There’s been a fair amount of new construction in Chicago over the last 12 months and it has been concentrated in a few really hot areas. Also, as you might expect, the character of this new construction is very different depending upon the area. So I decided to create a quick overview of the hottest areas – how much activity there is and what the price points are. There are a few surprises along the way and I might take a deeper dive over the next few weeks.
I collected all the listings either closed, on the market, or under contract during the last 12 months with either 2014 or 2015 construction dates and plotted them on this really cool interactive map below (if you’re reading this via your email subscription you’re going to want to click on the post title to switch to the Web version). Condos are in blue and single family homes are in red. In case you are not familiar yet with all the features of these interactive maps:
- 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
- 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
I then aggregated the activity by community area (I used the term neighborhood loosely in the title of this post) and graphed the results below, ranked by the total number of condo and single family units. (Fortunately, I just happened to get the colors consistent with the map colors.) As you can see West Town, Logan Square, and North Center are the hottest areas by this measure. West Town clearly has more condos being built than any other area but Logan Square has more single family homes being built.
I do need to point out one flaw in my methodology though. Large developments don’t usually have all their units listed on the MLS simultaneously so these projects could be severely undercounted. This will hit areas with large building under construction especially hard. For instance on the Near South Side 1345 S Wabash has 144 units but I only count 53 that have gone through the MLS thus far. Similarly, 4 E Elm on the Near North Side has 35 units but only 5 show up on the MLS at this time.
I also looked at the average list prices of these homes and plotted them in the graph below, roughly sorted by the list price of single family homes, where available. As you might expect there is a strong correlation between the price of single family homes and the price of condos in these areas. And, no surprise, the most expensive areas are in the Near North Side, Lincoln Park, and Lake View. What is a surprise is that Uptown has had some really expensive single family homes built recently. I’m going to have to take a closer look at that.
What is interesting is that, given their proximity to downtown, West Town and Logan Square appear to have the best values. That explains why there is so much activity there.
As I pointed out in a December post there can be quite a few challenges to buying new construction in Chicago. I wasn’t trying to discourage anyone from going down this path but if you decide to buy new construction just be aware of the potential pitfalls.
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