Back in 2008 Chicago real estate developers thought they could sell just about anything to real estate hungry consumers. And Belgravia Group, an otherwise highly respected Chicago real estate developer, decided to push the limits on that theory when they built the Union Row townhomes on 16th St., literally right next to the Dan Ryan (east side) and a set of railroad tracks. When I saw this development I wrote a series of 3 critical posts, one of which still holds the record for the longest and most entertaining comment thread of any of my blog posts. You can reach all 3 posts, the first of which includes shocking photos, by following successive links starting with my last post from 8 years ago: Last Union Row Townhomes Under Contract.
That record setting comment thread was initiated when I incurred the wrath of a digital marketing consultant working for Belgravia Group. As with most online debates we never reached any kind of agreement but, as I pointed out at the time, the truth would be in the resales. It's been 8 years now so I thought it would be interesting to check in on them but, first, let's refresh the history of this development.
A Little Background On The Union Row Townhomes
In all fairness these things were built in 2008 as the housing market was already crashing so we can't be sure what kind of price slashes would have been necessary to sell out the development if the overall housing market hadn't been cratering. However, a couple of the 2460 sq ft, 3 bedroom, 3 bath units at 630 W 16th sold for $425 - 430K but only after the list price had been slashed from $600K. You see what I mean? We don't know how much of that price cut was due to the overall housing market vs. Belgravia revisiting reality but that was a pretty steep cut.
However, it's now been 8 years since those sales and one of those $430K units at 630 W 16th just sold for $457K in June. Another 2900 sq ft, 4 bedroom, 4 1/2 bath unit at 614 W 16th just sold for $520K in May. Sadly, the purchase price on that latter townhome was $726,500 back in 2008. Ouch! Those poor people lost $200K after all these years! I don't think many homes are selling that far below their 2008 prices still. As I just reported last week, metro area condo/ townhome prices are basically back to their late 2008 level according to the Case Shiller index.
Both of those townhomes basically sold for $180 - 185/ SF compared to slightly older townhomes in University Village that are selling around $250/ SF last I checked. Clearly there is a huge discount for the location but it looks like Belgravia started out hoping that there would be no discount. Initially, as they found a few gullible victims, they were right. But then the market continued its downward spiral and buyers got more cautious. People who bought before the price cut got screwed but those that bought after the price cut did OK - not great but OK for the area.
In hindsight it looks like the final pricing on Union Row was about right, proving once again that you can sell anything at the right price. And sometimes you can sell the right buyer something at too high a price also.
#Townhomes #UnionRow #Belgravia
Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area's full service real estate brokerage that offers home buyer rebates and discount commissions. 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.