Sue Fox, @Properties. Direct 773.816.1788
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Archive for the 'Townhomes' Category
Lincoln Park is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Chicago, with such prime real estate that many buyers assume they can’t afford it and begin their search in Lakeview or North Center instead. But recently, prices have fallen to the extent that there are now more than 60 Lincoln Park condos with at least 3 bedrooms available for less than $500,000. Most of them are townhomes or duplex units.
I was just searching for 3-bedroom condos in Lincoln Park, and came across several that have been on the market for more than a year — taking steep price cuts in the meantime. Like 2743 N Wolcott #43, a modern townhouse with a full finished basement and attached garage. Listed for sale a year and a half ago, at $535,000, it is now priced at a much more reasonable $439,900.
Or 1956 N Burling St, Unit B, which has been on the market for 539 days. The price tag for this townhouse, which has a 28-foot private rooftop deck and two wo0d-burning fireplaces, went from $525,000 to $449,000. Many others have been sitting on the market for at least six months, enduring price drops of $75,000 to $100,000.
If you’re looking for a townhouse or condo in Lincoln Park, now is the time to strike. There are some great deals out there this fall, and not enough buyers to absorb them. The imbalance between supply and demand has pushed prices down, to the point where we’re now seeing fabulous, renovated units like 2639 N Sheffield #2, an extra-wide 3-bedroom, 2-bath with garage parking, for just $469,000. This simplex condo is packed with features that today’s buyers want, like a gourmet eat-in kitchen with cherry cabinets, a master suite with a marble bath, separate shower and double vanity, high ceilings, lots of windows, a balcony and a back deck.
It’s been on the market since June, when it was priced at $574,900.
Buyers often ask me for advice about a key question: Is it better to buy a smaller place in a nicer neighborhood, or a bigger home in a slightly less-desirable area? Real estate always involves a series of trade-offs (regarding price, location, size of the home, age of the home, amenities, school district, etc. etc. etc.) but this Location Vs. Size debate is one of the central decisions that buyers must make. In other words, is it a better investment to buy a 2-bedroom condo in, say, a stable, affluent area like Lincoln Park… or maybe a 3-bedroom condo a little further north, perhaps in Uptown or Edgewater?
These days, my vote would have to go with Location. That’s because we are now in Year 5 of a brutal and unrelenting real estate downturn, and I’ve watched homes in many fine North Side neighborhoods lose their value as buyers increasingly turned away from up-and-coming, less central areas in favor of those that were already quite popular. A bird in the hand is probably worth at least five in the bush in these uncertain times, and if you buy in an established, thriving community like Lincoln Park, you will likely come out ahead no matter what.
Consider the prices of condos and townhomes in Lincoln Park over the past two years. While other Chicago communities (and the city as a whole) saw home prices drop, the median sale price for Lincoln Park condos and townhomes increased 14.2% since June 2009, according to MLS data. And the climb has been relatively steady. Two years ago, the median sale price was $530,000. A year later, it was $557,500. And this June, it had jumped to $605,000.
Chicago home buyers are voting with their feet. Every day, they are choosing where to invest, live, and raise families — and they aren’t in a mood to gamble on a neighborhood that seems to be struggling or battered by foreclosures or lacking a strong commercial center or too far from the action. Lately I’m seeing more buyers opting for places like Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Bucktown, and the Gold Coast over areas like Logan Square, Irving Park, Albany Park, Uptown, Edgewater and Rogers Park — even if it means less space.
I have some clients looking for a townhome in the $700,000 range in Wicker Park, Bucktown, or Lincoln Park, and lately we have run across several impressive homes with a least three bedrooms, garage parking and a roof deck. Because Wicker Park and Bucktown tend to boast newer construction than other areas of the city closer to the lake, their selection of mid-range townhomes has been more attractive than that of, say, Lincoln Park, where many townhomes were built in the 1980s.
Take, for example, the 4-bedroom, 2-and-a-half bath townhouse at 1757 N Paulina, Unit O in the heart of Bucktown. Tucked away in a narrow courtyard off a nondescript street, these brick townhomes aren’t much to look at from the outside. (This is often the case with Chicago townhome developments; you’ll find an expanse of brick broken up by an occasional bay window jutting out, usually framed in metallic cladding or limestone as an accent. Nothing too exciting, generally, but once you step inside some homes rapidly distinguish themselves from the masses.)
Here on Paulina, the home immediately opens up into a soaring living room bathed in light, anchored by a dramatic floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace. The kitchen –which has seen some $60,000 in upgrades — was truly beautiful, with custom Brookhaven cabinetry and white Brazilian granite. There was a huge island and room for a large table (or a built-in banquette, in this case.)
This elegant home was priced at $669,000 — and it’s not alone. We have seen several at this price point that are worth consideration, a welcome change from the lofty prices such upgraded homes used to command. There was a similar unit in this development that sold for $800,000 in 2008.
Even in this market, a lovely home in a good location that is well-priced is likely to sell. People still value beauty (and location). And while this Bucktown townhome wasn’t quite right for my buyers, it sold quickly — just three weeks after hitting the market.
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