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House Hunters Have Choices To Get a Good Deal as Market Revives

  • July 31, 2012

by Don DeBat

Home in Beverly on the Southwest Side where median prices rose year-over-year

House hunters don’t have to have a degree in rocket science to realize that residential real estate is destined to come roaring back as soon as the employment and the economy improves.

So, with home-loan interest rates the lowest in more than 60 years, the question people are asking is: Where should you buy to get the best deal in the coming residential revival?

With gasoline prices still sky high, the far suburban tract-home builders are offering affordable prices, but unless you have a job near rural towns such as Plainfield, Yorkville and Minooka the long commute may tax you.

That may be why local governments in some municipalities are cutting permit fees, water and sewer fees and park and school donations by as much as 50 percent to lure home builders to far-out communities.

Long commuting time also may be why Motorola Mobility decided to move 3,000 employees from Libertyville to the Merchandise Mart in the River North neighborhood downtown. Of course, the $100 million in state incentives also played a part in the move.

If the city of Chicago is your target area, solid housing choices abound in neighborhoods that currently have rising resale values.

On the North Side, you really can’t go wrong buying in wealthy Lincoln Park, where median resale values for a home or condo rose to $421,000 in January of 2012, up from $401,000 in the same month in 2011, according to MLS statistics.

The Lincoln Park neighborhood also has big plans on the drawing board for more new housing as the recession ends. McCaffery Interests is proposing to building three high-rise towers on the recently vacated Children’s Memorial Hospital site at Lincoln and Fullerton avenues over a three-year span.

In Edgewater, another high-demand lakefront neighborhood, median values rose to $191,000 in January of 2012, up from $188,500 a year earlier.

On the Northwest Side try Portage Park, where media resale prices rose to $183,500 in January of 2012, up from $177,250 in the same month a year ago.

In Forest Glen, resale prices held relatively flat at $328,750 in January of 2012, compared with $329,500 a year earlier. Nearby, at Edgebrook Glen development in the Edgebrook-Sauganash area, new home prices now start at $389,000 for a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath residence with a 2-car attached garage.

Or, shop in quiet Edison Park, at the Far Northwest tip of Chicago, which posted median prices of $257,500 at the beginning of 2012, up from $244,750 in January of 2011.

On the Southwest Side, try leafy Beverly, one of the most rock solid neighborhoods in the city, where median prices rose to $221,250 in January of 2012, up from $199,500 a year earlier.

Values also are rising in some neighborhoods on the South Side. In Kenwood, President Barak Obama’s neighborhood, median resale prices skyrocketed to $304,250 in January of 2012, from $185,000 in the same month in 2011.

In Oakland, median home and condo values rose to $263,000 in January of 2012, up from $205,000 a year earlier.

There are bargains at the Lake Park Crescent community in the Kenwood-Oakland neighborhood. Formerly priced at $498,000, the new-construction duplex CityHomes now are close-out priced from $229,800. One-bedroom CityHomes, once priced at $219,000, have just been reduced to $109,800.


Don DeBat’s weekly real estate column is syndicated by DeBat Media Services. For more home-buying information visit his website at:

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