Monthly ArchiveFebruary 2009

chicago-condos & Chicago Real Estate & Chicago Homes pcherry on 25 Feb 2009

January Sales of Chicago Area Homes Drop 28.9% From Last Year

February 25, 2009 - The latest numbers crunched by the Illinois Association of Realtors once again isn’t good news for Chicago home owners. According to the IAR, the median price of already built Chicago condos and single-family homes that were sold in January of this year fell 28.9% from January of last year. According to a Sun Times report, that puts the state of Illinois ahead of the national drop of 8.6%.

The median price of Chicago metropolitan area homes fell to an average of $185,000 and there was a 24.5% drop in sales numbers, with 2,965 Chicago homes sold. Overall in the state of Illinois, median prices fell 19.6% with an average price of $149,900 and a 23.9% drop in sales with 4,599 units sold.

The national average drop as mentioned above was 8.6% with 4.5 million condos and single family homes sold in January of this year, compared to January of last year. The median price fell 14.8% to settle at $170,300.

One has to keep in mind though that according to the National Association of Realtors, about 45% of existing home sales are made up of short sales or foreclosure sales. This would mean that nearly half of all existing condo and single-family homes are sold for less than their original asking price and that would create a large gap in existing sales and sales of new construction homes. And that can sometimes be deceiving when comparing numbers.

Many Chicago real estate experts predict that 2009 will still be a time of falling home prices, with a recovery beginning in 2010. For anyone interested in purchasing a New Construction Chicago Condo, the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit in the new stimulus bill will come in handy.

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chicago-condos & Chicago Real Estate & downtown chicago condos pcherry on 24 Feb 2009

Chicago Apartment Rents Continue To Slide

February 24, 2009 - Apparently now is the time to rent, especially if you want a Chicago condo or apartment in the South Loop. According to the latest numbers gathered by Appraisal Research Counselors, rents for downtown apartments fell to their lowest rates since 2001. Rents are averaging about $2.11 per square foot in the last quarter of 2008. That is down 6.2% from the same period in 2007. ARC noted that this is the first time rents have fallen since 2003.

The main culprits in the decline are of course the worsening economy and influx of some 3,200 new condos from 2008 and this year as well. With fewer jobs there is less demand for apartments, and according to Crain’s there will be a loss of 133,000 jobs in Chicago this year. Also, there were 1,016 new apartments added to the South Loop in 2008, with more developers turning to rental Chicago real estate projects instead of condos. Developers and often investors will opt to rent out a condo when it doesn’t sell in an attempt to buy some time until the market improves.

This so-called shadow market of condo rentals is putting more pressure on Chicago apartment managers. Many try offering one or two months rent free in an effort to keep from lowering rent prices on units. The Crain’s article mentioned one apartment building in particular that is having a difficult time finding tenants. 1401 South State Street is a luxury apartment high-rise that so far has only leased about 60% of its 278 units during the 10 months it has been open for occupancy. Appraisal Research Counselors stated that in a normal market, a quality apartment building would be around 90% full.

For those who aren’t ready or able to buy one of the New Chicago Condos for sale right now, it might pay to check for any units in the building that may be for rent. You could find a deal where you might not expect it.

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chicago-condos & Chicago Real Estate pcherry on 23 Feb 2009

Fountain Square Tower In Evanston Resubmitted For Approval

February 23, 2009 - While there is no new news about the Chicago Spire, there is an update about the so-called Evanston Spire. The Evanston Planning and Development Committee recently voted to limit the height of buildings in the downtown area to 35 stories. This directly affects the proposed Church Street or Fountain Square tower. The debate has been ongoing for about two years, and it’s not likely to end anytime soon because The Daily Northwestern reports that Klutznick-Fisher Development Company and Focus Development have now revised their plans for the proposed suburban Chicago real estate project and resubmitted then for approval to the City Council.

The tower was originally slated to be 49 stories tall, which would have made it the tallest tower outside the downtown Chicago area. With strong opposition from many residents and some council members, the developers agreed to shorten the high-rise to 38 stories. The most recent plan of 35 stories puts the building under the new restrictions and the two companies have also offered to donate $1 million to improve Fountain Square and have dropped their request for city funds to renovate the Hahn building. The developers will keep their pledge to attain silver LEED certification for the tower and donate to the affordable housing fund.

According to the Northwestern, Alderman Edmund Moran is a supporter of the project and wanted to schedule a special meeting to review the new plans on February 26th, but that isn’t going to be possible. As chairman of the Planning Committee, he opted to delay action on the proposed project last May because there wasn’t enough support to pass it. Other council members, including Elizabeth Tisdahl, don’t want to hurry a vote on the matter. In fact, some members believe that because elections are coming up, the decision should be left to the newly elected council members.

Until the controversy over the Fountain Square Tower is resolved, you can always check out the Suburban Chicago Condos that are already standing and ready for occupancy.

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