Is Luxury Real Estate Going to the Dogs Or Not?

Since I specialize in higher end real estate, a recent article about $1 million+ home sales by Chicago Magazine’s real estate writer, Dennis Rodkin, was very informative.  By way of attribution the following data comes from his article at chicagomag.com.

For Chicago Metro area $1 million+ home sales, the slip-off from the glory years has been dramatic – from 2,403 sales of $1 million+ homes in 2006 to 1,363 $1 million+ properties for the year ending June 30, 2011.

But there was some resurgence in the Near North area of downtown Chicago.  Maybe the Baby Boomers from the Suburbs are coming back into downtown Chicago from the suburbs!  Here’s my thinking:

For Winnetka, Lake Forest, and Hinsdale, the number of $1 million+ home sales went up from 264 in 2010 to 285 in 2011, possibly indicating that older Baby Boomers were shedding their homes to younger, growing-family type owners, while the number of $1 million+ home sales in Near North Chicago also went up from 206 in 2010 to 227 in 2011, possibly indicating that the Baby Boomers were swapping their suburban mansions for downtown 2 and 3 Bedroom luxury condos!

This brings up another interesting issue that is coming on strong at some of the luxury buildings in central Chicago, namely whether there should be a weight limit on dogs in the building or not.  You see, while Suburban mansion owners often downsize the square footage of their homes when they move to the downtown area their dogs stay mansion-sized!

So, there is an invasion of new 40, 50, and 60+ pound canines sharing elevators with old-school luxury unit owners who are used to the smaller breeds long favored in our posh high rises!

The results have been interesting to say the least.  I know of a lawyer who was going to buy a condo in a building that did not allow dogs at all.  He didn’t want to have to give up his four legged friend, so he came up with the idea of putting the condo in his dog’s name!  Problem solved, and the building went ahead and changed their policy across the board.

At my building, One Museum Park, there is a proposal on the agenda for the October 25th Board meeting to enact a weight restriction where there has been no restriction up until now.  I believe it will hurt sales in the building, what with so many Suburban prospects wanting to bring their big dogs along!  I’ll keep you all posted how it goes.

Finally, all this doggie discussion gives me an excuse to post a picture of me and my dog Frankie and my friend’s dog Reiser.  Frankie is the little feisty one while Reiser just wants to give kisses to everyone he sees! 

Frankie came from PAWS up on Clybourn while Reiser was rescued from a shelter out by Starved Rock State Park.  I don’t know what my friend will have to do with Reiser if they put in a restriction – maybe he’ll be grandfathered in!  Stay tuned for my next Blog Post!

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