Second of two articles on the Chicago home-buying market.
Ever wonder why market values of similar luxury homes in different neighborhoods vary greatly in price?
For example, if a buyer is shopping in West Edgewater on the North Side, the purchaser would not find any nicely renovated homes priced less than $795,000. Go northwest to Sauganash and the lowest price of any listed luxury home today is $754,995.
However, young buyers—especially those seeking to move up from a condominium to a family-size house—might be pleasantly surprised if they follow the late, great real-estate investment guru Arthur Rubloff’s sage advice: “Buy on the fringe and wait.”
Veteran brokers say motivated buyers can find excellent values if they are willing to shop away from hot lakefront neighborhoods and venture west of the Chicago River’s North Channel into North Park/Hollywood Park. This quiet, little known Northwest Side neighborhood is in the “gap,” or “fringe,” between the high-demand areas of West Edgewater and Sauganash.
To shed more light on the state of the North Side and Northwest Side single-family markets, the Home Front column surveyed listings and prices of 4-bedroom and 5-bedroom, 3.5 bath to 4-bath homes with 4,000 square feet of living area in the North Park/Hollywood Park neighborhood and compared them with values of similar homes in upscale West Edgewater and Sauganash.
Here are the results of the survey:
North Park / Hollywood Park
Just west of the Chicago River, the boundaries of the quiet North Park/Hollywood Park neighborhood are Peterson Avenue on the north, to Foster Avenue on the south, Pulaski Avenue on the west and Kedzie and Jersey avenues and woodsy Legion Park to the east.
A quick analysis of listings and recent sales in this “sleeper neighborhood” revealed an amazing price gap of roughly $100,000 between the most affordable homes listed in West Edgewater and the traditionally coveted Sauganash area.
Here are details on three attractive home listings in North Park/Hollywood Park homes that currently are for sale:
• 5721 N. Jersey. Designed by award-winning architect Patrick Fitzgerald, this stunning 4,000-square-foot open-concept home overlooks Legion Park along the Chicago River. The renovated 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath home features a new quartz and granite chef’s dream kitchen with butler’s pantry, Bosch 800 Series appliance package, 14-foot vaulted ceilings, custom hand-made stained-glass windows, two fireplaces and natural oak hardwood floors. It is listed for $649,000.
• 5134 N. Troy. Tucked away on a quiet side street just south of Foster Avenue, this newly renovated 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath home has 3,692 square feet of living area. Located in top-rated Budlong Elementary School district, the home features a wide-open layout, an impressive all white kitchen, a living room fireplace and vaulted 10-foot ceilings with skylights. It is listed for $700,000.
• 4900 N. Hamlin. This sprawling 5-bedoom, 4-bath vintage brick bungalow is on the southern fringe of North Park in the extreme northwest corner of Albany Park. Built in 1936, the home showcases original stained-glass windows, crown molding, a 10-foot 9-inch high concave living room ceiling, a marble gas fireplace, a wet bar, full basement, detached garage and 3,700 square feet of living space. It is listed for $725,000.
Here are details on some recent home closings in North Park/Hollywood Park with sale prices under $700,000:
• 3535 W. Hollywood. This 5-bedroom, 4.5-bath brick home has 3,468 square feet of living area, and sold for $650,000.
• 6149 N. St. Louis. A 5-bedroom, 4.5-bath brick home showcases 3,113 square feet of living area, and sold for $678,000.
• 5351 N. Christiana. This 5-bedroom, 3.5-bath brick home has 3,200 square feet of living area. It sold for $680,000.
• 3435 W. Glenlake. This 5-bedroom, 4.5-bath brick home features 3,369 square feet of living area, and sold for $687,000.
The analysis of the upscale West Edgewater home market found 33 properties listed or recently sold with prices ranging from a low of $795,000 to a high of $1,399,900.
(Boundaries of the search were Ashland to Western avenues, and Lawrence to Peterson avenues.)
The homes listed in West Edgewater were mostly 4-bedroom and 5-bedroom dwellings with 3.5 to 4 baths and 3,000 to 4,000-plus square feet of living area. The survey found six homes priced in the $800,000-plus range, six properties priced in the $900,000 range and 17 residences listed above $1-million.
A similar analysis of the popular Sauganash neighborhood found 28 properties listed or recently sold at prices ranging from $754,995 to $1,999,900. (Boundaries of the search were Devon to Bryn Mawr avenues, and Pulaski to Cicero avenues.)
The homes listed in Sauganash are mostly 4-bedroom and 5-bedroom dwellings with 3.5 to 4 baths and 3,000 to 4,000-plus square feet of living area. The survey found eight homes priced in the $750,000-plus range, nine properties priced in the $800,000 range, four in the $900,000 and six residences listed above $1-million.
Perks of North Park / Hollywood Park
While North Park/Hollywood Park is west of the Chicago River and often overlooked, the neighborhood is not considered northwest nowhere, Realtors say.
Families who reside in the area are within walking distance to three spacious parks—Legion, Hollywood and Peterson. The highly respected Northside College Preparatory High School campus—which is ranked No. 2 in the state of Illinois—is on Kedzie, just south of Bryn Mawr. Other educational anchors include the rapidly expanding Northeastern Illinois University campus, North Park Theological Seminary, and the Wonder Montessori School on Pulaski north of Bryn Mawr.
Just east of Pulaski is the North Park Village Nature Center, a 46-acre nature preserve with hiking trails, and the 124-acre Bohemian National Cemetery, founded in 1877.
North Park, a bastion of Swedish heritage, is home to Swedish Covenant Hospital, founded in 1886. Nearby on Foster west of Kedzie is Tre Kronor, one of Chicago’s most authentic Nordic restaurants, where Glogg, a spicy Scandinavian mulled-wine is served hot.
Hollywood Park’s emerging restaurant district on Bryn Mawr, just west of Kedzie, features Midori—a traditional Japanese eatery complete with private Tatimi dining rooms. Other venues include the popular Bryn Mawr Breakfast Club, the boutique Big Hill bar and steak joint, and a Starbucks, along with several other new night spots.
“The North Park neighborhood is one of Chicago’s very best kept secrets,” said Realtor Sara Benson, president of Benson Stanley Realty. “Parks, biking trails, playgrounds and tennis courts abound along the banks of the Chicago River’s North Channel.”
For more housing news, visit www.dondebat.biz. Don DeBat is co-author of “Escaping Condo Jail,” the ultimate survival guide for condominium living. Visit www.escapingcondojail.com.