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Chicago’s Luxury Housing Market Gaining Steam

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Zangrillo House

Chicago’s luxury housing market underwent a steep decline during the economic downturn, but new analysis from Coldwell Banker Previews International has shed a new, infinitely brighter light on the Windy City’s higher-end marketplace.

According to Coldwell Banker Previews International’s “Luxury Market Report” for March, Chicago’s economic recovery has buoyed its luxury housing market, and though some recession-era remnants remain, key factors in the luxury market are showing promising growth.

Chicago Luxury Housing – Signs of Recovery?

Some of Previews’ main findings included:

In the $3 to $5 million price range, the average sales price for Chicago residences is currently $3.6 million, with a list-to-sale percentage of 94 percent. Craig Hogan, the Previews luxury director in its city region, said both price points represent “a very stable market.”

Similarly, more homes sold for $5 million-plus in 2012 since the highs of 2008 and 2010, and the $15 million condo sale at Park Tower, which boasted a price-per-square-foot of $1,900, set a new record for the city. That sale, Hogan added, “sent a message to the market that high-net-worth buyers are out there and willing to pay a premium for a property in our city.”

Even with those progressions, though, there are still some rough patches in Chicago’s luxury housing market. Unit sales are still down 41 percent from 2008, and sales volume is down 38 percent from the same period. Housing inventory also remains low in Chicago’s luxury markets, with upscale suburban communities, such as Winnetka and Kenilworth, seeing a particular tightening of inventory in recent months.

Previews also speculated that government policies, particularly the “fiscal cliff” negotiations that dragged through 2012 into 2013, could have impacted luxury home sales, with affluent homebuyers eager to close their escrows before any legislation in Washington raised tax rates and/or limited housing incentives.

Regardless of the reasons, though, Previews’ report on Chicago was an optimistic one, and it noted that both the Gold Coast and River North neighborhoods are due for large-scale luxury condominium developments that will further boost the city’s luxury marketplace.

Luxury at a Valuable Price

Previews’ analysis of Chicago also extended beyond the city limits. In its same March report, Previews also drew attention to the Glenview neighborhood, highlighting it as one of the nation’s most valuable housing markets for luxury clientele.

In addition to price stability, Previews also studied the demographics, economic stability and sales data of a myriad number of upscale housing markets across the U.S.; Glenview was one of only six communities that it chose to feature, likely due to its highly rated school system in addition to its popular golfing facilities and sterling park districts, along with its convenient access to both the 294 and 94 expressways and the wildly popular The Glen and The Glen Town Center developments, which attract residents from across the North Shore with their outdoor shopping, restaurants and movie theaters.

And to top it all off, Glenview’s housing market has put up some great numbers so far in 2013; though home prices are down 30.9 percent from their 2007 peak, so far in 2013, the average sales price is up 7.6 percent year-over-year, and the price-per-square-foot is up 12.6 percent.

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