Is the GreenZone in a Bubble? 62% Appreciation in 3 Years at 2722 N. Wilton in Lincoln Park

We last chattered about this 4-bedroom single family home at 2722 N. Wilton in Lincoln Park in August 2011.

See our prior chatter here.

At that time it was one of the few Lincoln Park single family homes to be on the market for $500,000 or less.

The catch?

The brown, purple, red line El tracks were directly behind the house.

If you recall, the house is built on a 25×75 lot, has a 1 car garage but there is space in the back underneath the tracks for 4 additional outdoor parking spots.

The kitchen has been redone with some new white cabinets, granite counter tops and sink. The kitchen window was also covered by cabinets (see the before kitchen in the prior chatter.) Is this a smart move- to remove a window?

It has a fully finished basement with a wine fridge which was also there in the 2011 sale.

From the prior listing pictures it appears that there was bathroom renovation work as well.

3 bedrooms are on the second floor with a den or office on the main level. In this listing, the den is called a bedroom. In 2011, it was only a 3 bedroom home.

It has central air.

In 2011, the house went under contract in just a few days and sold just under asking at $492,500.

3 years later it is back on the market asking $799,000.

Is another bubble brewing in the GreenZone?

April Frazer at Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Or see it at the Open House this Sunday, April 6, from 11 am- 1pm.

2722 N. Wilton: 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2800 square feet, 1 car garage

  • Sold in September 1996 for $165,000
  • Sold in August 1997 for $330,000
  • Sold in June 2005 for $525,000
  • Sold in November 2011 for $492,500
  • Currently listed for $799,000
  • Taxes were $9985 in 2011 and are now $10,990
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 20×18 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 11×12 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 10×9 (third floor)
  • Den/office: 7×14 (main floor)

1870s Farmhouse Turned Contemporary SFH Still on the Market: 2734 N. Marshfield in Lincoln Park

This 2-bedroom farmhouse at 2734 N. Marshfield in Lincoln Park came on the market in September 2013.

See our prior chatter here.

If you recall, the farmhouse was built in 1870 but has been transformed into a contemporary loft-like space inside with a floating staircase.

It has floor to ceiling windows in the back of the house which look out onto the 25×127 lot.

The master bedroom is on the second level with the second bedroom on the first level.

The kitchen has stainless steel appliances and butcher block counter tops. (Is that a small size refrigerator tucked next to the stove?)

It has all the other features buyers look for including central air and a 2-car garage.

It came on the market just after the hot spring/summer selling season and after mortgage rates rose.

Listed last year for $599,000 it still remains priced at $599,000.

What will it take to sell this house in 2014’s spring market?

Emily Sachs Wong at Koenig & Strey Real Living still has the listing. See the pictures here.

2734 N. Marshfield: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed, 2 car garage
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  • Sold in January 1988 for $91,000
  • Was listed in September 2013 for $599,000
  • Still listed for $599,000
  • Taxes of $7216
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 19×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 6×15 (main floor)
  • Family room: 10×12 (main floor)


2-Bedroom North Center Cottage Back On the Market 4 Years Later: 3041 N. Honore

This 2-bedroom vintage cottage at 3041 N. Honore in North Center just came on the market.

If it looks familiar, it’s because we last chattered about it in 2010.

See our August 2010 chatter here.

When it sold that August, there was an interesting discussion in the comments about the overall market conditions and FHA loans.

Built in 1898 on a 15×118 lot, it has a fully enclosed backyard but no garage or parking as the house abuts the Metra tracks in the back.

The kitchen has white cabinets and white appliances with a tile backsplash.

The second floor has 2 bedrooms and a full bath with skylights.

The house has central air and a basement, but it’s unfinished.

The 2010 seller saw 22.5% appreciation on the 2003 purchase price despite the Great Recession.

This seller has listed it 17.8% above the 2010 price, at $444,000.

Is the market hot enough to support the price hike?

Nunzio Castellano at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

3041 N. Honore: 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, 1092 square feet
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  • Sold in February 1997 for $102,500
  • Sold in June 2003 for $310,000
  • Was listed in June 2010 for $379,900
  • Sold in August 2010 for $377,000
  • Currently listed for $444,000
  • Taxes now $6227 (they were $4446 in August 2010)
  • Central Air
  • No parking
  • Bedroom #1: 11×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 10×13 (second floor)


Market Conditions: IAR Blames the Weather for February Housing Slowdown

The February sales data is finally out and mirroring what is happening in the rest of the country, sales fell year over year.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

The city of Chicago saw a 3.5 percent year-over-year home sales decline in February 2014 with 1,361 sales, down from 1,411 in February 2013. The median price rose to $175,000 versus $156,050 in February 2013, an annual increase of 12.1 percent.

Here is the sales data for February going back to 1997 (courtesy of G). It is slightly different from the IAR’s data:
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  • 1997: 881 sales
  • 1998: 991
  • 2000: 1383
  • 2001: 1151
  • 2002: 1677
  • 2003: 1566
  • 2004: 1814
  • 2005: 2228
  • 2006: 1855
  • 2007: 1703
  • 2008: 1454
  • 2009: 870
  • 2010: 1257
  • 2011: 1092
  • 2012: 1250
  • 2013: 1378 (1411 per IAR)
  • 2014: 1361 (IAR data)

Here is the Median Price Data also going back to 1997 (thanks G!):
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  • 1997: $117,000
  • 1998: $132,000
  • 1999: $143,750
  • 2000: $161,500
  • 2001: $180,200
  • 2002: $212,000
  • 2003: $215,000
  • 2004: $229,900
  • 2005: $268,900
  • 2006: $267,500
  • 2007: $270,000
  • 2008: $290,000
  • 2009: $218,125 (with 31% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2010: $176,000 (with 46% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2011: $150,250 (with 50% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2012: $140,300 (with 52% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2013: $158,000
  • 2014 $175,000 (IAR data)

The Condo/Townhouse sales data since 2008 (thanks to G again):
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  • 2008: 1087 sales, median price of $314,900
  • 2009: 451 sales, median price of $280,000 (with 18% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2010: 660 sales, median price of $250,000 (with 33% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2011: 604 sales, median price at $193,500 (with 46% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2012: 692 sales, median price at $165,250 (with 50% being REO/Short Sales)
  • 2013: 779 sales, median price at $200,000
  • 2014: Not separated out by IAR this year

“February’s weather was not anymore welcoming to buyers than January in Chicago. People do not want to go shopping for homes in unseasonably cold weather,” said Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner of Urban Real Estate.

“Buyers are, however, ready to move and as homes come on the market, they are aggressively making their best offers. Median pricing is up, signaling a strong market on the rise.  As sellers get their homes show-ready for a spring market, we believe these homes, too, will move quickly, if priced right,” Farrell added.

“The combination of increasing median prices and mixed signals from sales continued in February,” noted Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois.  “Clearly, the dismal, persistent winter weather dampened enthusiasm for the housing market in early 2014; however, the forecast for month-to month-sales indicates positive trends for the next three months.”

The press release didn’t address affordability even though mortgage rates and median price were significantly higher year over year.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 4.32 percent in February 2014, down from 4.46 percent in January, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In February 2013 it averaged 3.49 percent.

The 10-year is also on the move again which means mortgage rates could be volatile over the next several months.

Will April be a hot month in Chicago’s housing market once the weather breaks?

Or is this slowdown here to stay in 2014?

Weather and lower inventory impact February; Illinois home sales but median prices see annual gain [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, March 20,2 014]

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]