Rent or Buy

Signing off

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

I've enjoyed spending the last 10 and a half months sharing the news and features of residential real estate here on ChicagoNow. Coming from a background in commercial real estate, I've found the two worlds are very different, although both very intersting and constantly changing especially in times of recession.

Some of my favorite stories have included showings of new buildings or renovated space, coverage of celebrities homes and Chicago's loss of the 2016 Olympics.Homes really do affect so many aspects of our lives and the news we're interested in. My opinions of the market have changed every week. I've also enjoyed blogging and some of the feedback I've gotten from my readers.

Recently, I've been offered an expansion of my role at my full-time job as the Chicago reporter for Bisnow, the internet business meda corporation based in Washington, D.C. I currently cover commercial real estate there, and will soon also be writing about non-profit and trade associations for the publication's national Associations Bisnow.

I plan to continue commenting on ChicagoNow when possible, and I hope, if you're interested, you continue to follow whoever takes over my spot here. Thanks so much for your support and opinions!

Sales increase, housing discrimination, new play in this week's real estate news

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Here's a round up of the real estate news in Chicago this week.

-Sales rose 29 percent this January over January 2009 Crain's reports that sales were also up 14 percent over last month, although prices are down about 5.4%

-HUD is asking gay couples to help with anti-discrimination study It's illegal to discriminate against homosexuals for affordable housing in Chicago, but the Washington Post says homosexuals are helping out in a study to find out how often discrimination may occur.

-'Clybourne Park' explores racism in Chicago neighborhoods The play is a reverse 'Raisin in the Sun', showing what happens to a white family that moves into a traditionally black neighborhood, according to a Canadian Press review.

-Sales of previously owned homes down in January Bloomberg reports sales of existing homes were down 7.2 last month, which indicates that lack of job growth is outpacing first time homebuyers.

-Recovery will never get as high as we were Medill Reports says that housing sales are still slow despite first time homebuyer tax credits. Home sales will not return to 2006 levels,bt maintain a lower sustained stability in the future.

Aqua named building of the year

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Congratulations to the Aqua Tower, which was named Skyscraper of the Year by Emporis, according to Contract Magazine. The 81-story building opened this spring in Lakeshore East and is currently home to condos and apartments, and will soon house a hotel.

The tower beat out O14 in Dubai, which finished second, and Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, which placed fifth. The building won the award based on both design and practicality.

I think the building has made a great addition to the skyline, and also provides some unique housing stock at not-outrageous prices. Since it's likely to be a long time before we build another tower of this magnitude, I'm glad one of the last condo/apartment projects in recent years will be a cool-looking building. The amenities top a lot of other buildings in Chicago and it helps create a great community. So for me, the design is just the beggining of a great project overall.

Alta at K Station opens next week

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

The largest apartment project in more than a decade has its soft opening for March 1, says developer Steve Fifield (whom I happened to interview for my full-time gig earlier today) The two towers total 848 units with a state of the art fitness center.

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The towers will include studio, one and two bedroom apartmens across the street from a Jewel-Osco in the River West neighborhood. The luxury units will most likely start renting with two months of free rent due to the recession a nd competition from other units. Designed by Pappageorge Haymes and built by McHugh Construction, the towers are the latest in a series of towers that includes Echelon and Left Bank.

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Fifield is pursuing LEED-Silver  certification  for the buildings. The amenities include a 32k-SF fitness center as well as a 22-seat home theater and business center.The community also includes a park.

Rents start at about $1,200 per month and you can rent the units online here.

Social media, address change and reality tv homes in this week's real estate news

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Here's a round-up of this week in real estate news.

-Real estate agents, as well as the Festival of Homes, are using social media to attract potential buyers This Tribune advertorial helps you use Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to navigate home sales.

-1000 Lakeshore Drive is now 130 W. Oak Street. Residents of the tower are going to miss their LSD address, but postal and emergency employees were tired of going to the wrong building, says this Chicago 77 article.

-The Jersey Shore house is for rent for hundreds of dollars per night  CNN reports that other reality show homes have sold for large sums, including the Real World Chicago house, which is now a gym

-Begravia Group chops prices, sells tons Housing wire reports that the company is reducing prices up to $100,000 in a downtown building and has accounted for 79 percent of new construction sales this year.

-Fed increases discount rate- the increase is small and is likely a response to the potential for inflation.

North Mayfair named one of best "old-house neighborhoods"

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Looking for a cute old home? Try North Mayfair on the Northwest side near Pulaski and Elston, says This Old House magazine. The article about the 51 best old home neighborhoods in the U.S. reported that you could find a bungalow in the 'hood from abou $218,000.

The neighborhood keeps in shape with the help of its North Maywood Improvement Agency, which helps keep out oversized developments and cleans up local parks. Pictures of the neighborhood look almost suburban and I love the effort the neighborhood is taking to keep some of the characer in the classic Chicago bungalows.

Bungalows can be a fun alternative to new construction condos ifyou don't mind living a little further from the Loop or are ooking for something with a small yard or separation of floors. If I had the inclination to fix up a property, I could see a lot of value in owning one of these cute pieces of property.

Hollywood, foreclosures, South Loop Tower in this week's Chicago real estate news

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Here's a roundup of this week's real estate news

-Suburban firm involved in Hollywood sign real estate controversy Geneva-based Fox River Finanical has slated two home sites which would be built over the 'H.' The firm says they will be far enough above the sign to not affect the view.

-Distressed assets now account for 34% of home sales in Metro Chicago RE/MAX reports that more than 1/3 of homes sold are foreclosures or short sales. More are taking place in the suburbs, and places like Lincoln Park and Winnetka still hve normal levels of foreclosure.

-Developer loses control of South Loop condo Unable to come up with $38 million of his ownfunds to pay for a mezzanin loan, developer Allison Davis is suing Fidelity Investments, according to Crain's.

-Glut of condos creating good deals for buyers Lots of new Chicagoans or first time homebuyers are getting better deals than anticipated, the Tribune reports.

-Couple reports that bankers are getting better at short sales Suburban real estate team says the next three to six months will be critical for getting a good deal on distressed properties, now that lenders and buyers have more experience with them, according to this Daily Herald article.

 

520 W. Wellington: Open House of the Week

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

The third-story east side of this three flat was refinished within the last five years and is currently listed at $475,000.The unit has been lowered from $525,000 since the unit has been on the market since June. Its large, well-finishe kitchen and long hallway make a luxurious space complete with a rooftop deck.

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Double-dip for real estate?

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

MarketWatach recently reported that 29 of the U.S.'s 143 markets are now in decline again after a short period or recovery. The potential for a W-shaped housing market recession exists, but may not be as bad as we think: Another 29 markets are on their way up.

Chicago isn't on either list, which, I would assume, means the market should be holding relatively stable.

I think there may be a little bit too much panic over the potential for the W. With markets going both directions, I think the news is more indicative of the fact that the housing market problems are localized than anything else. The report from Zillow.com indicates that New York and Los Angeles are both on the list of housing markets on their way up, and I think that shouldn't be a surprise: Those are probably markets where job growth would make sense.

The theory that we may be "bouncing along the bottom" maekes sense to me. Stabilization may be on its way, but not quite permanently yet until consumer confidence and employee ob confidence returns. I also think when we stop seeing as many homes foreclosed, we may look to buy more.

Double-dip for real estate?

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

MarketWatach recently reported that 29 of the U.S.'s 143 markets are now in decline again after a short period or recovery. The potential for a W-shaped housing market recession exists, but may not be as bad as we think: Another 29 markets are on their way up.

Chicago isn't on either list, which, I would assume, means the market should be holding relatively stable.

I think there may be a little bit too much panic over the potential for the W. With markets going both directions, I think the news is more indicative of the fact that the housing market problems are localized than anything else. The report from Zillow.com indicates that New York and Los Angeles are both on the list of housing markets on their way up, and I think that shouldn't be a surprise: Those are probably markets where job growth would make sense.

The theory that we may be "bouncing along the bottom" maekes sense to me. Stabilization may be on its way, but not quite permanently yet until consumer confidence and employee ob confidence returns. I also think when we stop seeing as many homes foreclosed, we may look to buy more.

Still amazed at the downtown condo market

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Crain's reported yesterday that condos sales were up in the fourth quarter in the downtown market, but I'm still shocked at how many units are left. Realtors moved 148 units in the 4th quarter, up from a measly 56 units in the third. But there's still 3,000 unsold units on the market.

How can we have missed the mark by that much? It's a good thing we're not building anything new because at this pace it's going to take almost ten years to sell off what we have left in the downtown alone. And with unemployment still high, it's going to be a while before we can get buyers on board with the mostly luxury units that were built in the mid to late 2000's.

Developers need to use this cycle as a lesson- build conservatively. We got overexcited by the number of people who thought that real estate was always the best investment, and now some of those same people are hesitant to buy because they're afraid they won't gain value on their home. Buyers and sellers are going to need to start coming to terms so we can get the market moving again and regain the confidence that these homes will gain value again.

Auction, wealthy homeowners, new investor in this week's Chicago real estate news

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Here's a round up of what happened this week in Chicago real estate:

- Prairie Pointe is auctioning its last 13 units in the South Loop The Tribune reports the Central Station building will be up for bid March 14 at 2 p.m. at the Hilton, 720 S. Michigan.

-Upper income homebuyers are an increasing percentage of foreclosures Chicago Public Radio says that low-income foreclosures have remained about the same, while wealthy buyers tended to overextend their loans more. Condo foreclosures have more than tripled over the last three years in Chicago.

-A new development group is taking over 222 E. Pearson The new owner will offer units on the formerly REO condo building for 25-40 percent off of their original price. Some Realtors see this as a good way to bring buyers and sellers together on price, Crain's reports.

-RE/MAX advises buyers to look for properties that will keep their value Good neighborhoods and schools will help you retain or increase the value of your investment.

-Parking garage open at new apartment building You can now self-park at 215 W. Washington, which has also started pre-sales on its new green luxury apartment units.

 

Should Giannoulias' lending record matter?

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Over the last few weeks as the Giannoulias family's Broadway Bank has come  into news headlines for nearly failing. Alexi Giannoulias, now the Democratic party candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Rolan Burris, is coming under fire for his possible involvement in the bank's  lending problems.  A good summary of the issues is available here from the New York Times.

Alexi has avoided answering a lot of questions, although NYT cites that he is reponsible for 9 percent, or almost $22 million of the bank's bad loans.

When you look at it, $22 million over the four years he worked at the bank is a drop in the bucket. $22 million accounts for probably between 20 and 50 home loans. I think the bigger question may be what percentage of the loans he approved were bad loans, and also what percentage of loans he actually approved.  While he may have been present for some of the larger discussions about construction and development loans, he was clearly never the sole decision maker on those pieces.

The other issue should be whether or not he's willing to accept accountabilty. In Illinois right now, it's probably better to come out and say it if you've made a mistake rather than attempting to get by.

The main issue we should be looking at, though, is Giannoulias' performance as State Treasurer. His voice will be just one of one hundred in the Senate, but his policy is more visible from his experience in government than his experience in banking. Not to say his lending record shouldn't matter at all, but it should represent just a piece of how we see him as a candidate- and a much smaller piece than the political decisions he's made over the last four years.

Absorbing the stock

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

On Monday, Crain's reported that the new homes market had basically been "obliterated," with new home sales down 88.7 percent from their peak in 2005. Essentially, demand for new product has dried up because we haven't sold all the existing homes on the market, and those who don't have to sell their homes and move aren't doing so.

What does this mean for you as a buyer or potential buyer?

-You probably won't see anything new being built for quite a while. So something you see that was built a couple years ago but hasn't sold yet may be one of the newer places available on the market.

-You may be able to get newer or unlived-in homes for lower prices, since developers or owners may be trying to get rid of them to move on to their next project.

-As demand increases again, you may have fewer options when buyters go after the new units that are remaining, so if you are looking now it might be better to get in before everyone else does.

-While demand is still low for condos, there may be less available in terms of apartments, since a lot of echo boomers are now renting instead of buying. 

3033 N. Sheridan: Open house of the week

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

LOTS of pictures ahead...

There's several units available at this in-renovation building near Sheridan and Wellington. FHA-approved, there's a special deal on financing right now:4.5 percent interest on a 30 year fixed loan with 5 percent down. There's junior one-bedrooms through three bedrooms and deeded parking available. Building amenities inccllude a skydeck with grills, choices to upgreade and construct units and on-site ZipCar service  

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Giannoulias, neighborhoods, transportation in this week's real estate news

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Here's a wrap-up of this week's real estate news:

-Alexei Giannoulias declined to provide detals on his family's struggling Broadway Bank: The candidate for U.S. Senator was previously a senior loan officer at the bank and says he no longer has access to the records that could determine whether or not he chose to put too much money into residential loans.

- Naperville appraiser reports some neighborhoods maybe on the way to increasing in housing prices again: The Sun-Time reports that a handful of suburbs and  north side neighborhoods have less than a six months supply of homes left.

-Longer commutes linked to more foreclosures in three different cities, including Chicago, those who commute more are often the ones who can't pay their mortgages. This may be because loan officers don't consider cost of transportation in their decision to lend  or not to lend, according to the SF gate.

-RE/MAX reports strong uptick of homesales in the fourth quarter The Realtor saw its units just 36 percent from the previous year, with listings in the city up by 8.2 percent.

-Local renovater builds homes for life The Chicago Tribune profiles a surburban remodeler who helps local residents gain value in their homes. 

Legacy almost sold out

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

I hadn't thought about downtown condo development in a while because, well, there hasn't been much of it lately. But this morning I ran into the developer, general contractor and architect for the new Legacy Tower on East Monroe Street at an Urban Land Institute breakfast and talking to them made me pretty excited about their project. Here's a photo from the building's website (http://www.thelegacyatmillenniumpark.com/home.asp) of a southeast view from the 48th floor

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Developed by Mesa Development LLC, built by Walsh Construction and designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz, the 72-story tower is 90 percent sold out- surprising in this market but not surpising because of the vastnumber of amenties in the buiding. Residents are partnered with the nearby University Club so they can use the skywalk from their building for the club's amenities. The building also has glass curtainwalls, sky gardens and a fitness center with lap pool.

I'm working on getting a tour of the building maybe next month, and am hoping to see more developments like this in the downtown... eventually.

Going up in Uptown

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Crain's and GlobeStreet reported  today that developer Marty Paris of Sedgewick Properties has proposed a plan for a new $350 million, three-building development in the Uptown neighborhood.  The buildings would include 850 condo units, a grocery store, fitness center and hotel and would go up in phases over the next five years. Each building would be 20-45 stories tall.

Uptown has had its fair share of issues lately, but in my opinion, the neighborhood has some potential. It has some decent nightlife spots, and could capitalize on its proximity to Wrigley the way Lakeview and to some degree, Lincoln Park and Roscoe Village have. But many Uptown residents and other blog posters see the potential problems that might arise with putting so many units into a soft housing market. See reactions on Uptown Update here.

My hope would be that five years from now, housing won't be in the slump it is today. I would also hope lenders wouldn't be willing to issue a construction loan if they didn't feel like this is a project that could sell (or if it didn't have significant pre-sales). On the other hand, I do share some of the concerns: if there are still vacant units in already trendy neighborhoods, why would buyers choose pre-sale units? I think most buyers are more comfortable in a home they can actually see and walk around in.

I also think that holding an open hearing with some of the neighborhood associations might be positive for the developer. I've generally found that neighborhoods like openness about a plan, whether they support it or not.  

525 W. Hawthorne: Open house of the week

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

If you like high up views of the Lake and the north side, this may be the unit for you. The two-bedroom, one bath top floor unit is on sale for $274,900 or available for rent at $1,700 per month. The place has been recently refurbished and includes a doorman, fitness center and pool in the $509 monthly association fees.

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Rex Grossman, White House, condo prices in this week's real estate news

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Here's a round- up of the real estate news from this week:

- Rex Grossman took a $700,000 hit on his Trump Tower condo: The Sun-Times reports the 36th floor, 2-bedroom, 2-bath unit sold for $2 million,  after Rex bought it for $2.68 in 2008.

-The White House has declined in value, according to Zillow: The 55,000 square foot, 132 room house is down from $308 million to $292.5 million- a smaller drop than the last year Bush lived there, when it fel from $331 million.

-Chicago area condo prices are back to 2004 levels: Condo owners are a bit better off than single family homeowners, whose properties are still at 2003 levels, according to the Tribune. Showing once again that homes don't always gain value.

At properites is now the #1 brokerage in Chicago: PR Newswire reports that the 10 year old local firm topped Coldwell Banker in the city with a 28 percent market share.

St. Stephen's apartment complex sold : Rogers Park based developer Barry Chernawsky bought the property for $4.6 million, from a Los Angeles based owner.

The greenest home in Chicago

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

I'm always trying to find the next easy thing to do to go green- changing out my showerhead, carrying a nalgene water bottle instead of buying bottled water, or recycling my old running shoes. But one Chicagoan has gone above and beyond those little things and built the greenest home in the Midwest.

I attended a lecture at the Chicago Archictecture Foundation yesterday by one of the home's architects, Farr Associates Jonathan Boyer

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Jonathan says the home's green features actually make it so the home produces more energy than it consumes. Its owner, Michael Yannell, still pays an electric bill so that there is electricity to the Northwest Side home. There's also a hefty cost associated with building the home: Jonathan estimates about $500-600 per square foot.

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The 2,675 square foot house is designed in a U shape, with one side of the U just one story tall and the other two stories. The connecting foyer has a heating system that can be turned on and off so you don't have to pay for heating in that part of the building during the winter.

The home also re-uses graywater from rainwater runoffs and the bathtub in the plumbing system (Jonathan says they even considered waterless toilets). This was an expensive feature, running aout $40,000 and costing the builders a lot of time in getting approved by the city. The butterfly roof houses photovoltaic panels while allowing them to reflect into the middle of the roof rather than giving off glare to the street.

The home is heated by a geothermal system, which essentially stores the heat given off by the airconditioning in the summer to be used in the winter. A green roof over the garage and planned landscaping give it the finishing touches any green home would need.

A lot of green and architectural blogs have already coverd the Yannell home. Here's a few:

http://www.leedforhomesillinois.org/single-family/chicagos-yannell-residence-wins-builders-award-138

http://www.greenbeanchicago.com/leed-for-homes-project-vies-for-zero-net-energy/

http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/theskyline/2009/07/going-net-zerofor-effect-1stofitskind-home-in-chicago-will-produce-as-much-energy-as-it-uses.html

 

 

 

 

 

Investors' mindset

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Just came across this article by Luca Ricciardiello on the steps women should take before investing in a property. I wrote a post a few months back on why women are more likely to invest in residential real estaet and I like Luca's insight into the topic because I don't have the investors' mindset.

Luca says to invest you need to have the unconscious desire to create wealth, and deep down inside, I just don't. If I could create that desire or if it occurred naturally, maybe the idea of buying or investing in a home would be easier.

Luca also warns against getting caught up in the "homey" aspects of buying real estate. I think a lot of women, myself included, are drawn into the idea of a dwelling being a home and not a piece of property. We do get the appeal of the plate of sandwiches and coffee at an open house. We buy into the staging that looks like the place we would want to live in.

She says 80 percent of investing is getting into the mindset to invest and only 20 percent is financials. Think about a piece of property as a vehicle for wealth and you can make it happen. If you are someone who is looking to invest, do your research and get the right people on board with you. Sounds like a solid idea to me.

I'd like to learn more about investing in out of town properties- to me, a second home would be a better investment than the one I'm actually going to live in.

2741 N. Sheffield: Open house of the week

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

This eight-unit building is currently under construction, should be ready to move in in the next three weeks. In a strange turn of events, the general contractor was the one who took me on a tour of the building as the Realtors were busy with other clients. The nice thing is, he seems open to the idea of changing some of the finishes if the buyer isn't crazy about them.

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Loan modifications, Sam Zell, Kirk Hinrich in this week's real estate news

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Here's a round-up of this week's Cicago real estate news.

1. About 20 percent more of Illinois homeowners are taking advantage of the government's home affordable modification program Some are temporary and some are permanent. Some may not make it still if they don't make the payments. But the average home loan modifier paid $500 less for their home last month.

2. Kirk Hinrich sold his Deerfield home for $730,000 This SFgate.com article says he paid over $900k for it and it was once listed for $949k. He now lives in Bannnockburn, in a 9,270 square foot mansion.

3. Sam Zell says the worst is over in the housing market In this CNBC article, he reports that international real estate he owns in Brazil is doing well, and that the thinks the housing market was overextended with many fraudulent loans.

4.Chicagoland mansions photo gallery posted: the Huffington Post allows you to browse through homes between $10 million and $28million in Chicago and its suburbs.

5. Home foreclosures up 32% this year in Chicago This Crain's article reports that 1 in 40 homes in Chicago is now in foreclosure, making it the 9th worst market for foreclosures

Prices reduced at 565 Quincy

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Looking for new construction in the West Loop? The Belgravia Group and @properties are reducing prices at 565 Quincy.

Prices on junior one-bedrooms now start at $164,000, with a 2-bedroom 2-bath running you $331,000. The building focuses a lot on the common area amenities in  its "Q Room," which include bowling lanes, pool tables, a fitness center and a theater room. The locaton is close to Union Station, for those  who commute out to the suburbs, and walking distance from a lot of Loop buildings.

The 11-story building has only been open since April and includes a doorman. I've been in the Q Room, it's a great amenity if you like to throw parties. The units combine loft and luxury feels, which creates a more flexible resale.

The neighborhood is one that is on its way up, and it's near enough to the Loop that you won't miss out on any daytime activities. If you like taking the L to the neighborhoods for the nightlife, the walk might be a little long in the winter, but generally not bad.

Chicago vs. LA

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

I finally got fed up with Chicago winters and hauled off to Los Angeles to visit a friend who had formerly lived in Chicago last week. While I'm definitely thrilled to have enjoyed 70-75 degree days and 50-60 degree evenings, I'm not sure LA trumps Chicago in terms of living conditions.

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Quicker short sales a win-win?

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

The opening of 2010 also celebrates what will (hopefully) be an era of quicker short sales. New government guidelines don't take effect until April, but since many short sales were taking 4-8 months to complete, the rules may start impacting sales soon.

In April, the banks will have just 10 days to accept or reject an offer on a short sale. This saves months of waiting on the part of the homeowner and buyer, but still give the bank the opportunity to get rid of the property without losing as much money as they would have on a short sale. So both the bank and the homeowner walk away better off than in a foreclosure

The other good news about quicker short sales is they will get many of the properties off the market so more homes can be absorbed. Once the inventory of short sale homes starts to dry up, we might start to see more people looking at new construction or regularly priced homes, bringing up home sale prices and demand for new properties.

For more information on how short sale guidelines will affect owners, buyers, and financial institutions, read this.

Predictions 2010

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

I find that the more predictions I read or hear about real estate, the more I realize that they're not so different from resolutions in all cases.

Personally, I tend to make resolutions more often when the year I'm exiting has been a crappy one. The last three years, I've saved them on my computer and discovered I try to be more optimistic when I feel lost, down or bored for much of the old year. When I'm getting out of a good year, I might not even make resolutions at all (be wary of this, it usually means you're about to enter a world of hurt.)

So this year, based on an amalgamation of predictions, I think we'll see a slow and steady first quarter, improvement in the second quarter and stabilization in the third quarter. This is based on the way the tax credits will be structured, as well as absorption of existing new units and traditional moving trends.

Here's what some others think:

Cyberhomes.com predicts a 20% increase in sales and a 2 to 4 percent increase in sales price, due to the tax credit and increase in demand.

North Shore Home Connection is looking forward to selling more and encouraging potential home buyers and sellers to get out there and do it in 2010.

For you renters, Chicago Integrated Marketing is predicting Zillow will overtake Craigslist as the source for finding new apartments with its new map widget.

 

Year/decade in review, new Realtor laws in this week's real estate news

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

Welcome to 2010! Here's the real estate news for the last week:

- There's going to be a renting bubble in 2010:The Sun-Times predicts that the 2,200 new apartment units coming online in the downtown area will cause a glut in 2010. Also, prediections on the Spire and Block 37.

-Education requirements increased for real estate pros:Illinois Government News Network says governor Quinnhas signed a billinto law that brings the requiredhours of education from 45 to 120 hours. The entry level title for real estate professionals is now "broker" and "managing brokers" require even higher levels of education in 2010.

-Middle Eastern firm invetes in residential protect in Chicago: Kuwait Finance House owns 95% of the Prism Company project, with a $242 million investment, according to Reuters.

-Guess where Ivanka Trump stays when she's in Chicago? It comes as no surprise that the real estate heiress and professional loves Chicago for its food and shopping and stays in Trump International Hotel and Tower.

-The housing crunch is the number one source of economic decline this decade: The Sun-Times reports that over-lending has helped cause the biggest downturn since the 1930s, although there have been several other factors  in the mix as well. 

Home Price index returns to 2003 levels

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Maureen Wilkey

Writer on real estate from any angle

AgentGenius.com reported today that the Case-Shiller Home Price Index has returned to 2003 levels. The nine consecutive months of month-to-month increases in home sales indicate that we might be in recovery.

Chicago's one year change is still -10%, but that may indicate a lot of transactions at much lower prices, says Andrea Gellar, an agent with Sudler-Sotheby's in Chicago.

We should be aware that if Fed policies change or when the tax credit ends, there may be a backlash and fewer homes may be sold for a few months, negating some of the progress we've made this year. but if things continue on this track, maybe 2010 could be a good year for residential real estate. While some say weakness in housing starts indicates there won't be many new homes, I think that will help absorb the inventory already on the market.

Looking back over the past year, I think we'll see some pent up demand starting to enter the marketplace for second-time homebuyers or move-up buyers. They haven't been able to take advantage of the tax credit, but I'm sure some will be looking for new homes now, while they can get a good deal.


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