Sales of Chicago Luxury Single-Family Homes Fall Dramatically in September

For much of this year, Chicago luxury home sales have been rather robust, even through the typically-slow summer months. But September was a totally different story from what preceded it.

Not only have we seen healthy luxury sales (those $1 million and up), we’ve seen a surge in ultra luxury sales as well. Homes selling in the $4 million and $5 million range have not been uncommon in 2017. But last month, the most expensive properties were within a very narrow range along $1.4 million.

This could indicate a turning point in the Chicago luxury market—one that favors buyers at long last. Colleagues of mine with listings have been calling to ask my thoughts on the slowdown, and I attribute some of it to the fourth-quarter usual slowdown, when we always see a marked downturn in the number of buyers looking to purchase.

But, I do think the market could be skewing toward the buyer as well. The beginning of November is a great time to get serious about buying real estate. This time of year, sellers are nervous about having their properties on the market into the new year. That makes negotiating a bit easier, whether it’s for a reduction in price or more favorable terms.

It will be interesting to see how October shakes out compared to September, which closed out with 26 luxury sales of single-family homes and a total sales volume of $32.7 million. But for now, let’s dive into September, with a closer look at the top five single-family homes that sold during the month:

1835 W Barry Ave1835 W Barry Ave
Original list price: $1.549 million
Sold price: $1.475 million
This home exudes luxury as soon as you walk up to its handsome façade accented with rich, limestone detailing. The all-brick, extra wide property was custom built with a function floorplan that includes 3 en-suite bedrooms and full laundry room on the second floor; a private penthouse office space; an incredibly eat-in kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances and functionality; a generous great room; and beautifully detailed natural stone baths. There are also three private outdoor spaces, including a fully turfed roof deck, private garage deck with trex decking and pergola, rear patio with fireplace and an extra-wide and heated 2.5 car garage. The home also boasts full-home automation with a projection TV, designer-selected window treatments and a heated front limestone walkway and stairs. It’s also interesting to note that the buyer of this home paid cash.

2683 N Burling St2683 N Burling St
Original list price: $1.498 million
Sold price: $1.465 million
Located in east Lincoln Park, this corner lot home has been completely rehabbed across its three levels and 3,100 square feet. The interior boasts a gourmet kitchen, a master bath with radiant flooring and steam shower, plus a third-level recreation room with wet bar, beverage center and a full bedroom and bath. There are also numerous outdoor spaces to enjoy, and thoughtful finishes appointed throughout.

1950 N Sheffield Ave1950 N Sheffield Ave
Original list price: $1.599 million
Sold price: $1.45 million
With 4,400 square feet in the heart of Lincoln Park, this classic graystone was gutted and transformed into a luxury living space for the 21st century. The main level boasts a living/dining room combo, family room with French doors and a highly upgraded eat-in kitchen. On the second level is a massive master suite with oversized bedroom, newly renovated bath with dual vanity, two-person shower and large, custom walk-in closets. There are also upscale details like oak floors, two fireplaces, zoned HVAC and a home theater. A rooftop deck offers a gazebo and panoramic skyline views.

2635 N Dayton St2635 N Dayton St
Original list price: $1.549 million
Sold price: $1.435 million
This all-brick, three-story home is an absolute gem on a tree-lined street in Lincoln Park. The super-wide living and dining rooms make ideal space for entertaining, while a gracious living room with fireplaces brings in loads of light and overlooks the front garden and trees. In the kitchen you’ll find a big island and high-end appliances; in the family room, a fireplace and opening to the landscaped terrace. The master suite shares a floor with two bedrooms, with an additional two bedrooms on the third level. The buyer of this gem paid cash.

4131 N Oakley Ave4131 N Oakley Ave
Original list price: $1,442,500
Sold price: $1,402,500
The only new construction property in this month’s top five, this 4 bedroom home was meticulously built across every detail of its 4,000 square feet. Features include high-end finishes throughout, a gourmet kitchen, commercial-grade appliances, coffered ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows. A lavish master suite boasts his-and-her closets and a master bath with heated marble flooring, steam shower and Victoria Albert freestanding tub. On the lower level, radiant heat warms a huge family room with wet bar, fourth bedroom, den/office and powder room. And the exterior includes a stunning backyard with brick-pavered patio, outdoor stone fireplace and a finished trex roof deck and pergola over the garage.

If you’re considering a purchase in 2017, take a look at these sales and see how they compare to your own wants/needs for a new home and your budget. That can give you an idea of what to expect, especially if the market is indeed taking a turn in buyer’s favor.

For more on last month’s sales or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at

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

The Best Time To Buy Chicago Real Estate

As we head into the end of the year, potential home buyers can rejoice—this is a great time to make a Chicago real estate purchase.

After a few years of experiencing a buyer’s market, 2013 quickly changed to favor home sellers for much of the year. But I do think the pendulum will swing more in favor of buyers in the next few months. The Chicago Tribune recently reported that sales had already started to slow down after an unstoppable summer. Here are a few reasons why buyers can expect good things for year-end home buying:

Holidays: The holiday season always tends to sneak up on us, and the distraction from year-end events often turns attention away from things like home purchases. With less activity on the market, buyers are in a better place to get a deal on a home they want, since sellers don’t have people knocking down their door to buy their property. Plus, sellers are even more apt to make a deal to ensure why won’t have to deal with having their property on the market during the holiday season.

Cooler weather: October in Chicago this year has been colder than usual, and we know that the chilly temperatures certainly lead to an overall slowdown in the city. That could bring the winter real estate slump a lot sooner than usual. Buyers who take advantage of this notoriously slow period in Chicago real estate could benefit greatly by getting a great deal.

End of the year: Aside from the holidays, the end of the calendar year marks a few things on its own. Developers typically want to get rid of their inventory for tax purposes, banks are requiring them to reduce their outstanding loans, and many will want to avoid the extra paperwork that is going to be required from buyers come 2014. So for buyers, it’s an ideal time to get a deal on a new construction property. Sellers are also eager to negotiate and get their home off the market before the heart of winter settles in and the market isn’t moving. Plus, without the influx of loan applications that are typically seen in busier months, your mortgage loan could be a smoother, quicker process with the bank.

The last quarter of the year is simply a great opportunity for buyers. For those shopping for luxury real estate in Chicago, this continues to be an ideal time to purchase, as jumbo loans are more readily available from mortgage lenders.

If you’ve been considering a home purchase this year, now is a great time to take action. I’d be happy to walk you through what’s on the market and how to best take advantage of the opportunity the end of 2013 will present buyers. Contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at

‘Lifestyle’ Buildings Bolstering Chicago Luxury Real Estate Market

Trump Tower Downtown Chicago

Full-service buildings like River North's Trump Tower are what many buyers are looking for in the luxury real estate market.

Luxury real estate is alive and well in Chicago, bolstered by high-rise developments and full-service buildings, according to a recent report. Sales of ultra-luxury Chicago homes–those sold for $5 million or more–increased in 2012. Last year’s sales included several headline-making deals, like the record-breaking $15 million penthouse sold at the top of Michigan Avenue’s Park Tower.

The condo buildings getting the most attention are those in places like Trump Tower, the Ritz-Carlton Residences or 2550 Lakeview. That is, full-service buildings with everything from a doorman to valet parking to staff on call to cook you dinner, feed your pets or deliver your dry cleaning. These buildings aren’t just about service, but providing a luxury lifestyle for each and every resident.

Opened in 2008, River North’s Trump Tower has become one of the most coveted properties for the luxury buyer. This building boasts a state-of-the-art spa and fitness facility, an indoor pool (and the staff to bring your favorite cocktail to you poolside), enviable views thanks to sweeping architectural curves, plus concierge services at your beck and call. Trump Tower has quickly become one of downtown Chicago’s most sought-after luxury properties and is now 90% sold, so the number of available properties here is limited.

Trump Tower unit for lease

The stunning view from a for-lease unit available in Trump Tower.

Not quite ready to buy? A rare lease opportunity is now available at Trump Tower with all of the amenities and services the building offers, plus a great unit in itself, with spectacular views, great entertaining space, and parking. Plus, it’s pet friendly. Click here to check it out.

Lower Inventory in Chicago’s Top Neighborhoods

As the demand for luxury real estate in Chicago grows, the less we’ll see opportunities like the lease at Trump Tower, as sellers will have the edge in the luxury real estate market. Properties in coveted neighborhoods like Lincoln Park or the Gold Coast are going quickly (sometimes without even officially being listed), a clear sign that the market is becoming more competitive for the luxury buyer.

If you’re looking to purchase Chicago real estate, the window of opportunity may quickly be passing by in order for you as a buyer to negotiate a deal. To learn more about Trump Tower or other luxury “lifestyle” buildings in Chicago, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at

Chicago Real Estate Market Named Best in U.S. for Buyers

Great news for potential home buyers–when it comes to getting a great deal, Chicago ranks #1. Real estate website Zillow has named Chicago the top buyer’s market among the 50 largest metropolitan markets. The reasoning behind it? Chicago real estate buyers have negotiating power, thanks to high inventory of homes for sale that lead to steep price cuts.

With more supply than demand, Chicago is well-poised for buyers who are real estate shopping. In May, Zillow found that 48 percent of homes in the Chicago area sold for less than their previous selling price, having seen at least one price cut and an average discount of 5 percent less the most recent asking price.

A Buyer’s Market for Chicago Luxury Real Estate

For several months now, we’ve seen sales close with buyers getting a great deal on luxury real estate in Chicago–buyers have been able to get into prestigious buildings and coveted neighborhoods with tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars knocked off of original list prices.

With the research from Zillow and what I’ve observed personally in the last few months of home sales, buyers are still in good shape to negotiate a purchase. But it’s not as simple as walking through the door and making a low-ball offer. For buyers, there are three things that are key to negotiating a deal in Chicago real estate:

1. Know recent sales. Each month I report on the previous month’s top sales for single-family homes and condos. Sure, these properties are off the market, but it’s crucial for buyers to understand the factors that played into these sales and why these deals closed for the price that they did–things like neighborhood, the building, square footage, recency, etc. all play into that purchase price. Buyers who know the price of comparable properties can  use that to their advantage.

2. Cash is king. A cash offer is a seller’s dream–with a real estate market like we’ve seen in the past few years, many deals have fallen through because buyers couldn’t secure a down payment or financing. Paying cash immediately puts you ahead of any other offers simply for the integrity of the offer and assurance that the deal will close. If cash isn’t a possibility, buyers should be able to make at least a 20% to 30% down payment and have an excellent FICO score.

3. Timing. Buying real estate is like the stock market–it’s impossible to tell the exact-right moment to work out a great deal. In my experience, buyers who are able to take advantage of a market like this one will come out on top. Once the Chicago market begins to uptick (which it has in some areas), there’s no telling how long we’ll be able to label it a buyer’s market. These windows of opportunity are often small and short-lived, and once you’re saying “coulda, woulda, shoula,” it’s too late.

If you’re considering a Chicago real estate purchase, give me a call to discuss the best approach for scouting a great buy in this market. Contact me at 312-264-5853 or email me at