New and totally renovated luxury single-family homes are going fast. Here's how to find one.
3834 North Marshfeld Avenue, currently listed by Danny Glick, is a six-bedroom Lakeview home in the Blaine school district.
Stocks may be acting bearish, but the Chicago-area market for new single-family luxury homes is channeling its inner bull. In the first four months of 2015, more than 2,000 new single-family home construction permits were issued in the area, according to the US Census Bureau—54 percent more than in the same period in 2013. Two luxury brokers, @properties’ Danny Glick (312-671-1516) and Baird & Warner’s Stephen J. Bognar (312-342-6466), explain the jump.
A Lincoln Park address for a single-family home has always been the gold standard for a luxury property. Is that changing? Danny Glick: You can’t drive around the city and not marvel at all the new construction in every neighborhood. The market is expanding geographically in a big way. First it was Bucktown and Wicker Park, but now Lakeview and North Center are real hotbeds for luxury single-family new construction. Stephen Bognar: There are so many areas undergoing renaissances that there’s a multitude of options. Demand is so high that the West Loop and West Village are catching on, too.
Why the shift? DG: People want a certain quality of life and are looking for neighborhoods that have high walkability scores, great public transportation, diverse retail, parks with play lots, and great schools. But families want houses that suit their lifestyles, so they have to buy something new or build it to get exactly what they want. SB: Once a few new homes go up, it has a domino effect and changes the character of the whole area. It also spurs neighborhood development, so these communities are turning into great places to live. And thanks to these changes, these homes will hold their value despite the big price jumps we’ve seen.
What are new-construction prices like now? DG: Luxury single-families range from $1.5 million to $4.5 million right now, depending on location. The closer in, the higher the price. For instance, in Lincoln Park, $2.7 million to $3.5 million gets you a 5,200-square-foot house. In other areas, where the house size is more in the 4,200 square foot range, houses sell for $1.5 million to $2 million. SB: I prefer new houses that are one to five years old. In new construction there are often kinks and hidden costs, from a system that doesn’t work perfectly to all the extras you have to finish that aren’t included in the final price, such as landscaping, window treatments, and more. The first owners iron all that out, so you can move in without much work.
How do you find these houses? DG: It’s incredibly hard because the market is moving so quickly. I focus on all aspects of the process by finding suitable lots, or properties that have reached the end of their useful lives; lining up the right builder for a project; and making sure buyers’ needs are met. The hardest and most time-consuming stage is the first one. Right now I have three houses that are delivering in Lincoln Park. And in west Lakeview, I have two wide-lot houses on North Paulina, just south of Diversey, that will deliver in spring 2016; both will be 5,500 square feet with seven beds and five and a half baths for $2.65 million each. SB: Quick response time to a market listing for these houses is critical because great properties go fast. So you have to be definitive about the features you want and educated about a few areas so you can be ready to grab a great property. Our office has great single-family homes on the market right now, including a 2013 fve-bed, four-bath, two-half-bath Bucktown house at 2017 West Shakespeare with a great kitchen, incredible wine cellar, and an extra-wide lot, and a 2010 four-bed, four-bath, two-half-bath, 5,000-square-foot Wicker Park house at 1549 North Honore.