About 5 years ago I got really intrigued by the strange land west of the Kennedy between Grand and Division. I noticed quite a few new construction homes going up there and thought for sure this was some kind of misguided construction boom – the wrong homes in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time.
Well, it turns out that I was generally right but my perception of the neighborhood was off a bit. Many of those builders ended up bankrupt and their properties ended up as foreclosures but that was more a sign of the times than a sign that the neighborhood was a bad bet.
Fast forward 5 years and my wife and I are looking for a new home. We can’t find what we want in our price range in the South Loop or in University Village for that matter. We could have found it further north but my wife can be really stubborn.
So eventually I suggested we check out that West Town strip that I had only casually observed in the past and we quickly realized that this could work for us. There were plenty of newer construction homes, with more on the way, the prices were a lot lower than the more popular areas of the city, we liked the neighborhood, and it was still close enough to the places we wanted to be able to easily get to. We bought a single family home there about 4 months ago, though we just moved in a few weeks ago because of all the work it needed (it really didn’t need all that work but once you get started on these projects it’s hard to control yourself.)
We searched all the way from the highway to Western but the area we finally settled in is called East Village, as in East Ukrainian Village (we must be village people because we lived in University Village for almost 10 years.), the borders of which are Division, Grand, Ashland, and Damen. I’ve always been intrigued by all the new single family home construction in this area because I don’t really see this much construction elsewhere in Chicago. Finally I decided to quantify it to see just how pronounced the phenomenon was. So I pulled up all the single family homes built after 2005 and listed after 2006 and graphed them below.
I was actually surprised by what I saw. First of all, as you can clearly see from the map, there has been basically no development of single family homes north of Chicago in the last 6 years. However, there have been at least 54 newer homes built in the tiny portion of East Village just south of Chicago where I live. That’s a pretty high density.
At the same time, north of Chicago there has been plenty of newer construction but it’s been almost all condos. South of Chicago there have been far fewer condos built. The difference probably has to do with the economics of building. As you move north the land gets more expensive and is probably more conducive to condo development. In my immediate neighborhood teardowns have recently been purchased around $190,000.
As an example, Noah Properties has built 4 new homes in the 1800 block of Erie over the last year. The homes are really well thought out with ultra modern, high end finishes and have sold within 30 days. Their most recent project is at 1854 W Erie, which has the highest price yet: $900,000. They will probably get close to that amount in under 30 days. I’m pretty sure this is a sign of the trend in the neighborhood.