory, is 2014 the year it sells?

Michael Shenfeld at Koenig & Strey Real Living has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3: 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, 4250 square feet, 2 car parking
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  • I couldn’t find a prior sales price
  • Was listed in March 2012 for $2.8 million
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in October 2012 at $2.6 million
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in May 2013 at $2.25 million
  • Withdrawn
  • Re-listed in February 2014 at $2.15 million
  • Assessments are still $1890 a month (includes heat)
  • Taxes are now $25,837 (they were $20,594 in May 2013 and $17398 in October 2012)
  • Space pak cooling
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 19×14
  • Bedroom #2: 13×13
  • Bedroom #3: 14×11
  • Bedroom #4: 16×13
  • Bedroom #5: 11×10


East Lincoln Park Vintage 3-Bedroom Returns to Try Again: 2337 N. Commonwealth

We last chattered about this vintage 3-bedroom at 2337 N. Commonwealth in East Lincoln Park in April 2013.

See our prior chatter here.

If you recall, this is a top floor unit in an elevator building.

It has the original hardwood floors and plaster moldings.

The kitchen has cherry cabinets and stainless steel appliances with a large kitchen island.

In the pictures, there is a smaller, two person, table and chairs in the kitchen but there is also another room which is open to the kitchen with draperies and a baby’s room.

The listing calls this room the third bedroom (or den). See the floorplan.

The unit has an in-unit washer/dryer but there is no central air (it is window units only) and there is no deeded parking. It is leased across the street.

The listing says this unit is in the Lincoln school district.

Listed at $574,900 last spring, it has come back on just about $10,000 cheaper.

With inventory lower than last year, will this unit sell in 2014?

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

Unit #5E: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1800 square feet
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  • Sold in December 1990 for $190,000
  • Sold in June 1996 for $212,000
  • Sold in February 2006 for $555,000
  • Was listed in April 2013 at $574,900
  • Withdrawn
  • Currently listed for $565,000
  • Assessments now $624 a month (they were $600 a month in 2013) – includes heat and cable
  • Taxes now $6433 (they were $6809 in 2013)
  • No central air- window units
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Parking available for lease across the street
  • Bedroom #1: 16×11
  • Bedroom #2: 16×11
  • Bedroom #3: 12×9
  • Kitchen: 16×9


Two Years Later This Southport 2-Bedroom Returns to Try Again: 1304 W. Cornelia

We’ve chattered about this 2-bedroom vintage unit at 1304 W. Cornelia in Southport several times over the last few years.

It was first listed in 2011, just 14 months after its previous sale, but was withdrawn without a sale.

It then came back on the market in 2012 at a reduced price but again failed to sell.

You can see our 2012 chatter here.

If you recall, the second floor unit has the amenities buyers are looking for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and garage parking.

The unit has some of its vintage features intact including hardwood floors throughout and a built-in hutch in the dining room.

The kitchen has granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and 42 inch cabinets.

It’s in a prime location, within close walking distance to the shops and restaurants on Southport as well as the Southport Brown Line stop.

The market has changed since 2012 and is now favoring the sellers.

Will the third time finally be the charm?

Richard Goodman at @Properties now has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #2: 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, 1200 square feet
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  • Sold in September 2006 for $360,000
  • Sold in July 2010 for $350,000
  • Originally listed on September 5, 2011 for $374,250
  • Price was changed on September 13, 2011 to $349,250 (now with $25,000 for the parking which is still $374,250)
  • Delisted in November 2011
  • Was listed in July 2012 at $339,000 (parking included)
  • Withdrawn in 2012
  • Currently listed at $344,900 (parking included)
  • Assessments still $150 a month
  • Taxes still $5098
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 13×10
  • Bedroom #2: 10×9


Market Conditions: Are the Accidental Landlords Going to Try and Get Out in 2014?

We’ve chattered a lot about the “accidental landlords” in Chicago, especially on 1/1 and 2/2 condos that they couldn’t sell for a profit during the bust so they decided to rent them out instead.

Crain’s is reporting that some of them might want out of the landlord game.

Condominium owners are getting the itch, too. Fulton Grace Realty, which leases and manages condominiums for owners who have moved, is getting more inquiries from clients who want to sell, said President T.J. Rubin. The firm leases about 600 condos.

So far this year, Mr. Rubin said, the owners of 15 percent to 20 percent of those condos “are looking into selling now,” and at least 50 percent have requested market analyses “to see if the market can support their price yet.” Both figures are double what they were a year ago, Mr. Rubin said.

“Each month we get 20 new units and lose five” to the for-sale market, Mr. Rubin said. “We weren’t shedding them like that until this year.”

Most of his clients were first-time condo owners who for a variety of reasons — job change, marriage, new baby — needed to move but owed more on their mortgages than their condos were worth or were otherwise unable to sell, Mr. Rubin said. Fulton Grace, based in Lakeview, also handles condo sales, although clients are free to list their units with another firm.

“If they say their goal is just to break even and get out of it, I advise them to sell, but if their goal is to sell when they can make 10 percent, I tell them they might as well keep it rented for a few more years,” Mr. Rubin said.

Yet being landlord carries costs, too, whether it’s a rising property tax bill or dealing with a difficult tenant who calls in the middle of the night to complain about a broken furnace. Factor in hassles like that, and selling is an easy decision for some.

Is this the year we will see a rush of condos come on the market to try and take advantage of higher prices?

And if they do, will this have any impact on pricing?

With home prices rising, accidental landlords consider selling [Crain's Chicago Business, Dennis Rodkin, March 6, 2014]

What Will You Pay For a 3-Bedroom Lakeview SFH? 1738 W. Newport

This 3-bedroom single family home at 1738 W. Newport in Lakeview came on the market in early February 2014.

If it looks familiar, it’s because we chattered about it the last time it was on the market which was less than 2 years ago, in June 2012.

See our previous chatter on it here.

The new listing says it has had “extensive 2013 renovations” which included a new kitchen, hardwood floors, electric, closets, and carpet.

The kitchen now has dark cabinets, stainless steel appliances and stone counter tops with a tile backsplash.

The house has 2 bedrooms and a bath on the second level. The third bedroom is on the first level and the listing says it is being used as a den.

The basement is accessible only from the outside.

Built on an irregular Chicago lot measuring 30×115, the house is set back from the street so it has a large front yard but it does have a 1-car garage.

The house has central air.

It last sold in September 2012 for $447,500.

The house came back on the market last month at $595,000 but has been reduced several times and is now listed at $565,000.

With limited inventory, especially for single family homes in this price range, will this house sell for over $500,000?

Wayne Gurowsky at Prudential Rubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

1738 W. Newport: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed, 1 car garage
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  • Sold in November 1989 for $170,000
  • Sold in September 1990 for $176,500
  • Originally listed in April 2012 for $529,900
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in June 2012 for $519,900
  • Sold in September 2012 for $447,500
  • Originally listed in February 2014 for $595,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $565,000
  • Taxes are $9093 (They were $7631 in 2012)
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 14×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 10×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 9×11 (main floor)- used as a den


Market Conditions: Weather Is Blamed For January’s Weak Home Sales

We already knew January was weak but the official Illinois Association of Realtors numbers are out today.

January sales fell 9.1% year over year but last year was the highest in 6 years.

“The city of Chicago saw a 9.1 percent year-over-year home sales decline in January 2014 with 1,383 sales, down from 1,521 in January 2013. The median price also rose to $200,750 versus $157,000 in January 2013, an impressive 27.9 percent annual increase.”

Sales data since 2006 (thanks to G):
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  • January 2006: 2009 sales and median price of $258,000
  • January 2007: 1850 sales and median price of $279,900
  • January 2008: 1203 sales and median price of $290,000
  • January 2009: 918 sales and median price of $205,000
  • January 2010: 1237 sales and median price of $195,000
  • January 2011: 1034 sales and median price of $150,000
  • January 2012: 1093 sales and median price of $149,000 (not sure why IAR has 1123 sales for last year)
  • January 2013: 1521 sales and median price of $157,000
  • January 2014: 1383 sales and median price of $200,750

“January’s activity is fairly typical for this time of year,” said Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner of Urban Real Estate. “A brutal winter doesn’t typically encourage home shopping fever in Chicago, and with inventory down  25 percent, the homes that did sell produced well above the median price by almost 28 percent to just over $200,000.”

“Investor opportunities and first-time homebuyers are still finding deals in a market that we might not see again for years to come,” Farrell added.

“Severe winter weather and seasonal trends definitely affected sales in January,” said Phil Chiles, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and Broker-Associate with The Real Estate Group in Springfield. “Despite diminished traffic from buyers, prices remained robust and indications are that they will continue to show strength as we enter the spring selling season.”

A couple of things are interesting about this report:

1. The jump in the median price is a red herring. All it means is that the middle class buyer has taken himself out of the game. The rich are still purchasing those $1.5 million new construction homes in Southport so it’s pushing up the median.

2. How can it be the weather? If you closed in January, you went under contract in November or December. While December’s weather wasn’t great, it wasn’t awful either. There were no polar vortices in December.

Mortgage applications continue to be way below seasonal norms. Historically, March sees the largest spike in mortgage applications for the year. The next 5 weeks will tell us how the spring home buying season will be.

Inventory continues to be low. Will that change when spring finally gets here?

Severe winter weather cools January home sales but median prices continue year-over-year march upward [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, February 21, 2014]


You Can Buy a 3-Bedroom SFH in Lincoln Park for Just $750,000: 2652 N. Seminary

This 3-bedroom single family house at 2652 N. Seminary in Lincoln Park just came on the market.

Built in 1891, it is a Victorian on the outside but a contemporary home on the inside.

It is also on an extra long 24×131 lot with a 2 1/2 car garage.

The master suite takes up the third floor with the two other bedrooms on the second floor.

It has skylights and central air.

It is currently listed for $750,000, which is the price for many townhouses and duplex downs in the same neighborhood.

In case you’re wondering, it is NOT on the El line.

Is this a deal?

Or is it priced to bring about a bidding war?

(This listing just came on the market 4 days ago. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it “pending” today so don’t write me saying, “Sabrina, it’s already pending. Yeah- things that are priced right are pending within days given the low inventory.)

Steven Sims at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

2652 N. Seminary: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, no square footage listed, 2.5 car garage
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  • Sold in May 2000 for $540,000
  • Sold in January 2003 for $710,000
  • Currently listed for $750,000
  • Taxes of $8374
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 15×12 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 13×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 12×11 (second floor)


Market Conditions: December Home Sales Rise 12.5% in Chicago YOY

It’s that time of the month again. December was another solid sales month for Chicago.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

The city of Chicago saw a 12.5 percent year-over-year home sales increase in December 2013 with 2,080 sales, up from 1,849 in December 2012. The year-end 2013 home sales totaled 27,155, up 21.2 percent from 22,397 home sales in 2012. 

The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in December 2013 was $210,000 up 13.5 percent compared to December 2012 when it was $185,000. The year-end 2013 median price reached $220,000, up 18.9 percent from $185,000 in 2012.

Here is the data going back 9 years:
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  • December 2004: 3,719 sales and median price of $267,000
  • December 2005: 2,847 sales and median price of $283,000
  • December 2006: 2,241 sales and median price of $279,000
  • December 2007: 1,629 sales and median price of $287,000
  • December 2008: 1,263 sales and median price of $235,000
  • December 2009: 1,820 sales and median price of $208,000 (34% short/REO sales)
  • December 2010: 1,475 sales and median price of $166,000 (43% short/REO sales)
  • December 2011: 1,536 sales and median price of $156,000 (44% short/REO sales)
  • December 2012: 1806 sales and median price of $185,000 (39.7% short/REO sales- according to Gary Lucido’s data)
  • December 2012: 2080 sales and median price of $210,000


“A surplus of pent-up buyers helped move the market in 2013,” said Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner of Urban Real Estate. “Motivated sellers, paired with attractive interest rates and a sense of a more stable economic climate, helped close deals that might have otherwise not come to the table. The return of the jumbo loan allowed for move-up buyers to buy their next home as a delayed recovery can be in part attributed to the $417,000 federally-backed loan limit and no other jumbo loan options,” Farrell added.

 “This year will likely bring stabilization in housing prices.  Keys to keeping Chicago affordable and attainable to even the most credit-prepared buyers includes the necessity for our industry to continue to push for increased federally-backed loan limits, so that those trying to purchase in our city can do so without being priced out of their next home,” noted Farrell.

Is the continuation of the housing recovery really predicated on pushing for “increased federally-backed loan limits”?

Does anyone think the $417,000 level is going to come back?

Is a 10% or 20% down payment really that much of an impediment?

Illinois home sales climb again in December; 2013 marks a strong year of housing recovery [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, January 23, 2014]

Will These Lincoln Park Condos Make Way for Luxury Apartments? 2518 N. Lincoln

We’ve chattered about this building at 2518-2540 N. Lincoln in Lincoln Park before.

Many of you who have traveled on the Red, Brown or Purple line also would recognize the back of the building- because it’s the building with the infamous roof top tennis courts (that I’ve never seen anyone EVER playing tennis on.)

Crain’s is reporting that a developer wants to buy out the condo owners, tear down the building, and build a luxury apartment building in its place.

From Crain’s:

Mr. Baker, president of Chicago-based Baker Development Corp., said he has signed contracts to buy all the condos in Lincoln Centre, 2518-2540 N. Lincoln Ave., but declined to say how much he’s paying for them. A Baker venture already owns the retail space in the building, best known for an on-site tennis court that abuts the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line.

After razing the building, Mr. Baker said he would build 225 luxury apartments, 16,000 square feet of retail space and a 200-slot garage. The development, which would rise to 12 stories at its tallest, would cost around $80 million.

Mr. Baker said the property is unsightly and needs to come down, pushing owners to agree to move on.

“People are ready to sell,” he said.

He said the development could revitalize Lincoln Avenue, parts of which have struggled to draw in retail tenants that are choosing the Clybourn Corridor for new stores.

The project is “going to be a game-changer for turning around a street that has been in decline for so long,” Mr. Baker said. Fifty of the parking slots in the garage will be dedicated for public use, which should help draw in new retail tenants, he added.

Mr. Baker introduced the project to Lincoln Park residents Jan. 13, laying out his plans to the Wrightwood Neighbors Association.

According to Crain’s, Alderman Smith had no details about the proposal and declined to comment.

This is the second possible large scale condo building in Lincoln Park that is looking to go back to apartments (or sell out to an investor who will build apartments) we’ve chattered about in the last 6 months.

If the developer does have all the owners on board, does this project have any chance of getting off the ground?

Also, is anyone else surprised that all these condo owners are so eager to sell?

Here’s a picture of the back side of the building, taken from the other side of the El tracks.

2518 n lincoln back side

Developer plans 225-unit apartment building in Lincoln Park [Crain's Chicago Business, Micah Maidenberg, January 13, 2014]

Will the Reduction in FHA Loan Limits Impact Condo Sales? 645 N. Kingsbury in River North

This 2-bedroom in Admirals Pointe at 645 N. Kingsbury in River North came on the market at the end of November 2013.

It was bank owned in 2013 and has been renovated.

The unit, with south, west and city views, has new dark hardwood floors and ceiling fans.

It also has a new kitchen with dark cabinetry, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and a glass tile backsplash.

There is only one picture of a bathroom and it appears to be the original bath.

Other 2013 listings in the building touted Admiral’s Pointe as being “FHA approved.”

In 2013, the FHA loan limit was $417,000 which most of the 2/2s, which were selling in the $300,000s, in the building would have qualified for.

But in 2014, the FHA loan limit has fallen to $365,700 in Chicago.

This unit is listed at $439,900, which was still above the old loan limit, but not by much. (There’s always room for negotiation.)

But in 2014, it is WELL above the FHA loan limit.

Unless it is significantly reduced, it’s not falling under the limit.

Will the reduction in the loan limits hit sales of these $400,000 2/2s hard in FHA approved buildings?

Thomas Besore at Streeterville Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1902: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1225 square feet
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  • Sold in March 2002 for $362,500
  • Sold in March 2006 for $390,000
  • Sold in August 2010 for $295,000
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in March 2012
  • Bank owned
  • Sold in June 2013 for $265,000
  • Originally listed in November 2013 for $439,900
  • Currently still listed for $439,900
  • Assessments of $716 a month (includes a/c, gas, cable, doorman)
  • Taxes of $5183
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • No parking included
  • Bedroom #1: 13×12
  • Bedroom #2: 13×12