Market Conditions: December 2015 Sales Basically Flat Year Over Year as Inventory Remains Low

State Street at Christmas 2011

The Illinois Association of Realtors is out with December 2015 sales data.

The city of Chicago saw a 0.4 percent year-over-year home sales increase in December 2015 with 2,029 sales, up from 2,020 in December 2014. The year-end 2015 home sales totaled 27,439, up 7.8 percent from 25,461 home sales in 2014.

The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in December 2015 was $242,500, up 6.4 percent compared to December 2014 when it was $228,000. The year-end 2015 median price reached $262,000, up 6.9 percent from $245,000 in 2014.

I’m surprised it wasn’t up more because December 2014 was a little soft. Additionally, the weather was so much better this year.

We have sales data going back 11 years.

  • 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 2013: 2137 sales and median price of $210,000
  • December 2014: 2020 sales and median price of $228,000
  • December 2015: 2029 sales and median price of $242,000

“The Chicago market continues to post strong price gains, reflecting consumer interest in being in a vibrant city and a continuing shortage of available homes from which to choose,” said Dan Wagner, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and senior vice president for government relations for The Inland Real Estate Group. “All indicators are that the momentum we saw in 2015 will bridge over into the new year.”

“The housing market in December behaved in a similar way to its historical pattern,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “Activity in both prices and sales was modest but increases were recorded for month-over-month and compared to the same month last year.  Consumer sentiment remains positive towards housing purchases with inventory levels perhaps posing problems in some submarkets.”

According to Crain’s, Chicago inventory started January at its lowest level in 9 years, or basically since they started keeping track of inventory.

As of the middle of January, inventory levels remained at 9 year lows.

We’re not yet in the spring selling/buying season. That doesn’t start until February. There’s plenty of time for sellers to begin listing.

Mortgage rates have fallen to 3 month lows and the job market remains strong.

Will the Chicago market be able to post year over year gains in 2016 after 2015’s very strong showing? Or will low inventory hamper sales?

Illinois home prices, prices higher in December; Strong gains seen in 2015 [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, January 22, 2016]

Living the Downtown Life in River North: A 1-Bedroom at 757 N. Orleans

757 n orleans

This 1-bedroom at 757 N. Orleans in River North just came on the market.

This building was completed in 2008, just as the bust was hitting, and investors ended up buying a block of units in the building.

Last year, at least one investor said he as probably going to sell off his units as prices had rebounded.

It has 198 units and amenities like an exercise room and an outdoor pool.

The building does abut the Brown and Purple line El tracks next to the Chicago Avenue El stop.

This unit is north and east facing with an east facing balcony.

At 1070 square feet, it has almost as much square footage as many two-bedrooms, as it also has a 10×8 den.

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

There’s a double vanity in the full bath and a half bath for guests.

There are hardwood floors in the living/dining room as well as in the bedroom.

It has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and while there is parking in the building this unit doesn’t appear to have a space. It looks like it is leased parking.

With 3 new luxury apartment rental buildings being built within about a block of this building, is buying this unit a better deal than renting?

Aaron Galvin at Luxury Living Chicago Realty has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1908: 1 bedroom, 1.5 baths, 1070 square feet

  • Sold in July 2013 for $348,000 (according to Redfin- as I can’t find it on the public records)
  • Currently listed for $369,900
  • Assessments of $466 a month (includes heat, a/c, cable, Internet, doorman, exercise room, pool, exterior maintenance, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $4599
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • No parking- possibly leased in the building
  • Bedroom: 17×11
  • Den: 10×8

A Pre-War 3-Bedroom in East Lakeview for Under $420,000: 419 W. Aldine

415 w aldine #1

This vintage 3-bedroom in 415 W. Aldine in East Lakeview just came on the market.

The building was constructed in 1927 and has just 2 units per floor.

Like a lot of construction from the pre-war era, this unit is large with many vintage features including crown molding, built-ins and French windows.

The Gallery foyer has coved ceilings and there is a separate dining room.

The third bedroom is currently a walnut paneled library with built-in bookcases.

The listing says there is an “updated kitchen” with gray and white cabinets, white appliances and stone counter tops.

There’s no parking with the building, however, and it doesn’t have central air or washer/dryer in the unit. There is coin laundry in the building and window a/c units.

But at 2,000 square feet, is this a deal for those looking for a large vintage unit near the lake?

Brad Lippitz at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3B: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2000 square feet

  • Sold in June 1997 for $170,000
  • Sold in November 1999 for $249,500
  • Sold in September 2002 for $395,000
  • Sold in July 2006 for $434,000
  • Currently listed at $419,000
  • Assessments of $1014 a month (includes heat, security system, cable, exterior maintenance, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $5365
  • No central air- window units only
  • No washer/dryer in the unit
  • No parking with the building
  • Bedroom #1: 16×14
  • Bedroom #2: 16×12
  • Bedroom #3: 12×8
  • Gallery: 14×8

Has the Park Tower Lost Its Cachet? A 3-Bedroom at 800 N. Michigan in the Gold Coast

800 n michigan

This 3-bedroom in the Park Tower at 800 N. Michigan in the Gold Coast just came on the market in January 2016.

But it has been on and off the market since February 2014.

It looks like it’s now bank owned.

On the 24th floor, it has south, east and west views and has a balcony.

The listing says there’s a “huge chef kitchen” with black granite counter tops.

2 bedrooms are ensuite and the master bedroom is huge, at 15×30.

From the pictures, it appears that the bathrooms are still intact.

It has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and 1-car garage parking.

The Park Tower was built in 2000 and has 117 units.

For years, it has been considered one of the premier luxury buildings in the city but in the last 16 years many new buildings have been built.

There are 9 units currently on the market, with one of those pending.

Has Park Tower lost some cachet or is it still the go-to building in the city?

Victoria Perryman at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #2402: 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 3024 square feet

  • Sold in September 2001 for $1,188,000
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in June 2010
  • Foreclosure auction in September 2015
  • Currently listed for $2.6 million
  • Assessments of $1696 a month (includes heat, a/c, doorman, cable, exterior, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $36,780
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • 1-car parking included
  • Bedroom #1: 15×30
  • Bedroom #2: 14×16
  • Bedroom #3 (currently used as an office): 12×16
  • Family room: 13×15

 

 

 

 

Moving from the GreenZone to the Suburbs: Do You Need a Therapist to Cope?

The Chicago Tribune reports on city dwellers who have kids and decide that they can’t make it work and have to move to the suburbs.

Some of the transplants have an identity crisis.

“I see this all the time with my practice,” said David Klow, owner of Skylight Counseling Center, which has offices in Chicago and Skokie. “Where we live gives us a sense of identity.”

Swapping city life for the suburbs is different from moving to another town or neighborhood. Real estate agents say city-to-suburbs folks often need special hand-holding.

“They wake up in the suburbs, and there’s no brunch,” said Karen Gilbert, a broker agent with Dream Town Realty. “There is a different kind of lifestyle.”

With apartment life, she said, “They’re used to having a corner coffee shop and a corner bar. They’re used to pushing their stroller to the store.”

Longtime city dwellers are attached to a lifestyle they’ve intentionally cultivated. Many try to make it work — creating room for a crib in the toddler’s room, gamely carrying a stroller up stairs.

“It’s a long part of their life,” Gilbert said. “They try to do anything they possibly can to stay downtown.”

Moving to the suburbs after a decade, or more, living in the GreenZone of Chicago can apparently be traumatic for some.

For starters, he said, many worry that their social lives will change. They fear missing out on art, culture and restaurants — even, he suggests, a connection to their younger selves.

“What happens when they move to the suburbs, will that be threatened?” he said. “Will they still feel connected to things that will enliven them and their relationships?”

Klow counsels families to think through a personal mission statement of what they value in a fulfilling life. Some of those components, for example, might be education, safety, quiet, diversity or opportunity.

Put aside the worries about becoming a suburban stereotype, he said.

“Some of that is unfounded, because you really can create a life you want wherever you are,” he said.

For some, moving to the suburbs might sprout as school decisions loom. Others may consider it while tripping over toys in their two-bedroom condo downtown.

“That’s our sweet spot — people with a 2-year-old,” said Bernstein, whose local ties include attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a husband from Skokie.

Many GreenZone residents find they can recreate many amenities of their lives in their current neighborhood in their new suburban towns.

As we’ve chattered about before, if you live in the Southport neighborhood and shop at Athleta and Anthropologie and eat at the Potbelly and Noodles & Company, it’s not like you cannot do the same in downtown Naperville or downtown Evanston.

The Erwin family loved walking to favorite restaurants and boutiques. But having family in the Hinsdale area gave them a nudge to move.

There, they found many similarities: a home a block from a school and a 7-minute walk from the train. Even the Green Goddess boutique, she said, was in both spots.

“It felt a lot like Lincoln Park,” she said. They traded in their membership to the Shedd Aquarium and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum for the Brookfield Zoo and Morton Arboretum.

Schools used to be the main reason that city families left for the suburbs. But most of the families highlighted in this article were in what most would consider “good” school districts, i.e. in Lakeview and Lincoln Park.

Recently, traffic and crime concerns, appear to be higher on people’s lists as to why they are willing to leave the city.

Katie Hotze, 36, a Winnetka mom of a 1-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, said she and her husband were sure they’d buy in the city. Her husband spent his bachelor years in the Gold Coast. Renting in Lakeview, they hoped to buy in Lincoln Park.

“We were shopping in the city, we loved it,” she said. “We would be whisked away in a snowstorm to a fabulous wine bar in River North. It was just amazing. We loved the city for that reason.”

But while they were shopping, a variety of factors — from crime to a 20-minute 2-mile drive to her daughter’s day care — had them second guessing.

“We did a complete 180,” she said, asking the agent to instead target Winnetka, where a friend had invited her to coffee.

Now they delight in the ease of safe, traffic-less streets, abundant parks, a house and a driveway.

“It’s so much easier up here,” she said.

Given future budget cuts and tax increases that Chicago faces, along with the recent surge in property crimes in some neighborhoods like Lakeview, will young families face an easier choice to move to the suburbs?

And are record high housing prices in the GreenZone neighborhoods one of the reasons they are being pushed out to the suburbs?

You can get a 3-bedroom house in Winnetka for less than that 3-bedroom $900,000 duplex down in Lakeview or Lincoln Park, where the bedrooms are all in the basement.

Relax. Take a deep breath. Moving to the suburbs is going to be okay. [Chicago Tribune, Alison Bowen, January 12, 2016]

Are Buyers Over Vintage Units? A 4-Bedroom at 2256 N. Lincoln Park West in Lincoln Park

2256 n lincoln park west

This 4-bedroom in the Shakespeare Building at 2256 N. Lincoln Park West in Lincoln Park has been on the market since March 2015.

The Shakespeare Building is a co-op directly across from the Lincoln Park, putting it in one of the most prestigious areas of the city.

Built in 1909, the mid-rise courtyard building has 24 units with assigned parking. There’s an on-site engineer.

According to the listing, it’s in Lincoln Elementary.

This unit is a front facing unit with east facing windows.

It has some of its original features including prairie-style woodwork, a barrel vaulted family room, crown molding and a wood burning fireplace.

The kitchen has white cabinets and some white and some stainless steel appliances.

There’s a washer/dryer in the unit and space pak air conditioning.

First listed in March 2015 for $969,000, this unit has been reduced $120,000 to $849,000.

That is less than many of the new duplex downs that are being built all over the north side of the city.

Are buyers disenchanted with vintage properties?

What will it take to sell this property?

Jennifer Ames at Coldwell Banker has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #C3: 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2700 square feet

  • I don’t have a prior purchase price because it’s a co-op
  • Originally listed in March 2015 for $969,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $849,000 (includes assigned parking)
  • Assessments of $1211 a month (includes heat, gas, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $12,822
  • Space pak air conditioning
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Wood burning fireplace
  • Bedroom #1: 15×15
  • Bedroom #2: 15×13
  • Bedroom #3: 15×13
  • Bedroom #4: 10×10
  • Foyer: 23×7
  • Family room: 12×16
  • Sunroom: 11×7

 

 

 

Would You Use a 29th Floor Outdoor Terrace? 401 N. Wabash in River North

401 n wabash #1

This 1-bedroom in Trump Tower at 401 N. Wabash in River North came on the market in November 2015.

It is on the 29th floor and faces west and north.

It has 11.5 foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows.

The unit has luxury finishes including cherry Snaidero kitchen cabinets, granite counter tops and Subzero, Miele and Wolf appliances.

The listing calls the bathroom a “spa bath” with a whirlpool tub.

It has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and parking is available for lease in the building.

In Trump Tower you also get all of the services of the Trump hotel.

The listing says it is in “seldom used condition.”

This is a unique 1-bedroom unit in that it has a rare west facing 200 square foot private terrace. Very few of the Trump units have outdoor space because of the design of the building.

Would you use an outdoor terrace that was on a high floor like this one is? It’s on the 29th floor and it’s not recessed.

Or is the terrace wasted space?

Peter Tortorello at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #29E: 1 bedroom, 1.5 baths, 938 square feet

  • Sold in March 2012 but no price is listed in the public records
  • Originally listed in November 2015 for $879,000
  • Currently still listed for $879,000
  • Assessments of $508 a month (includes gas, cable, doorman, exercise room, pool, exterior maintenance, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $7322
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Parking is leased in the building from $250 to $350 a month
  • Bedroom: 15×14
  • Living room: 17×15
  • Terrace: 24×8
  • Laundry room: 6×4

 

Renovated Duplex Down Returns and Is Reduced $59,100: 1122 W. Diversey in Lakeview

1122 w diversey

This 4-bedroom duplex down at 1122 W. Diversey in Lakeview just came on the market but if it looks familiar that’s because we chattered about it last September.

If you recall, this duplex down was purchased in July 2014 and put on the market just 13 months later, “renovated” and listed for 42% more than the 2014 purchase price.

Back in September, most of you thought this was overpriced. See our September 2015 chatter here.

The unit was withdrawn from the market at the end of September.

But it has now come back on the market and has reduced its price.

It’s still listed as a 4-bedroom, but in the description of the property it is called a 3-bedroom with a “recently renovated home office.”

If you recall, it has newly dark stained hardwood floors on the main level.

The kitchen still has white cabinets, whereas they were maple cabinets in 2014, with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

The office was a wet bar before the renovation and still has the sink in the corner of the room.

It has all the other features that buyers look for including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and 1 garage parking space.

In the 2015 chatter, the split face block construction of this building was brought up. The listing now says: “Exterior was professionally landscaped & Bldg waterproofed in 2015.”

With the $59,100 price reduction to $689,900, is this unit now priced to sell?

Jennifer Mills at Berkshire Hathaway KoenigRubloff still has the listing. See the pictures here.

You can also see the 2014 listing pictures here to see what was renovated.

If you want to see it in person, there’s an Open House this Saturday, Jan 16 at 12 PM.

Unit #1E: 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, no square feet listed this time but it was 2400 square feet in 2015

  • Sold in August 2000 for $409,000
  • Sold in June 2005 for $505,000
  • Sold in July 2014 for $527,500
  • Originally listed in August 2015 for $749,000
  • Was still listed in September 2015 for $749,000
  • Withdrawn in September 2015
  • Re-listed in January 2016 for $689,900
  • Assessments are now $280 a month (they were $180 a month in September 2015) (includes water, scavenger, exterior maintenance)
  • Taxes now $6478 (they were $6339 in September 2015)
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Garage parking included
  • Bedroom #1: 14×12 (main floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 12×10 (main floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 15×11 (lower level)
  • Bedroom #4 or home office: 10×10 (lower level)

Looking for a 1-Bedroom Duplex Loft With a Patio? 1632 S. Indiana in the South Loop

1632 s indiana

This 1-bedroom corner duplex loft in the Bicycle Station Lofts at 1632 S. Indiana in the South Loop just came on the market.

It has 22-foot timber ceilings and exposed brick along with large industrial windows.

The bedroom is on the second level. There is also a 10×8 den on the first level that is currently being used as a bar.

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

It’s on the first floor of the building and has a large patio.

The full bathroom is on the second level with a half bath on the main floor.

The listing says the building is 100% owner occupied and there are no rentals allowed.

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

If it sells at full asking price, it will see 28% appreciation over the last sale 4 years ago.

How hot are 1-bedroom lofts in this market?

Brian Felder at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

You can also go to one of the open houses on Sunday, Jan 17 at 12 pm and on Sunday, Jan 24 also at 12 pm.

Unit #101: 1 bedroom, 1.5 baths, 1300 square feet

  • Sold in February 1998 for $172,000
  • Sold in January 2004 for $230,000
  • Sold in July 2009 for $262,000
  • Sold in October 2012 for $253,500
  • Currently listed for $324,900 (includes the parking)
  • Assessments of $407 a month (includes cable, internet, exercise room, exterior maintenance, lawn care, scavenger, snow removal)
  • Taxes of $4076
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom: 15×14 (second level)
  • Den: 10×8 (main level)

 

No Down Payment? Just Need $100 to Buy This 1-Bedroom at 1525 S. Michigan in the South Loop

This 1-bedroom loft at 1525 S. Michigan in the South Loop just came on the market. (For some reason, I don’t think I have a picture of this building in my archives. Sorry.)

It is owned by HUD.

It has exposed brick and what looks like timber ceilings with diagonal hardwood floors.

The kitchen cabinets appear to be intact but the appliances are missing.

There isn’t a picture of the bathroom.

The unit is on the first floor and has a balcony as well as underground garage parking.

There appears to be central air and there should be washer/dryer hook-ups in the unit (if the old listing from 2008 is to be believed.)

Don’t worry if you don’t have any money for a down payment. According to the listing:

Choose FHA financing to qualify for $100 down payment.

With just $100 down, even though you have to buy some appliances, this would definitely be cheaper than renting in the neighborhood, right?

Will this go under contract this week?

Loose lending is back!

Anthony Trotto at Anthony Trotto Real Estate has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #104: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 975 square feet

  • Sold in January 2004 for $219,000
  • Sold in April 2009 for $232,500 (included the parking)
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in December 2012
  • HUD owned in August 2015
  • Currently listed for $190,600 (includes the parking)
  • Assessments of $336 a month (includes cable, internet, exterior maintenance, scavenger and snow removal)
  • Taxes of $2557
  • Central Air ? (probably)
  • Washer/Dryer hook-ups (according to 2008 listing)
  • Fireplace
  • Bedroom: 11×13