Sue Fox, @Properties. Direct 773.816.1788
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With some of the priciest real estate in the Chicago region, the North Shore has definitely been pummeled along with everybody else. In the last couple years, the high end of the market (homes over $1 million) especially took a beating, as buyers became much more cautious about value and jumbo loans became costlier to obtain.
But a recent survey in the Chicago Tribune suggests that the North Shore is partly recovering — although somewhat unevenly, with prices in some towns bouncing back more quickly than others. Overall, prices in most north Cook County towns are still down over the same period a year earlier.
Wilmette, home to the esteemed New Trier school district, is doing much better than most of its neighboring areas. In the fall of 2009, 77 homes closed in Wilmette with a median price of $639,000 — a 9% increase over the same September to November period a year earlier, when 84 homes closed at a median price of $582,500. The autumn closings tend to reflect deals actually signed in the summer.
Winnetka is also faring well. In the fall of 2009, 46 Winnetka homes closed at a median price of $1,065,000. That’s almost 14% higher than the median price of $921,000 a year earlier, when 41 homes closed during the same three-month period.
Neighboring North Shore communities, however, have seen median price drops — perhaps the result of more properties changing hands at the lower (or middle) end of the market. That is certainly the case in Glencoe, where the median home price plunged 36% in a year. But that’s probably because Glencoe buyers were focusing on less expensive houses, whereas the more expensive properties simply weren’t selling. There were 37 homes sales in Glencoe in the fall of 2009 at a median price of $650,000, while a year earlier 27 homes closed at a median of $1,020,000.
Buyers, meanwhile, are enjoying a rare chance to get into nice homes in sought-after communities that once seemed out of reach. One of my buyers, a young couple with two children, closed last week on a lovely historic 3-bedroom home with a large yard in desirable east Wilmette. The house, priced at $630,000 when it was listed in February, sold for $571,000.
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