As you’ve traveled around Chicago over the last year you’ve probably noticed all the new construction going on – some of it is commercial and some of it is apartments but a lot of it is new residential construction for sale. So, once again I’ve put together a summary of the hottest neighborhoods for Chicago new construction over the last 12 months, looking at the units that have sold and the units that are still for sale.
And I’m using the term “neighborhood” loosely because…well…to be perfectly honest…people use the term loosely in Chicago and that’s how they search for information like this. Technically I really looked at this by community area. If you don’t know the difference you might want to read this old post of mine on Defining Chicago’s Neighborhoods.
Let’s start with the high level picture of where the development is primarily taking place. The picture is pretty similar to what it was last year with West Town and Logan Square in the lead though Lake View and North Center have dropped their rankings a bit. The Near North Side has really picked up steam with a few big developments coming on line – Belgravia’s Sedgwick at Locust, No. 9 Walton, 4 E. Elm, and The Ronsley to name a few. And it should be no surprise that the Near West Side, which includes the smoking hot West Loop, has really taken off.
As far as pricing goes it looks like the prospect of an imploding Illinois with sky high taxes isn’t discouraging the $1 MM+ buyers in Chicago. No less than 9 community areas have average list prices for single family homes or condos above $1 MM. Logan Square joined the ranks this year but that shouldn’t be too surprising since it includes part of Bucktown.
It’s really interesting to see what has happened to West Town (another smoking hot area) over the last year. A year ago the average list price for new construction single family homes was $1.1 MM. This year it’s $1.33 MM. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that home prices have gone up in that area by $230K in the last year because they are building bigger and nicer homes today than they were a year ago.
And I’m going to say the same thing I said last year when I looked at this graph. Look at the relative prices in Logan Square and West Town and consider how much closer they are to downtown than some of those other expensive community areas. They still represent excellent values.
So let’s take a more detailed look at exactly where all these new homes are in Chicago. I’ve mapped them below with single family homes marked by red balloons and condos marked by blue balloons. The map is interactive with some pretty cool features:
- You can click on the menu icon in the upper left corner to turn off/ on either the condos or the single family homes
- You can click on any of the markers to see more details of the property such as status, address, list price, closed price, # bedrooms, etc…
- You can click on the screen icon in the upper right corner to blow up the map to full screen
- And, of course, you can pan and zoom in and out on the map
If you are interested in purchasing new construction let me point out a big mistake that many buyers make. They go directly to the sales center/ listing agent – maybe because they are certain that they want to live in that development – which means that they don’t really have their own real estate agent. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the developer’s representative is looking out for you because they are not. They work exclusively for the developer. And for many of these developments if you don’t bring your own agent with you on your first visit then they will not share their commission with your agent.
Now, I’m not going to try to convince you that having your own real estate agent is going to get you a better deal because a lot of these developers just don’t negotiate and their terms are onerous. However, your own real estate agent can provide you with a valuable perspective on the process and help you through the duration, which can be quite long. More importantly, though, if you are working with a real estate agent that offers a commission rebate then you can end up getting some cash back at closing – which can be especially significant as your purchase price climbs above $500,000. For instance, at $1 MM it would not be unusual to get a $12,500 rebate. Sure beats letting the developer’s agent pocket that money.
Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area’s full service discount real estate brokerage. If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market, get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry, or you just think he’s the next Kurt Vonnegut you can Subscribe to Getting Real by Email using the form below. Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.