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North Side Chicago Resale-Home Market On Roller Coaster

Chicago’s North Side resale-home market is on a roller-coaster ride headed into autumn with median sale prices falling and mortgage rates creeping higher.

That’s the big picture outlined in Baird & Warner’s September 2021 Market Analysis which focused on four key neighborhoods—the Near North Side, Lincoln Park, Lakeview and North Center.

“Variables such as the second outbreak of Covid, rising crime, state and city financial problems, and the outlook for 2022 real estate tax increases, are all having an effect on the residential real estate market,” noted John Irwin, broker with Baird & Warner. “Unfortunately, these variables have not been brought under control, so it is impossible to predict their continued impact on the Fall 2021 market.”

Interest rates creeping up

A mortgage-rate increase above the magic 3% affordability threshold is the latest cloud over the autumn market.

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey reported on September 30th that benchmark 30-year fixed home loan rates rose nationwide to an average of 3.01%, up from 2.88% a week earlier. Last year at this time, the 30-year fixed loans averaged 2.88%.

Fifteen-year fixed rate loans rose to an average of 2.28%, up from 2.15% a week earlier. A year ago, the average 15-year fixed mortgage averaged 2.36%.

“Mortgage rates rose across all loan types last week as the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield reached 1.54%, its highest point since June,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

“Many factors led to this increase, including the Federal Reserve communicating that it will taper its support of the capital markets, the broadening of inflation and emerging energy supply shortages which compound other labor and materials shortages,” he said.

Khater gloomily predicted: “We expect mortgage rates to continue to rise modestly which will likely have an impact on home prices, causing them to moderate slightly after increasing over the last year.”

Prices on roller coaster

Home prices on the North Side already appear to be impacted by higher interest rates.

While median sale prices in the four surveyed North Side neighborhood are up 4% year to date, in August there was some slippage in three of the four neighborhoods, according to Baird & Warner:

  • Near North. Median home prices slipped 5.4%, while units priced under $500,000 fell 5.5%. On the sales side, the Near North area was hot in August, with 43.1% more transactions than the same month in 2020. Units priced under $500,000 posted 20.6% more sales than a year ago.

  • Lincoln Park. Over-all median prices in the neighborhood plummeted 14.7% in August. However, homes in the upscale price range of $500,000 to $1-million only slipped 5.1%. Total unit sales fell 7% in Lincoln Park.

  • Lakeview. Median prices eased 4.7%. However, prices on luxury homes rose 2.6% in the $1-million to $2-million bracket. Unit sales were about the same as last August, but homes in the $1-million to $2-million bracket rose 13.6%.

  • North Center. Bucking the trend, median prices in this neighborhood, which includes the hot St. Ben’s area, skyrocketed 38.8% in August.

However, the median price of homes priced at more than $2-million in North Center slipped 3.8%. While over-all home sales slipped 4.1%, units priced at more than $2-million zoomed 52.9% in sales volume during August.

Despite the uncertainty, the North Side residential real estate sales activity is healthy, Irwin said. “Buyers and sellers need to know how to navigate the market,” he said.

“Many buyers are looking for homes in ‘turn-key’ condition,” Irwin noted. “This not only includes a fresh coat of paint, but a more contemporary look. For sellers, updating can be less costly than a future price change.”

Pricing is the most critical element for sellers, he said. “Testing an inflated price can lead to higher market times and potential costly price changes,” Irwin advised.

For more housing news, visit Don DeBat is co-author of “Escaping Condo Jail,” the ultimate survival guide for condominium living. Visit


“The book is Escaping Condo Jail by Sara Benson and Don DeBat. I would say that anybody thinking about buying a condo, or even anybody serving on a condo board, or anybody who has any connection to a condo, this is must reading—all 600 and something pages. Thanks a lot for a great book!”


Steve Sanders, “Your Money Matters” WGN TV, December 22, 2014

By Don DeBat

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