Market Conditions: Was Tight Inventory the Reason Sales Fell 4% in February YOY?

Statue of Abe Lincoln in Lincoln Park

The Illinois Association of Realtors is out with the February 2017 home sales.

Tight inventory has been an issue at price points under $1 million.

According to the IAR, home sales fell year over year even with the best winter weather ever.

The city of Chicago saw a 4.0 percent year-over-year home sales decrease in February 2017 with 1,505 sales, down from 1,567 in February 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in February 2017 was $246,000, up 4.2 percent compared to February 2016 when it was $236,000.

Remember, February home sales usually went under contract in December and January.

Here is the sales data for February going back to 1997 (courtesy of G). It is slightly different from the IAR’s data:

  • 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: 1411
  • 2014: 1361
  • 2015: 1497
  • 2016: 1567
  • 2017: 1505

Here is the Median Price Data also going back to 1997 (thanks G!):

  • 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
  • 2015: $212,000
  • 2016: $236,000
  • 2017: $246,000

Strangely enough, last year, we were complaining about the tight inventory impacting sales as well. This is the second year in a row when it has been difficult to buy.

“We’re in an active home sales environment,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “We are seeing listings offered in advance of the spring market, with condos, in particular, benefitting from increased consumer confidence. The recent announcement of a rate hike, plus the hot stock market and higher wages, heralds an increase in home prices and a rapid decline in market time in the months to come.”

Statewide, market times continued to sink to 74 days from 81 days a year ago.

The average 30-year mortgage rate was 4.17% in February, up from 3.66% in February 2016.

“Prices continue to move in a positive direction,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “While consumer confidence reflects optimism about the economy, the housing inventory continues to shrink suggesting that while more optimistic, many homeowners are not yet tempted enough to consider moving to a larger or more expensive home.”

If inventory remains this tight in the spring market, what will buyers do?

Illinois home prices increase in February; sales lower amid tight inventory [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, March 22, 2017]

A 120% Gain in 3 Years in the Fulton Market? A 2-Bedroom Loft at 1101 W. Lake

1101 w lake

This 2-bedroom loft at 1101 W. Lake in the Fulton Market just came on the market.

It is a 9-unit brick and timber loft building with heated garage parking.

Yes, the El is across the street from the building.

This is a southwest corner unit.

It has 14-foot timber ceilings and exposed ductwork with dark stained oak flooring.

The listing says it has a new and expanded kitchen with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

The bedrooms appear to have 3/4th walls (i.e. they don’t go all the way to the ceiling.)

The listing says there are custom window treatments.

It has central air and a side-by-side washer/dryer in its own laundry room.

This loft was bank owned in 2013 and sold in 2014 for $295,000.

It has come back on the market for $649,000. That’s a 120% gain in just 3 years.

The Fulton Market is one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city and lofts for sale in its actual boundaries are rarely on the market.

Will this loft get the premium?

Sam Jenkins at Conlon has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3A: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed, loft

  • Sold in July 2006 for $395,000
  • Lis pendens filed in October 2008
  • Bank owned in June 2013
  • Sold in April 2014 for $295,000
  • Currently listed for $649,000 (includes heated garage space)
  • Assessments of $402 a month (includes exterior maintenance, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $6910
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 12×14
  • Bedroom #2: 14×13
  • Laundry room: 5×8

This Lincoln Park Single Family Home is Priced at Just $500,000: 2700 N. Wilton


This 2-bedroom single family home at 2700 N. Wilton in Lincoln Park came on the market in August 2016.

But if it looks familiar, that’s because we’ve chattered about it several times. The last time was in November 2009.

You can see our chatter here.

It was bank owned in 2007 and sold in 2008.

According to Zillow, it appears that it was rented for a time.

The kitchen has white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

The master suite is on the second floor while the second bedroom is on the main level.

Here are some pictures from the 2009 listing. The finishes are the same.



There’s an unfinished basement.

The house has central air and a 2-car heated garage.

What’s the catch?

Yes, those are the El tracks just behind the property.

This house has been reduced $100,000 to $500,000 since last August.

What will it take to get this sold?

Should it be staged?

Or is it all about price?

Colin Hebson at Dream Town Realty has the listing. See the pictures here.

2700 N. Wilton: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in December 1992 for $7,339
  • Sold in December 1994 for $12,966
  • Sold in September 1996 for $170,000
  • Lis pendens filed in January 2007
  • Bank owned in October 2007
  • Sold in February 2008 for $540,000
  • Originally listed in August 2009 for $649,000
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in November 2009 for $549,000
  • Withdrawn
  • Originally listed in August 2016 for $600,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $500,000
  • Taxes now $7615 (they were $8627 in 2009)
  • Central Air
  • 2-car heated garage
  • Bedroom #1: 35×22 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 12×10 (main level)
  • Den: 9×9 (main level)

Should We Be Worried About the Rising Million Dollar Home Inventory? 2820 N. Paulina in Lakeview


This 5-bedroom contemporary single family home at 2820 N. Paulina in Lakeview came on the market in November 2016.

But for those long time readers, they would remember this house because we’ve chattered about it several times before, including in 2013 when it was bank owned.

See the 2013 chatter here.

This was a new construction build in 2007, at the height of the housing bubble, and no one lived in it until the bank took possession and finally sold it in 2013.

Built on a smaller than standard Chicago lot of 25×118, it has a 2-car garage.

It had heated sidewalks and built-in iPod docking stations (remember those?) back in 2013.


This picture is from the original listing of the house.

There’s no mention of the iPod docking stations in the current listing, however.

The house has a full limestone façade as well as a central staircase with glass and steel railings.

There’s an eat-in chef’s kitchen with Wolf appliances.

There are several outdoor spaces, including a rooftop deck and a deck over the garage with a pergola.

Two of the five bedrooms are on the second floor, with a third on the third floor and two other bedrooms in the basement, along with a family room.

The listing says the house is in the Burley school district.

There are currently about 89 single family homes for sale over $1 million in Lakeview (those that are not under contract.)

Crain’s recently documented the surge of million dollar inventory in Lincoln Park.

In February, sellers put 69 luxury houses on the market in Lincoln Park, more than during any month in the past two years, according to a report compiled by Niko Apostal, a Keller Williams broker. The new listings brought the total to 183, also a two-year high.

At the same time, “sales have remained steady,” Apostal said, which leaves a disproportionate number of homes unsold as inventory swells.

The asking prices on existing listings are feeling the downward pressure, and so are their sellers. A handsome house for sale on Montana Street recently took a price cut to below the $2.1 million that its sellers paid for the place in 2007. Listed since June at $2.1 million, it’s now asking just under $1.94 million.

“It was time to talk turkey,” said Jeff Lowe, the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group agent who represents the house at its new price. (It was previously with a different agent.) Lowe says he told the seller, “if you want to get it sold, you have to react to the market. The over-supply is definitely telling people to make their prices more realistic.”

But it’s not just Lincoln Park and Lakeview which are in the million dollar home game. North Center, thanks to Roscoe Village, actually had more million dollar home sales in 2016 than Lakeview.

According to Crain’s, these were the sales totals of single family homes in 2016:

  1. Lincoln Park: 165 sales
  2. North Center: 120 sales
  3. Lakeview: 106 sales

This house was originally listed at $1.725 million. It has been reduced $50,000 to $1.675 million.

Is there a buyer’s market in luxury homes in the GreenZone?

According to the Crain’s article on Lincoln Park, high inventory appears to be putting pressure on prices.

It’s been a lot of years since there have been price reductions or even falling prices in the luxury market in the GreenZone.

Does it have any implications for the rest of the Chicago housing market?

Timothy Salm at Jameson Sotheby’s has the listing. See the pictures here.

2820 N. Paulina: 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, 4475 square feet, 2 car garage

  • Built in 2007
  • Was listed in June 2008 for $2.275 million
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in December 2009
  • Bank owned in December 2012
  • Was listed in June 2013 for $1.54 million
  • Sold in July 2013 for $1.475 million
  • Originally listed in November 2016 for $1.725 million
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $1.675 million
  • Taxes are now $26,579 (they were $26,612 in 2013)
  • Central Air
  • Radiant floor heating
  • Bedroom #1: 18×15 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 17×17 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 17×17 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 11×13 (lower level)
  • Bedroom #5: 17×10 (lower level)
  • Den: 10×13 (third floor)
  • Family room: 14×22 (lower level)



Just How Hot is the Market Under $400K? A 2-Bedroom at 2729 N. Racine in Lincoln Park

2729 n racine

This 2-bedroom at 2729 N. Racine in Lincoln Park just came on the market.

But we’ve chattered about it twice before: in 2011 (when it didn’t sell) and again in 2015 (when it did finally sell).

See our February 2015 chatter here.

If you recall, this is a 2-unit building where the units share only a wall. Is this a townhouse then?

The kitchen remains the same as the other times we’ve chattered about it, with maple cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

There are skylights in the staircase which leads to the master suite on the second floor.

The second bedroom is in the lower level.

There’s a private deck off the back and an outdoor parking space.

The unit also has central air and a washer/dryer.

The first time we chattered about this property, many of you were obsessed with the assessment being $225 a month even though it only included water and common insurance. It was also $225 in 2015. Since then, it has apparently been reduced as the listing now says it’s $150 a month.

This property has come back on the market for $40,000 more than it sold for just 2 years ago: listing at $385,000.

The hottest market is anything listed under $400,000.

It had first showings on Sunday, March 19.

Will this already be under contract as of today?

Andrew Northrup at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #N: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in October 2001 for $329,000
  • Sold in August 2005 for $425,000
  • Originally listed in September 2010 for $409,000
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in October 2011 for $349,000
  • Withdrawn in October 2011
  • Was listed in February 2015 at $369,000
  • Sold in April 2015 for $345,000
  • Currently listed for $385,000
  • Assessments are now $150 a month (they were $225 a month in 2011 and 2015) (includes water and common insurance)
  • Taxes are now $5944 (they were $6025 in February 2015 and $5452 in October 2011)
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer
  • 1 Outdoor Parking Space
  • Bedroom #1: 14×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 14×13 (lower level)

Live the Hipster Life in a 2-Bedroom Authentic Brick Loft in the Fulton Market at 312 N. May

312 n may

This 2-bedroom in the Warehouse Lofts at 312 N. May in the West Loop just came on the market.

This building was part of the Loftminium conversion of loft rental apartments into condos in 2000-2001 in the West and South Loops.

The building has 66 lofts but no parking.

This loft has soaring timber ceilings (painted white) and exposed brick walls  (also painted white).

I can’t tell from the pictures but at least one of the bedrooms doesn’t have full walls or a door.

The second bedroom also has a lofted space which can be accessed via a ladder. The listing says it could be used as a den/office or for storage.

There are hardwood floors throughout.

The kitchen has black cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

The unit has central air, washer/dryer in the unit, but there’s no parking.

The Fulton Market is one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city.

Will this loft go under contract by this weekend?

Will there be multiple offers?

And what do you think of the painted brick?

J. John Maggio at Conlon has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #4H: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1545 square feet

  • Sold in November 2000 for $231,000
  • Sold in August 2004 for $290,000
  • Sold in October 2013 for $294,000
  • Currently listed at $475,000
  • Assessments of $315 a month (includes exterior maintenance, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $4948
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • No parking
  • Bedroom #1: 15×14
  • Bedroom #2: 16×10 (has a “loft” which measures 9×7)


Remember These 3-Bedroom Duplexes in East Lincoln Park? 443 W. Grant

419 w grant #2 approved

This 3-bedroom duplex up in The Portals at 443 W. Grant in East Lincoln Park just came on the market.

This complex was built in 1971 and has 50 duplex up units in 4 story buildings. One unit is on the first and second floor with an outdoor terrace and a second unit is on the third and fourth level.

There’s outdoor parking.

We’ve chattered about various units in this complex over the years and especially during the bust, when you could buy an un-renovated unit for under $360,000.

See our 2011 chatter on one of those sales here.

This first floor unit has been renovated.

The listing says there are new windows, floors, doors and a new trex decking on the large deck off the living room.

The kitchen is open to the dining room and has dark cabinets, quartz counter tops, stainless steel Bosch dishwasher and GE profile appliances.

There are new bathrooms.

The duplex has central air, electric heat and a washer/dryer in the first floor powder room.

There is outdoor parking just outside of the deck.

These used to be among the more affordable 3-bedroom units in East Lincoln Park.

Are those days long gone?

419 w grant #1 approved

India Tougne at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #A: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1670 square feet, duplex up

  • Sold in April 1988 for $175,000
  • Sold in September 1996 for $215,000
  • Sold in April 1998 for $272,500
  • Sold in October 2001 for $390,000
  • Sold in June 2004 for $412,000
  • Sold in December 2012 for $425,000
  • Currently listed for $559,000 (includes outdoor parking)
  • Assessments of $411 a month (includes cable, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $7379
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Wood burning fireplace
  • Bedroom #1: 18×11 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 13×10 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 12×10 (second floor)



Are Pre-War Units on the Outs? A 3-Bedroom at 3300 N. Lake Shore Drive in Lakeview


This vintage 3-bedroom in 3300 N. Lake Shore Drive in Lakeview just came on the market.

The building was constructed in 1920 and has 84 units but no parking garage. Its age makes it a “pre-war” building.

The unit has some of its vintage features intact including a barrel ceiling in the entry foyer and plaster crown molding.

The listing says it also has a cedar closet.

It has lake views from the living room.

One of the hallmarks of vintage units are the large bedrooms and 2 out of the 3 bedrooms here are larger than you’d find in any modern construction.

Two bedrooms also have en suite baths.

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

This unit also has in-unit washer/dryer, installed in the half bath. It’s a rare feature in the building. Not all of the units have it.

There’s no central air or parking, but the listing says there’s a nearby indoor heated space available for $50,000.

Over the weekend, the New York Times had an article talking about how the pre-war “look” was out. Apparently, some home owners in New York City are stripping out vintage features, including crown molding, in the hope of modernizing these older units.

From the New York Times:

Millennials also “tend to be very conscious of the aesthetics and also the function” of finishes, said Jos Dudgeon, a principal of Tristate Sustainable, a general contractor in Manhattan. “Moldings, profiles, traditional cabinets — they’re not really interested in that. They’re really interested in something more modern and definitely more linear.”

For starters, crown molding is out — “I find it tends to close in the space, especially when you’re dealing with apartments,” said Mr. Dudgeon — and baseboards are becoming flatter, permitting the eyes to look up rather than being drawn downward.

“That’s definitely where you see a lot of the modern detailing,” said Andrew Mikhael, an architect who has spent the past five months overhauling a co-op in Park South Tower, a 1927 building in the Kips Bay section of Manhattan, for Diego Gomez and Jeanne Haney, a couple in their 40s. Some baseboards are flush to the wall, Mr. Mikhael said, while others feature what is known as a “gap reveal,” or “separation of wall and floor” that “creates a feeling that the wall is just floating.”

Fireplaces, often a showstopper in prewar apartments, are also looking more streamlined these days, thanks to the replacement of bulkier old surrounds with sleek new Carrara marble or granite. These are simpler than intricate millwork or mantels, Mr. Dudgeon said, “because the proportion of the space becomes more important,” say, for showcasing artwork.

And in an era when tidying up is a life-changing philosophy, the desire for built-in bookshelves and nooks for small items is waning. If clients request them at all, they’ll be “very clean” with a lot of square edges, single-panel Shaker-style doors, and narrow edge trims, Mr. Dudgeon said.

Housing trends usually start on the coasts and take 3 to 5 years to make their way to Chicago.

Is the pre-war apartment, and even its newer construction cousin like 9 W Walton in the Gold Coast which has “vintage” features, on the way “out”?

Amy Morro at Baird & Warner has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #4C: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1800 square feet

  • Sold in June 1998 for $190,000
  • Sold in December 2001 for $374,000
  • Sold in January 2005 for $460,000
  • Currently listed for $534,000
  • Assessments of $1056 a month (includes heat and scavenger)
  • Taxes of $7121
  • No central air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • Heated garage parking is available nearby for $50,000
  • Bedroom #1: 17×13
  • Bedroom #2: 19×12
  • Bedroom #3: 10×8

The Housing Bust Lives On: An Auction at 1300 W. Altgeld in Lincoln Park

1300 w altgeld #2

This 2-bedroom in Altgeld Court at 1300 W. Altgeld in Lincoln Park recently came on the market.

This complex was built in 1991 and has 44 units.

The units are all loft-style duplexes.

There aren’t any interior pictures with this listing. It’s being sold “as-is.”

From the listing:

Property is occupied and occupants are not to be disturbed or contacted under any circumstances. Interior inspections are not available. Property is at Auction, all Auction terms apply.

The auction will apparently take place from March 18 – 22.

A lis pendens was originally filed on this property all the way back in May 2008. From public records, it appears that the bank took it back in April 2015.

But buyers still can’t get in to see it (see above).

Will this sell at auction or not?

Who’s a target buyer for this? It appears from the listing that it might be cash purchases only.

Peter Koconis at Rising Realty has the listing. See the outside pictures here (no interior pictures).

Unit #104: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, duplex, no square footage listed

  • Sold in November 1991 for $272,500
  • Lis pendens filed in May 2008
  • Appears to be bank owned in April 2015
  • On and off the market since 2008
  • Re-listed in March 2017 at auction and sold “as-is” for $585,000
  • Unclear if that includes the parking (but parking WAS part of the original 1991 sale)
  • Looks like it might also be a “cash only” sale
  • Assessments of $397 a month (includes scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $8434
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer hook-ups in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 15×13 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 12×12

A Hidden 4-Bedroom Townhouse in the Heart of the Gold Coast: 1000 N. State

1000 n state

This 4-bedroom townhouse at 1000 N. State in the Gold Coast came on the market in June 2016.

It’s located at the prime corner of Oak and State but you might not have ever noticed this group of 15 townhouses because it’s built on top of the parking garage, several stories above the street.

Given that they were constructed in 1973, when this neighborhood was more dicey, building up off the street probably was seen as a selling point.

The complex has a center courtyard with a pool and basketball court (but no picture of this in the listing.) Is this included in this complex or the high rise building next door?

This is a large property, with 3800 square feet.

At 3 stories, it has a unique 40-foot center atrium with a massive skylight (see the pictures).

It also faces south, with the Ogden School directly across the street.

The master suite has a dressing room and a marble bath.

The kitchen, which is on the main level along with the living and dining rooms, has white cabinets and white counter tops along with Subzero and other stainless steel appliances.

The townhouse also has another unique feature, a 26×12 “attic.”

While the townhouse has central air, it has leased parking in the rental garage starting at $285 a month.

Originally listed in June 2016 for $1.475 million, it has been reduced $176,000 to $1.299 million.

Is this a deal to get 4-bedrooms and this much square footage at this price in this neighborhood?

Nick Kluding at Baird & Warner has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #10: 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 3800 square feet, 3 stories

  • Sold in August 1984 for $488,000 (per Zillow)
  • Originally listed in June 2016 for $1.475 million
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $1.299 million
  • Assessments of $1667 a month (includes cable, pool, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $17,068
  • Central Air
  • Rental parking in the building from $285 to $300
  • Bedroom #1: 18×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 22×14 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 14×11 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 14×11 (third floor)
  • Den: 13×8 (second floor)