Monday, February 23, 2009

Map Shows Sales, Price Rank of City's 77 Areas

With our unique, interactive City Condo Map (below), you can see where each of Chicago's 77 census areas ranks on number of units sold, and on median sales price, for 2008.

Clicking an area links you to an in-depth profile, on our Web site, that features a map, boundaries, demographics, appreciation rates, schools and more area info. (Our site is affiliated with no brokerage and displays no ads.)

Brokers, agents and anyone else who wants can display this map, as a widget, on a Web site or blog. Request the code by e-mail.

This exclusive map, along with two related city maps--one color-coded by units sold, the other by median sales price--is also available on

New-Construction Update: 2/23/09

The Legacy at Millennium Park

Every Monday, with help from our friends at, we present vital data on five condos under construction.

To view Building Profile on, click address. To visit developer’s Web site, click name. To use Chicago's best condo search engine to review in-depth profiles of 900+ new-construction properties and find the unit types that meet any combination of 100 preferences, click here.

60 E. Monroe, Legacy at Millennium Park
46 of 356 available, 1-4 BR, $480K-$4M+, Delivery September
Developed and Marketed by Mesa Development

5434 N. Winthrop, 5434 N. Winthrop
8 of 8 available, 1-2 BR, $239K-$349K, Delivery NA
Developed by 5434 N. Winthrop, Marketed by Mario Greco Group

6 N. Michigan, 6 N. Michigan
48 of 120 available, 1-3 BR, $320K-$1.69M, Delivery April
Developed and Marketed by Six North Michigan Development

2424 W. Fletcher, Fletcher Row
8 of 20 available, 3-4 BR, $480K-$750K, Delivery now
Developed and Marketed by Bluestone Development

2359 N. Seeley, EcoLogic Lofts
NA of 94 available, 1-2 BR, $210K-$400K, Delivery 2010
Developed and Marketed by Senco

Previous New-Construction Updates

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Top Agent Senses 'New Energy' in Market

In a post on her blog, Live and Play in Chicago, top-producing Coldwell Banker agent Jenny Ames describes what she already senses is a positive effect of the stimulus bill recently signed into law. Writes Jenny:

The bill seems to be having some effect, whether direct or psychological, on homebuyers in Chicago.

In the last week, [the] confidence crisis dam seems to have broken. Buyers are in the market in full force. My conclusion is based on the following indicators:

* The number of buyers and agents requesting to see the homes I have for sale has recently doubled. More importantly, many of those requests are from people who are coming back for a second or third time to see properties they like. This demonstrates an increased level of seriousness.

* The quality of visitors at our public open houses has improved. Until this past weekend, most of the people who stopped by our open houses were nosy neighbors or people who were hoping to move but needed to list and sell their current home before buying. As of Sunday, February 15th, the three open houses I hosted were packed with serious buyers who were out systematically looking at properties with the intent of purchasing a home in the near future.

* In the last week, I received four offers to buy homes I have for sale, and I wrote an offer for one of my buyers. The ensuing negotiations resulted in three sales including two at the high end of the market with sale prices of $3.6 million and $5+ million.

I cannot verify that the apparent shift in consumer confidence is directly linked to the passing of this legislation, but the timing is uncanny. Whatever the cause, my seller clients and I are certainly not complaining about the “spring fever” that has sparked new energy in the residential real estate market.

Are other agents seeing what Jenny is seeing? Let us know and we'll post your comment.

Comments Rubloff's Eric Rojas:

I am very busy in the “first-time buyer” area already this year. In fact, I have several purchase contracts on the buyer side and have sold a $260,000 listing in one week (not a short sale!) prior to the stimulus bill. One of my listings priced at $349,000 has had second showing in the first week or so on the market. I predicted last fall that first time buyers would be very active this year due to better pricing. With many other spring buyers just getting started, I feel that the stimulus, in addition to pricing, will motivate first-time buyers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ARC: 592 New Condos Sold Downtown in 2008

From an article by David Roeder in today's Chicago Sun-Times:

It sounds like a bad joke, but it's true: The downtown residential market is so awful, it's shrinking.

Last year, the number of new condominiums slated downtown declined by almost 3,000 units. And in the fourth quarter, the number of residential sales was a negative 250 units.

How can that be?

The numbers are drawn from an annual survey that Appraisal Research Counselors (ARC) reported Tuesday. They are the worst results anybody can recall for the reports, which the company has compiled since 1997.

Gail Lissner, vice president at Appraisal Research, said the residential inventory fell as developers scrapped projects they would have delivered in a couple of years. The sales figures went negative in late 2008, she said, because buyers began canceling contracts and some developers were caught fudging sales data from earlier in the year.

Overall, 592 condos sold in central Chicago during 2008, the survey found. The result was abysmal for a market that has generated annual sales of 4,000 to 8,000 units.

Lissner said business came almost to a standstill as a lack of credit joined with the recession to scare buyers or render them unable to qualify for a mortgage. The same conditions denied developers the funds to build.

She saw little prospect for recovery this year. "Buyers are going to need to be convinced they have good job security," Lissner told a luncheon audience of real estate executives.

But she said that for all the gloom in the industry, condo prices downtown are holding close to steady. The company's report covers lakefront neighborhoods from North Avenue to McCormick Place, extended to include the West Loop.

Appraisal Research's check of sales data in existing condo towers showed that since 2005, prices in a few buildings are up 10 percent to 20 percent. They include 195 N. Harbor Drive and 360 E. Randolph, where lake views proved good investments.

But other buildings registered a price decline of 10 percent to 20 percent. Leading losers were 345 N. La Salle and 33 W. Delaware, where Lissner said desperate sales by speculators were a factor.

Another condo conundrum: even though projects are being scrapped, nearly 5,000 units are expected to be delivered in 2009. "We're at the tail end of what really has been four years of record deliveries," Lissner said.

The new arrivals were conceived and financed around 2006, before credit problems took hold. But Lissner said hardly any new units can be expected downtown in 2010 and 2011. "We're looking at several years of very limited new inventory," she said.

Monday, February 16, 2009

New-Construction Update: 2/16/09

The Myers

Every Monday, with help from our friends at, we present vital data on five condos under construction.

To view Building Profile on, click address. To visit developer’s Web site, click name. To use Chicago's best condo search engine to review in-depth profiles of 900+ new-construction properties and find the unit types that meet any combination of 100 preferences, click here.

6617 S. Ingleside, The Myers
2 of 8 available, 2 BR, $140K-$180K, Delivery now
Developed and Marketed by Greenline Development

23 N. Aberdeen, CA23
24 of 48 available, 2-4 BR, $650K-$1.6M, Delivery March
Developed and Marketed by The Brixton Group

1919 W. Crystal, 1919 W. Crystal
8 of 9 available, 2-3 BR, $650K-$770K, Delivery now
Developed by Karma Group, Marketed by Koenig & Strey

6625 S. Ingleside, The Baldwin
3 of 3 available, 2 BR, $150K-$180K, Delivery NA
Developed and Marketed by Greenline Development

4544 N. Seeley, 4544 N. Seeley
8 of 8 available, 2-3 BR, $340K-$570K, Delivery now
Developed by Edge Construction, Marketed by Mario Greco Group

Previous New-Construction Updates

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sudler Sotheby's Buys C21 Sussex & Reilly

Crain’s Business Weekly's Andrew Schroedter reports that Sudler Sotheby's International Realty says it has acquired Century 21 Sussex & Reilly, a residential brokerage that specializes in North Side properties. Writes Schroedter:

The deal doubles the size of Sudler to about 500 residential brokers and gives it a total of 10 Chicago offices. Each of the firms sold about $600 million worth of residential real estate last year, says Janice Corley, president and CEO of Sudler Sotheby's.

"This deal makes good bottom-line sense because it gives Sudler a chance to add more agents without recruiting them," says James Kinney, president of Chicago-based rival Rubloff Residential Properties, which was not involved in the deal. "But they have to decide on their identity. That'll be the real challenge of this merger."

Corley says her firm hasn't decided if it will keep the Sussex & Reilly name or fold it into the Sudler Sotheby's brand. Sussex & Reilly has four Chicago offices and one in west suburban Wheaton.

Sudler plans to close the Wheaton branch, says Corley, adding that Sussex locations in the city could also be shuttered if they're found to overlap with existing Sudler offices.

Bargains: 40 Vetro Units on Auction Block

The Chicago Tribune's Mary Ellen Podmolik reported today that Roszak/ADC will auction 40 of 100 unsold units in its 233-unit Vetro condo development at 611 S. Wells. The auction will take place at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 7, at the W Chicago Hotel - City Center, 172 W. Adams. She writes, in part:

When Roszak/ADC began marketing Vetro, a 31-story development in the South Loop, the marketing materials talked of the architecture, the floor-to-ceiling windows and the fitness center. That was in 2006. Next month, it all will boil down to price.

Made with the blessing of its lenders, the decision is a money-losing move, but not one of total desperation. In addition to jump-starting sales, the goal of the auction is to determine how much the condos would be worth if sold conventionally.

It's not the first auction by a local developer willing to take some lumps and move on, and it's unlikely to be the last. Faced with impatient lenders, skittish consumers and unsold inventory, developers are starting to dispose of properties by any means possible.

"We're talking to a ton of developers," said Chicago-based auctioneer Rick Levin. "Some have 10 properties and some have hundreds. Many developers owe more than their property is worth."

In December, 44 condos at McKinley Park Lofts and 22 townhouses and condos at Jazz on the Boulevard were auctioned.

Vetro developer Thomas Roszak, who said the units auctioned will be sold at a loss, hopes to relaunch the building and sell the remaining units conventionally after he gets a sense of their value from the auction.

A one-bedroom unit at Vetro that was at $226,000 carries a minimum bid of $150,000. Bidding for a penthouse unit, once marketed at $900,000, will start at $415,000. One parking space is included with each unit.

Accelerated Marketing Partners, which is handling the Vetro auction, conducted 50 residential auctions last year, up from a handful in 2007. For details on the Vetro auction, click here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

New-Construction Update: 2/9/09

5430 N. Sheridan

Every Monday, with help from our friends at, we present vital data on five condos under construction.

To view Building Profile on, click address. To visit developer’s Web site, click name. To use Chicago's best condo search engine to review in-depth profiles of 900+ new-construction properties and find the unit types that meet any combination of 100 preferences, click here.

5430 N. Sheridan, 5430 Sheridan
12 of 48 available, 2-3 BR, $290K-$390K, Delivery now
Developed by Bluewater Companies, Marketed by @properties

900 W. Huron, Mondial
70 of 142 available, 1-4 BR, $230K-$1M, Delivery April '09
Developed by CITTA Development, Marketed by Jameson

600 N. Lake Shore, 600 Lake Shore Drive
100 of 400 available, 1-3 BR, $410K-$1.8M, Delivery now
Developed and Marketed by Belgravia Group

55 E. Monroe, Park Monroe
32 of 156 available, 1-3 BR, $300K-$1.7M, Delivery March '09
Developed and Marketed by Glenstar Properties

1629 S. Prairie, 1600 Museum Park
129 of 268 available, 1-3 BR, $280K-$710K, Delivery now
Developed and Marketed by Enterprise Companies

Previous New-Construction Updates

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

MRED: 2008 Sales Down 30%, Price Up 5%

According to 2008 city condo sales data from Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), the multiple listing service for northern Illinois:

* The number of condo units sold in the city of Chicago in 2008 dropped by 30%, from 18,061 in 2007 to 12,596.

* The dollar volume of condos decreased by 27%, from $6.4 billion to $4.7 billion.

* The average market time increased by 22%, from 117 days on the market to 143 days.

* Unlike in many other cities in the nation, the median sales price of Chicago condos continued to rise, by 5%, from $295,400 to $310,032.

Local experts, including Dave Hanna, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors (CAR), attribute the increase in median sales price to the hundreds of new-construction units that were sold (contracted for) in the three years before the market declined, but that closed in 2008. (See item below.)

By comparison, MRED data released by CAR show that all single-family attached (Type 2) housing, a broader category that includes condos and all other attached units, decreased by 29% in unit sales, and median sales price was up by 8%. (See item below.)

In the city, 2008 condo sales made up 53% of all residential transactions (including multi-unit), compared to 58% in 2007.

The database maintained by indicates that there are roughly 260,000 condo units in more than 12,000 buildings in the city, with several thousand units added annually. With 260,000 units and 2008 sales of 12,600 units, the turnover in 2008 would be 4.8%.

Based on MRED figures, the citywide median sales price of condos sold in 2008 was $284 per square foot.

For more details on Chicago's condo market, visit Market Overview on

Monday, February 2, 2009

CAR: 2008 Unit Sales Down 29%, Price Up 8%

According to revised figures released today by the Chicago Association of Realtors, based on sales in the city of Chicago recorded on the multiple listing service (MRED), unit sales of condos and townhomes in 2008 were down 29% from the previous year; surprisingly, median sales price was up 8%.

The CAR figures are for what is called Type 2 Single-Family Attached housing, the vast majority of which are condos. CAR makes no figures available for only condos.

According to CAR, the total unit sales in 2008 were 14,603, compared to 20,690 in 2007, a decrease of 6,087. Median sales price in 2008 was $313,750, compared to $290,000 in 2007, an increase of $23,750, or 8%.

Average market time (days on market) went from 120 in 2007 to 127 in 2008, an increase of 7 days, or 6%.

By comparison, for single-family (detached) homes, unit sales were down 14% (from 7,527 in 2007 to 6,459 in 2008, or by 1,068); median sales price was down 23% (from $255,000 in 2007 to $197,000 in 2008, or by $58,000).

For an Excel spreadsheet with all the figures, including a breakdown by all 77 census areas, from 1992 to 2008, e-mail your request to or visit, CAR's Web site. (To access the figures from CAR's site, you must be a member.)

Comment from CAR President Dave Hanna:

I would temper this news with a suggestion that everyone needs to look at the micro-market where the target property is located.

Neighborhoods with the highest foreclosure rates (largely lower income and emerging markets) had the biggest drops in terms of percentage of sale price. It's no coincidence this is where there are fewer condos and new construction of any scale.

Add to that, the high-end market 2008 closings of units put under contract in 2005 and 2006 drove the average sales price for condos all year, despite an over supply of inventory.

There is also a higher incidence of mortgage fraud in the property history of these areas. Combined with a decline in demand in those areas (flight to quality by buyers who can now buy in more-affluent neighborhoods ), and closed sales of foreclosed property at much-lower price points, and you have this mess.

The good news for sellers/owners in many areas of the city is they have not lost the amount of value (to date) they may perceive from a broad based statistical picture like average, or median, sales price.

If the market does not get some legs, that news will be short lived.

Comment from Jim Merrion, Regional Director, RE/MAX Northern Illinois:

In 2007, the city condo/townhouse market faired substantially better than the market for single-family homes. In 2008, the shoe was on the other foot.

Purchasers of city condos and townhouses are primarily first-time buyers, singles and empty nesters, many of whom use the exceptional property search capabilities of our Web site.

In today’s uncertain economic environment, it is fairly easy for these groups to delay a move, and that is what happened in 2008. First-time buyers also may have been discouraged by higher fees and down payments required by lenders.

For the families that typically buy detached homes, the situation is somewhat different. The arrival of a new child or the need to live in a location that better accommodates a range of family priorities can be powerful incentives to find a new home, which may explain why sales of single-family (detached) homes declined more modestly.

New-Construction Update: 2/2/09

222 E. Pearson

Every Monday, with help from our friends at, we present vital data on five condos under construction.

To view Building Profile on, click address. To visit developer’s Web site, click name. To use Chicago's best condo search engine to review in-depth profiles of 900+ new-construction properties and find the unit types that meet any combination of 100 preferences, click here.

222 E. Pearson, Pearson on the Park
19 of 219 available, 2-3 BR, $360K-$530K, Delivery now
Developed by Hawthorne Development, Marketed by Jameson

1223-1249 E. 46th, Lake Park Gateway II
9 of 23 available, 2-4 BR, $249K-$349K+, Delivery now
Developed by Stratagem Builders, Marketed by Rubloff

1555 S. Wabash, 1555 Wabash
NA of 176 available, 1-2 BR, $240K-$320K, Delivery Spring '09
Developed and Marketed by New West Realty

2757 N. Lincoln, Avenue
NA of 14 available, 2-3 BR, $450K-$540K, Delivery now
Developed and Marketed by Impressionist Homes

1225 W. Morse, North Beach Lofts
2 of 43 available, 2 BR, $280K-$290K, Delivery now
Developed by Markle, Marketed by Jameson

Previous New-Construction Updates