Prime Chicago Luxury Condos Still Selling In November

Even with the start of winter moving in, November was a healthy month for Chicago luxury condo sales, with $42 million in total sales volume. Of the 25 $1 million-plus homes sold, several of those were in the “ultra-luxury” category, selling for more than $2.5 million.

Although the Chicago condo sales in November don’t look as robust as they did in the middle of the year, it is interesting to note that ultra- luxury properties (I consider those to be sales from anywhere between $2.5 and $3.5 million) continue to sell in prime buildings in the right neighborhoods. In fact, last month’s top five properties sold included two units in 2550 Lakeview, a Lucien Lagrange-designed building in the heart of Lincoln Park. The building has exceptional views and one of the most elegant lobbies in the city.

Learn more: 2550 Lakeview Ave

See what’s on the market at 2550 Lakeview

As we’ve seen become the case in recent months, the primary motivating factor for Chicago luxury buyers is square footage, and November was no exception. The square footage of the top sales ranged from a low of 2,843 to a generous 5,600 square feet. I actually suggest to my clients shopping for a condo that they aim for a unit that is at least 3,000 square feet—this seems to be the number that most luxury buyers need to not feel as if they are sacrificing space if they’ve moved from a single-family home.

Let’s take a closer look at those top five sales to see what motivated luxury buyers last month:

25502550 N Lakeview Ave, Unit S3003
Original list price: $3.9 million
Sale price: $3.5 million
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a unit at Lincoln Park 2550 on the top sales list, likely because many residents who bought new construction here are in it for the long haul—but last month saw two sales in this beloved building designed by Lucien Lagrange. This magnificent, 30th-floor unit spans 3,679 square feet, including four bedrooms, 4.5 baths and two large terraces. The layout offers extraordinary east, north and west views that look out onto Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park and the city skyline. This unit in particular is one of just three on the floor, with 10-foot-8-inch ceilings and luxurious interior finishes throughout the formal living and dining room, large kitchen, family room, a spacious master suite with corner views and a separate utility/laundry room with a second service entrance. Lincoln Park 2550 has been a coveted building among luxury buyers, thanks to its full suite of amenities and services that include on-site management, a concierge and door person, spa-like fitness area with pool, sauna and steam room and a quarter-acre private park with dog run and playground. It’s Lincoln Park location makes it as easy walk to the many destinations within the park, lake Michigan, shops and public transportation.

4EastElm4 E Elm St, Unit 12S
Original list price: $3.4 million
Sale price: $3.48 million
This 3,516 square foot Chicago condo was yet another cash sale in the new construction building 4 East Elm. The building offers modern luxury living in its 35 half-floor residences, each of which has elevator entry into the unit. Residents here can also enjoy expansive city and lake views through at least three exposures. And the building itself is an ultimate oasis of luxury and privacy, with an outdoor pool, whirlpool, sun deck, fitness center, screening room and clubhouse lounge.

2430-n-lakeview2430 N Lakeview Ave, Unit 7-8S
Original list price: $3.48 million
Sold price: $3.2 million
This co-op was only open to a cash buyer, and its new owner was able to strike a pretty good deal on the price. A 5,600-square foot vintage duplex, this four-bedroom unit boasts incredible architectural details like an artistically carved wood-paneled living room with sculpted marble hearth and a matching wood-paneled library—both of which overlook the lake and park. Other features include an elegant dining room with fireplace, foyer with grand staircase, spacious eat-in kitchen and an outdoor common patio area.

Lincoln Park 2550 Lobby

2550 N Lakeview Ave, Unit S2401
Original list price: $3.199 million
Sold price: $3.175 million
This southeast-facing three bedroom unit is one of the building’s most highly desired tiers, with designer finishes, custom drapery and wall coverings and unparalleled views of Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park and the Chicago skyline. This 24th-floor unit offers a family room with fireplace and built-ins, a large dining room and formal living space with picturesque views, a chef’s kitchen with commercial-grade appliances and quartzite countertops and a master suite with spa-like master bath.

420-e-waterside420 E Waterside Dr, Unit 4310-14
Original list price: $2.95 million
Sold price: $2.85 million
Recently renovated and designed for upscale entertiaining, this 4,300 square foot penthouse boasts spectacular views in Streeterville. A large, open living space includes a luxurious kitchen, living room, bar and dining room that look out at a panoramic view of the city. In addition to envious views, floor-to-ceiling windows bring in abundant light throughout, including the four large bedrooms. Two full master suites have a separate seating area, soaker tub and huge closets. This unit is located in The Regatta, a full-amenity building with a fitness center, pool, game room, theater, party room and outdoor deck. Its location put residents here just steps away from Millennium Park, the riverwalk and a number of great restaurants.

For more information on last month’s luxury real estate sales in Chicago, or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Ultra-Luxury Homes Still Trending Among Chicago Home Sales in November

It’s not surprising that sales among luxury Chicago homes were down in November, with 32 $1 million-plus homes sold for a total of $50 million. However, we still saw a continuing trend from October, which was sales that favor the buyer, with deals closing at significantly lower prices than the original list price.

In November, four out of the top five homes sold were sold at at least $100,000 less than the original listing price. The discrepancy is a sign that sellers are being more flexible and realistic in getting their properties sold before winter officially moves in. And these homes are moving quickly—the top five homes sold in anywhere from two to 102 days. Sellers may not be willing to keep their homes on the market in order to hold out for their asking price.

Trends Among November Home Sales

Because this isn’t prime real estate season, there weren’t as many ultra high-end sales that we’ve seen in the last few months. The top sale was a modest $3.5 million. But one consistency we’ve continued to see is buyer’s gravitation toward properties on extra-wide lots. Four out of the top five sales were on lots larger than the typical 25 feet x 125 feet.

With that, let’s take a closer look at the top luxury Chicago homes that sold last month, in descending order:

21122112 N Sedgwick St
Original list price:
$3.45 million
Sold price: $3.45 million
This vintage home was gutted and awaiting renovation—the luxky buyer would have the opportunity to create their dream home in a coveted location in Lincoln Park. Situated on a 50 x 124 foot lot, the home was built to be 6,000 square feet but zoned to be expanded beyond 10,000 feet—all decisions the buyer will be able to make themselves. Features of the property include a four-car garage, hugh ceiling heights and amazing roof views.

12431243 W Wrightwood Ave
Original list price:
$2.95 million
Sold price: $2.8 million
This new construction home is a completely refreshing, unique design on a 37.5 x 125 foot lot. Inside is an amazing layout for everyday living and entertaining, with gracious room sizes and a custom eat-in kitchen. The kitchen’s details include quartzite countertops, dual Subzero refrigerator/freezers and a butler’s pantry. To make the most of Chicago summers, this home has over 1,500 square feet of outdoor space, including a huge raised patio, lush backyard and secluded rooftop terrace. The lavish master suite has an amazing closet space and true spa-like bath, and four generous-size bedrooms all sit on one level.

172172 W Eugenie St
Original list price:
$2.75 million
Sold price: $2.525 million
While this home is on a narrow lot—25 by 75 feet—it still spans more than 5,000 square feet with four bedrooms and 5.2 baths. This Lincoln Park/Old Town gem has been fully remodeled, including premium hardwood floors, designer light fixtures and hardware, elegant crown moldings and wainscoting throughout. The dream chef’s kitchen includes an imported French La Cornue oven range and stunning 8-foot kitchen island. There’s plenty of natural light inside and a rooftop deck with city skyline views outside. And finally, the great location is on a corner lot, tree-lined street just steps from beaches, parks, shopping, entertainment, dining and more.

431431 W Superior St
Original list price:
$2.699 million
Sold price: $2.51 million
This rare find in River North’s mansion district went through a full renovation in 2012 and has been meticulously maintained. Spanning about 7,000 square feet, it has been customized to perfection, featuring Brazilian cherry floors, a gourmet kitchen with two islands and Italian cabinetry, spa=like baths and an elevator to all floors. A central atrium and high ceilings brings in amazing sunlight throughout. On the top floor, a lavish master suite includes a kitchenette and two private terraces.

15421542 W Nelson St
Original list price:
$2.285 million
Sold price: $2.170 million
Another extra-wide (35.8 feet) corner lot, this beautiful brick custom home is full of remarkable details: Extensive millwork, gracious room sizes, high ceilings, oversized doors and windows and built-in custom cabinetry. On the second floor, you’ll find a sun-filled master suite with sitting room, fireplace, walk-in closet and lavish spa bath; laundry room; and three additional bedrooms. The penthouse level features an ensuite bedroom and a dreamy play space. On the lower level is an entertainment area, wet bar, office, laundry, bath, mudroom, abundant storage and an ensuite bedroom. This home also boasts spectacular outdoor spaces: three decks, plus a brick paver patio for play or car parking.

For additional information on the Chicago luxury homes that sold last month or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Excellent Deals For Buyers Purchasing Chicago Luxury Condos In October

The middle of October is a special time for real estate buyers. As I constantly emphasize to my clients, this is the best time to take action if you’re considering a purchase.

Mid-October is when deals are happening, and this past month was no exception. Sellers who have had the market advantage for much of the year are no longer in the driver’s seat, and you can see that all of the top five most expensive condos and co-ops to sell in October went for considerably below the asking price.

Every single luxury condo, including the co-op at 209 E Lake Shore, sold for big-time discounts from the original listing price. Each property exceeded the 3,000 square feet requirement that Chicago luxury condo buyers are looking for, as well.

But just because October is over doesn’t mean the ideal time to buy is not now.. You can see that luxury sales have started to slow down, and the number of high-end sales in excess of $2 million has come down dramatically from previous months. So buyers looking to purchase a Chicago condo could still have the upper hand now that it’s not prime season for sellers.

Here’s a closer look at the top five Chicago condos sold in October. Note the major differences between the listing prices and sale prices for each:

77-e-walton77 E Walton St, Unit 26F
Original list price: $3.475 million
Sold price: $3.11 million
In Chicago’s most desirable neighborhood, the Gold Coast, this exquisite luxury condo is fitted for modern living, with no expense spared. Features include custom kitchen cabinetry, built-in buried oak bar, beautiful hardwood floors, oversized doors and millwork throughout. Its 3,479 square feet are made into a smart, spacious floorplan that includes three ensuite bedrooms and 3.1 baths. This is also a full amenity building with multiple garage parking spaces and interior access to the Four Seasons Health Club.

445-e-north-water-st445 E North Water St, Unit 2601
Original list price: $2.7 million
Sold price: $2.5 million
This three bedroom (plus den) has fantastic lake, river and city views from its south-facing corner exposure in Streeterville. Spanning 3,983 square feet on the 26th floor, the unit includes a huge gourmet chef’s kitchen with granite, Subzero appliances and a wine cooler, along with several professionally organized closet spaces. The property also includes two parking spaces, a valuable commodity in this area of Chicago.

209ELakeShoreDr209 E Lake Shore Dr, Unit 6W
Original list price: $4.2 million
Sold price: $2.1 million
This Chicago co-op is city living at its finest. With 5,675 square feet, five bedrooms and 6.1 baths, this half-floor residence boasts a whopping 60-feet of Lake Michigan views. The building was once home to famed architect Benjamin Marshall, and is one of the finest, service-oriented co-ops in the city with full amenities, parking and a rear garden. This unit in particular offers exquisite architectural details and an extraordinary floorplan made for family living and entertaining.

180 E Pearson180 E Pearson St, Unit 7203
Original list price: $2.2 million
Sold price: $2.1 million
A spot on the 72nd floor brings three coveted qualities to this property: It’s quiet, private and offers unobstructed north, south and east views. This 3,320 square foot unit begins with a majestic entry foyer that makes an ideal showcase for artwork. A large living room overlooks the lake and city, and you’ll also find a wood-paneled library, three bedrooms with ensuite baths and his-and-her master closets. Residents of the Water Tower can enjoy the world-class amenities offered by the adjacent Ritz-Carlton Hotel, and the unbeatable location on Michigan Avenue puts them steps from superb dining, shopping and the lakefront.

180 E Pearson St, Unit 6104
Original list price: $2.4 million
Sold price: $2.1 million
Located in the southeast corner of the 61st floor of the Water Tower, this 4-bedroom Chicago condo was recently redone in marble, slate and granite finishes. Spanning 3,320 square feet, this unit boasts a raised floor in the living room to take advantage of the view, custom shelves, cabinetry and built-ins throughout, wood floors, custom closet designs and a DeGuilo kitchen with leaded glass-front cabinets and high-end appliances. The master bath—one for four baths in all—includes a Kohler jetted tub and steam shower.

For more info on the Chicago condos that sold recently and how what’s happening on the market might fit into your own search, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

October Luxury Home Sales in Chicago Show It’s a Buyer’s Market

They say the real estate market can change on a dime, and October’s luxury home sales in Chicago are certainly proof of that. Looking at the top sales for the month, it’s clear that many of the deals were made in favor of the buyer.

I’ve always encouraged buyers to get serious about their home search in the fall months, as the best time to purchase luxury real estate and obtain a real “deal” usually begins in mid-October and continues through the end of the year.

In the case of October’s Chicago luxury home sales, the list price versus the sold price shows some considerable discounting on these properties, showing that the buyers were in a good place to negotiate with motivated sellers who likely want to offload their properties before the end of the year.

Buyers Looking for Size, Outdoor Space in Chicago Luxury Homes

Another common denominator we can see among the top home sales in October is lot size. Three out of the top five homes sold were on lots larger than the standard 25 x 125 feet.

When it comes to luxury real estate, the lot size alone can tell us a lot. It typically means a more spacious interior with larger rooms, as well as big backyards or ample outdoor space. That’s why a large lot has become the standard that upper-bracket buyers are looking for, especially those coming from cities like New York and San Francisco and looking to maximize the space they get for their dollars.

In total, October saw 41 luxury single-family homes sold, for a total sales volume of $61 million. Let’s take a closer look at the five most expensive:

2122 N Seminary Ave
Original list price: $3.495 million
Sold price: $3.195 million

2122-n-seminary-aveSpanning 5,850 square feet, this stunning home was built to meet the highest standards. Some of the luxurious highlights include a handsome carved Indiana limestone façade, unusually tall ceilings, an extra-wide interior, solid walnut doors, substantial molding and trim, a custom elliptical staircase and three fireplaces. The interior décor comes from renowned designer and architect Joan Crag to create a comfortable, sophisticated aesthetic that is perfect for family living and entertaining. On the main level, you’ll find an English-style custom kitchen with a large island, built-in banquette and a pantry closet. Two large decks off of the family room as well as multiple rooftop decks provide plenty of room to enjoy Chicago’s summer weather. On the lower level, a recreation and media room offer even more entertaining space.

1302 N Ritchie Ct
Original list price: $2.795 million
Sold price: $2.55 million

1302-n-ritchie-ctLocated in the heart of the Gold Coast, this elegant Potter Palmer rowhouse has been gut renovated to ensure no detail or expense was spared in creating a timeless property made for modern living. On the first floor, find soaring ceiling heights, fireplaces in living and dining rooms, a custom kitchen with Italian limestone and top-end appliances. The second floor features two bedrooms and two baths, while the third floor is entirely dedicated to an extravagant master suite complete with lake views and a sumptuous marble bath with the finest fixtures. The fourth floor boasts two additional bedrooms, a stunning library with lake views, a fireplace and wet bar. At the very top, a roof deck offers lake views and at the bottom, a flexible lower level that can be used as a family or playroom. All new systems )elevator, HVAC, windows, doors, wiring, plumbing) made this home turnkey ready for the lucky buyer.

2131 N Kenmore Ave
Original list price: $2.47 million
Sold price: $2.4 million
2131-n-kenmore-aveThis home has a great Lincoln Park location that puts you just steps away from the best shopping and dining. The interior includes dramatic ceilings, custom moldings and state-of-the-art finishes that all culminate into a sophisticated aesthetic. An open living/dining room provides plenty of space to entertain, while the luxe eat-in kitchen has a butler’s pantry with wine fridge, large breakfast bar and custom stone flooring. A spacious great room includes custom-built storage and access to a bluestone terrace, garage deck and rooftop deck. The master suite is spectacular, with custom storage, fireplace, a private terrace, and a lavish bath. With six bedrooms, ample outdoor space and an attached two-car garage, this home is a rare find among Chicago homes for sale.

1839 N Burling St
Original list price: $2.695 million
Sold price: $2.385 million
1839-n-burling-stLocated on one of the most sought-after blocks in Lincoln Park, this transitional home opens to southern light and has all of the luxury bells and whistles throughout. The DeGiulo kitchen includes a Subzero fridge, two refrigerated beverage drawers, two dishwashers and a six-burner Wolf range with griddle. On the second level are four bedrooms, including a master suite with dual clostes and spa bath with steam shower, dual sinks, vanity and Jacuzzi tub. A penthouse family room has a wet bar, separate office and access to two rooftop decks with unbeatable city views. A long lot (131 feet) allows for a private backyard.

3657 N Greenview Ave
Original list price: $2.595 million
Sold price: $2.35 million
3657-n-greenview-aveThis huge Southport Corridor home is on a double corner lot (47 feet wide, compared to the standard 25 feet), making it an oasis within the city limits. Recent updates to the home include new windows, a new kitchen on the main level, a gut renovation to the master suite, a and new paint. The main level is fitted with charming pocket shutters, leaded glass windows, inlaid floors and a built-in hutch. This home is located in the Blaine School District, across the street from a playground and ideal for a buyer looking for character and outdoor space in the city.

To learn more about the homes that sold in October or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Minimalist Kitchens for Chicago Luxury Condos Are In

When it comes to luxury real estate, it’s all about the details—high end finishes, impeccable hardware, architectural nuances that bring a space to perfection. But it’s not only small details that go a long way. Every foot of living space is important for bringing a luxury condo to the next level, and one room in particular can go a long way for the luxury buyer: the kitchen.

Belmont Build

Photo by Scavolini Store Chicago via Houzz

We’ve seen a number of kitchen trends over the last few years, but the latest look for many luxury homeowners is gravitation toward a minimalist, European-style space that looks like it came directly from an Italian showroom. Design enthusiasts are using the kitchen as an architectural showpiece in their homes as a way to add value and a “wow” factor to their property.

The Wall Street Journal recently covered this trend, calling the Italian luxury kitchen the “Prada handbag of luxury real estate.” I’ve seen this trend among new construction properties as well, as developers enlist specialty kitchen designers to bring the minimalist look to the luxury client.

Combining Beauty and Function in Luxury Real Estate

The minimalist kitchen isn’t just about aesthetics, however. Cutting-edge design helps make the space not only beautiful, but fully functional as well, including all of the gadgets and appliances you might need for a fancy cooking show.

The key in the kitchen’s design is to retain the necessary functionality but have the appearance of a clutter free set-up. Key ways of doing this include:

  • Butler’s pantries that can remain completely out of sight
  • Retractable countertops
  • Pocket doors that hide countertop appliances
  • Recessed finger pulls to eliminate hardware

Today’s new construction kitchens are bringing all this and more, by the most noted brands in the industry. And the price tag is generally in line with the cache of the name behind it. The high-end, minimalist kitchen brings and element of fantasy to luxury property, akin to a coveted sports car parked in the driveway.

POGGI DESIGN

Photo by poggi design via Houzz

And because many Chicago condo buyers are still looking for space—at least 3,000 square feet—a smart kitchen design ensures that every bit of space is used effectively. The result is a luxury home that feels like a retreat after long days in the city.

If the minimal, European-modern style kitchen is one you’re coveting, you don’t have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the same effect. As afan of modern design myself, I redid my own kitchen with the minimalist look, taking some of the key elements and tricks of these showroom-worthy kitchens to increase the resale value of my home. In the end, I achieved a very similar result without having to import from the major high-end brands that come with the same high-end price tag, but still have the advantage of an updated property that will appeal to buyers when the time is right.

To learn more about making kitchen design updates that can boost the resale value of your home, or to talk about buying or selling a Chicago home, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

On the Chicago Real Estate Market: Pristine Penthouse Condo in the Heart of Wicker Park

outsideLocated on a spectacular street in Wicker Park, this extra-wide condo offers everything you’d want in a great location: Close to the neighborhood’s vibrant hub of activity, a high Walkscore and an easy trip into downtown.

Address: 1947 W Evergreen, Unit D
Size: 2 bedroom, 2 bath
Neighborhood: Wicker Park/Bucktown
Price: $449,000
Contact: Sheldon Salnick, Dreamtown ,(312) 498-5080 or ssalnick@dreamtown.com

living-room-2 kitchen deckHere’s what you’ll find at 1947 W Evergreen in Wicker Park:

  • Extra large outdoor space
  • Amazing natural light
  • 9-foot ceilings
  • Granite kitchen countertops and 42-inch cabinets
  • Hardwood floors
  • Private, separate garage for car parking

living-room kitchen-living bedroom-2Living in Chicago’s Wicker Park

In real estate, we know that location is everything, and this Wicker Park condo certainly has it. Within short walking distance, you’ll find:

Wicker Park, an urban park complete with playground, sports fields, movie nights, a farmer’s market & other events.

  • The Damen and Division El stops, allowing for easy travel into downtown Chicago
  • Several bus lines
  • Milwaukee, Damen and Division streets: The central hub of activity in Wicker park

Wicker Park is known for its abundance of culture, with vibrant art, community nightlight and food scenes. This Wicker Park condo is within easy walking distance to the boutiques, restaurants, bars and music venues that make this neighborhood so beloved by its residents.

For more information on living in Wicker Park and this Chicago condo for sale, contact Sheldon Salnick at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

bedroom-1 bath-2 bath-1 floorplan

Chicago Luxury Home Sales in September: 9 Sales Over $2 Million

Not unlike September’s Chicago luxury condo sales, luxury single-family homes saw similar sales numbers last month. Nine of the properties sold went for more than $2 million, with the most expensive sale topping out at $4.1 million.

The market may be skewed in favor of sellers, but—as I always tell my clients—starting in late October, the pendulum often shifts to benefit home buyers. Owners don’t want to be stuck with a home on the market over a cold, stormy Chicago winter and are motivated to get their homes moved before the holidays.

1828-n-cleveland-chicago-il-60614-01828 N Cleveland Ave
Original list price: $4.5 million
Sold price: $4.13 million
A 5 bedroom, 4.1 bath home on one of East Lincoln Park’s finest blocks, this Chicago home is on a rare, double lot, allowing for plenty of living space inside. A complete renovation spared no expense to create a one-of-a-kind home, with unbelievable attention to detail, like exquisite millwork, paneling, hardware, and tilework throughout. There’s even a gorgeous conservatory that opens up to a lush private yard complete with basketball court. It’s also worth noting that the buyer of this home purchased it at $370,000 less than the list price, which is an incredible deal for the buyer.

2011-n-howe2011 N Howe St
Original list price: $2.85 million
Sold price: $2.75 million
This east Lincoln Park is over 5,600 square feet of amazing details, located just steps from Oz Park. The five-bedroom home boasts ultra-high ceilings on the main floor, gracious living and dining rooms made for entertaining, a custom kitchen and an adjacent greatroom that steps out onto a raised patio space. The second and third levels house five ensuite bedrooms, including a master suite with a custom closet and spa-quality marble bath. The top floor includes an open loft/play space with a roof deck that looks out to beautiful city views. The property includes a lower level, two-bedroom in-law apartment, which can be used as part of the home or as a rental.

3310-n-leavitt-st3310 N Leavitt St
Original list price: $2.995 million
Sold price: $2,550,750
This 8,820-square foot home is an architectural masterpiece in Roscoe Village. Designed by Osterhaus McCarthy, the 6 bedroom, 6.1 is full of bold, exquisite materials that have been sourced from around the globe. Some of those details include right and quartered oak floor/doors, Italian blue slate, porcelain and marble, custom cabinetry and windows, sophisticated ironwork on a three-level stairwell, radiant heated floors and three rooftop Trex decks. The dining area opens up to a private terrace and formal Zen garden filled with Japanese maple trees. The master suite is the highlight of the second level, with an ensuite custom bath. The third level boasts an open, lofty feel with skylights and access to two rooftop decks.

41-e-elm-st41 E Elm St
Original list price: $2.725 million
Sold price: $2.5 million
Elm Street is just steps from Michigan Avenue, Rush Street and shore of Lake Michigan—yet this stretch of the block is like a neighborhood in and of itself, tucked away from the action and hidden among mature trees like a residential neighborhood. This vintage home (originally built in 1886!) had been renovated down to the studs to create a warm, transitional interior with a number of luxury features. Those include a custom eat-in kitchen, four ensuite bedrooms, a back deck, lower-level family room with wet bar, wine cellar and full bath, among much more. Details include elegantly detailed baths, custom millwork and closets and wide-planked distressed hardwood flooring.

1930-n-kenmore-ave1930 N Kenmore Ave
Original list price: $2,799,999
Sold price: $2.5 million
This Lincoln Park home is the latest new construction masterpiece from Ronan Builders. The 5,600+ square foot, 4 to 6 bedroom boasts state-of-the-art design and finishes through four levels, all the way up to a magnificent rooftop deck with a 360-degree view of the Chicago skyline. The location of this Chicago can’t be beat, as it’s just steps to Armitage Avenue, where you’ll find restaurants, shops and easy public transportation access.

Square Footage a Major Factor for Chicago Luxury Condo Sales in September

In 2016, we’ve seen two major things at the top of luxury buyer’s wish list for a new home purchase: new construction and square footage.

And that was exactly what many of them got last month. September luxury condo sales were unusual on the high end, with a number of ultra-luxury properties at the top of the list. Twelve properties sold for more than $2 million, with the highest sale clocking in at a whopping $8 million. And these homes are selling quite easily—it’s clear that the upper bracket of luxury real estate no longer has to be on the market for a year before finding the right buyer. These homes are selling in just a matter of days.

Luxury Buyers Want Square Footage, New Construction

Looking at the top five most expensive sales last month, four out of five of them offered exceptionally large square footage—4,000 square feet on the low end, and all the way up to 8,000 square feet for a unit at 50 East Chestnut in the Gold Coast. We also saw another sale at 4 East Elm, a new construction building in which every residence is a spacious half floor.

I always find that the magic number for square footage is 3,000 square feet. Buyers who are moving into Chicago are often looking to downsize, but still retain some of the space they had in their home in suburbs. Their effort to “downsize” is often less focused on small-space living, and more in the added conveniences that come with condo living, building amenities and a great location close to everything.

Things to Consider When Shopping for a Chicago Luxury Condo

Whether it’s a condo or a single-family home, when shopping for a larger-sized property, it is very important to understand the layout and “flow” of the home, not just the size. There are a number of nuances in certain floorplans that can make a home feel much smaller than indicated on the listing sheet.

For my clients, I always do the research beforehand so that I can establish the square footage of a property before taking them to see it in person. I have worked on a number of large condos and can make suggestions on existing floorplans on how they can be modified to make the most of the space and maximize resale value down the line.

Top Chicago Condos Sold in September

Total sales volume for Chicago luxury condos sold in September reached $90.0 million. Much of that was thanks to a number of high-priced, ultra-luxury properties at the top of the list. Let’s take a closer look at the 5 most expensive sales last month, starting at the top:

159EWalton159 E Walton Pl, Unit PH
Original list price:
$8.5 million
Sold price: $8 million
This double-floor penthouse is a historic space in the iconic Palmolive Building, offering comprehensive views in every direction. This Chicago condo spans 7,880 square feet, with three terraces totaling 600 square feet. The top floor boasts soaring, 14-foot ceilings, while the 36th floor features a gracious living space. The rest of the unit has been configured to include a theater room, card room, billiard room, office and a service kitchen for the patio. While the unit was move-in ready, the nature of the space also offered the new buyer the opportunity to make it their own.

11 E Walton St11 E Walton St, Unit 4002
Original list price:
$5.15 million
Sold price: $5 million
This 4,000 square foot unit is a rarely available home in one of the city’s most prestigious residences, the Waldorf Astoria. A north/east exposure offers panoramic, unobstructed lake views into the sunny, open floor plan with contemporary design weaved throughout. An eat-in kitchen includes custom cabinetry, stainless steel Subzero and Wolf appliances, a wine refrigerator, an incredible bar with glass sink, stone countertops and more. The home theater could be converted to a fourth bedroom or left as-is. The luxury master suite includes an exercise room, infinity jetted tub, oversized steam shower and large walk-in closet. In addition to sought-after building amenities like a 14,000 square foot spa, fitness center, concierge and in-room dining, this Gold Coast condo also includes an additional coveted feature: a parking spot.

The Elysian Residences11 E Walton St, Unit 3201
Original list price:
$4.79 million
Sold price: $4.79 million
There weren’t too many details on this sold-before-print condo available beyond its 3 bedrooms and 4,000 square feet. Units in the Waldorf Astoria aren’t often available, and this was the second lucky buyer to land one last month.

50echestnut50 E Chestnut, Unit 601
Original list price:
$4.5 million
Sold price: $4.55 million
This is a one-of-a-kind duplex in a coveted Gold Coast Building. This spectacular space offers a generous 8,000 square feet, six bedrooms, and stunning finishes throughout. Spanning two full floors, the condo allows for spacious rooms, great entertaining space and a gorgeous cook’s kitchen. There are also four private balconies and access to a huge building terrace. Just one block off of Michigan Avenue, this location is just steps from all of the wonderful offerings of the Gold Coast.

4EastElm4 E Elm Street, Unit 20S
Original list price:
$4.225 million
Sold price: $4,239,954
The new kid on the block, 4 East Elm, has been the darling of luxury condo sales in 2016. The building is now over 80 perfect sold and closed for its half-floor, new construction properties that many luxury buyers have fallen in love with. Each unit has an elevator entry, luxury finishes and most have expansive lake and city views as well. It’s location at State and Elm streets—in the heart of the Gold Coast—is hard to beat, and the building itself boasts a bevy of amenities like an outdoor pool, whirlpool, sun deck, fitness center, screening room, clubhouse lounge and 24-hour doorman.

There are a number of new construction properties on the market now that I’d love to introduce you to. If you’re in the market for a Chicago luxury condo, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Chicago Luxury Real Estate Scheduled to Be on a “Tear”

When it comes to real estate, Chicago has something to fit a number of location “wants.” A quiet neighborhood-like street? Easy. An upscale, urban condo in the heart of everything? Of course. Waterfront properties not far from all the perks of city living? Yep—and there’s soon to be more.

Not unlike many other parts of the country, developers are seeing the real estate opportunities that lie within land near water—and they’re putting in the work to clean up the waterways and develop along them.

Chicago is proving to be at the forefront of this trend, with a massive project along the Chicago River that broke ground last month: A $1.5 billion revamp of a spot on the southern stretch of the Chicago River.

A rendering of the Riverline project on the Chicago river, via the Chicago Tribune.

A rendering of the Riverline project on the Chicago river, via the Chicago Tribune.

Named Riverline, the development will include more than 3,600 new residences, with high-rise condos and townhomes and a public riverwalk. The location is just a short walk from Willis Tower, and will likely be a coveted spot for new construction real estate in Chicago, even with its expected completion timeline of eight to 10 years.

Real Estate, Professional Opportunities in Chicago

Developers aren’t the only ones seizing the opportunities throughout Chicago—major corporations are, as well. McDonald recently announced its plan to move its corporate office into the city, to the West Loop where Oprah’s Harpo Studios once called home. (It hasn’t been decided yet if the studio will be demolished or retro-fitted for McDonald’s to move in). Kraft Heinz has also announced relocating its Northfield office to downtown Chicago, and Motorola recently moved a number of executive-level employees to a shiny new office near Union Station.

A recent article in the New York Times highlighted several of these corporate moves into downtown Chicago, noting that the access and vibrancy of the Loop are what many young professionals are looking for in terms of job location.

And Chicago real estate has much to offer the professional crowd, as well. With Chicago real estate still considerably less expensive than other major cities—New York, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, to name a few—relocating here has become an easy consideration for professionals. Clients from these areas find luxury real estate in Chicago to be quite inexpensive for exceptionally high-end buildings that are in an ideal location and come with all of the amenities they could imagine.

Perhaps that is why luxury new construction is selling very quickly right now. These high-end buyers know what they want: Namely new construction and space. Buyers moving here from other cities look for at least 3,000 square feet of living space; and they are finding it in Chicago condos that offer half- or full-floor residences in great locations like River North, the Gold Coast and others.

With major construction projects in the works and an influx of professional opportunities taking root in the city’s center, it’s clear that Chicago real estate could soon be taking on a major growth spurt. If you’re interested in new construction properties, I’d be happy to show you some of the current projects and new developments that might fit your taste and lifestyle. Contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

One Reason Why Some Chicago Luxury Condos and Penthouses Sell for a Premium

In my last 7 or so years of working with luxury condo buyers in Chicago, there is one piece of advice that has remained the same: look for a property with above-standard ceiling heights.

Ceiling heights play a huge role in the luxury real estate market, as this is a key way in differentiating one condo from another. The standard ceiling height is 8 feet, but an above-standard height ensures that a home will sell quickly and at a premium, which is an important consideration even as a buyer who is thinking about resale value.

That’s why a number of luxury buildings in Chicago feature at least 10-foot ceilings in every unit. Trump Tower, a favorite among luxury buyers, has a standard of 10-foot ceilings, but some floors go as high as 16 feet.

10-foot to 11-foot Ceilings Favored Among Buyers

The Wall St. Journal recently highlighted how important ceiling height is in real estate in other high-end markets. The article noted that buyers will pay a premium for even one extra foot, property with 10- to 11-foot ceilings versus the standard 8-feet can have a price as much as 50% higher per square foot.

So why 10 to 11 feet and not, say, 15 feet? Isn’t bigger better? The 10- to 11-foot mark is often the sweet spot for buyers, providing the extra cubic space that feels luxurious, but without being so overwhelmingly tall that furniture and artwork feel stunted in the space.

The article affirms advice I’ve been giving out for many years to buyers purchasing new construction properties. And it sounds like developers are heeding this advice, as well, as many are coming to the conclusion that raising the ceiling heights by even a few inches will help sell their properties as compared to the competition.

Penthouse Units that Go to Great Heights

While 10 to 11 feet is a “standard” for many luxury properties, Chicago penthouses are often in a class of their own. It is not unusual to have 14-foot ceilings as commonplace in penthouse unit.

Ultra-high ceilings are often sought after by art collectors who are looking for major wall space to hang their works. And since penthouse units often offer sky-high views, the super-high ceilings give way to big windows that showcase the panoramas you can only find in these types of properties.

Depending on the type of property, ceilings heights can play a major role in its design, its level of luxury and its appeal to upscale buyers. I would be happy to demonstrate a few different buildings for you to see how the different ceiling heights play into your preference. I can also give you a list of buildings that are in your budget and details on the ceilings heights of each, so you can see the difference in price between a standard ceiling height and one that might add a few inches.

For more information, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.