Archive for 2008

Cooling Rental Market Puts Ice On South Loop Apartment Project

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

December 31, 2008 – The last day of 2008 brings news that yet another Chicago real estate project is being put on ice. Developer AvalonBay Communities is at least temporarily shelving their planned 1,000 unit South Loop apartment complex that was to be located on the southwest corner of Clark and Polk Streets, according to an article in Crain’s. AvalonBay VP Walter Rebenson stated that they intend to “wait until we see how severe this recession is going to be.”

That seems to be the sentiment echoed by many Chicago condo and even a few apartment developers right now. Most experts have revised their initial predictions of a mid 2009 housing market turn-around and pushed back their expectations of recovery until 2010. In the article Rebenson went as far as saying that “You’re crazy if you’re developing right now.”

AvalonBay had expected to start work on the 500 apartments of phase one of the project around May, but has now decided to wait a minimum of another year before reevaluating the situation. Fewer jobs means fewer renters, and with an estimated 2,000 new apartments coming online in 2009 the demand will decrease even more. That doesn’t even begin to figure in the condos that are being put up for rent when developers and investors are unable to sell or the Rent to own condos in Chicago that are also available right now.

We’ll have to wait and see if any other developers who have plans to launch apartment projects also decide to pull back before being swallowed by the incoming wave of new rental units hits.

[tags]Avalon Bay, Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate[/tags]

Units Still Available at The Catalina in West Lincoln Park

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

December 30, 2008 – With more Chicago real estate developers trending towards smaller buildings with fewer units, it’s a perfect time to take another look at The Catalina on the 2500 block of North Ashland in West Lincoln Park. The project is from Graystone Development and they describe it as “12 elegant new extra-wide condominium homes are finished with everything discriminating buyers have come to expect.” And now we are starting to see the prices on these luxury condos come down a bit.

Of the 12 Chicago condos in this building, there are 6 left for sale right now. Prices had been ranging from the high $400,000s to high $700,000s. Now the developer is listing the remaining condos from $459,900 to $729,900 and those prices are said to probably drop a bit further if sales don’t pick up. Square footage on these two bedroom, two bath and three bedroom, three bath condos runs from 1,478 to 2,740.

Standard finishes at The Catalina include Jenn-Air and Bosch appliances, wine coolers, walnut custom cabinets, granite counter tops and back splashes, built-in bookshelves, steam showers and radiant heat in the master baths. High speed phone lines, cable and stereo surround sound wiring are all in place and ready to go by the time you move in to one of these condos. Parking and a spacious deck are also part of the package there.

You can compare The Catalina with other Chicago Luxury Condos in the area and see how they measure up in terms of prices and finishes.

[tags]The Catalina, Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate[/tags]

More Developers and Investors Turn To Renting Condos

Monday, December 29th, 2008

December 29, 2008 – The biggest Chicago real estate stories that may unfold at least in the early months of 2009 may center on foreclosure suits and the rental market. With a number of Chicago condo developers facing looming loan deadlines and flat sales, the potential for lawsuits is a real possibility. By now everyone is aware of the dueling suits filed by Donald Trump and Deutsche Bank over the past due construction loan for the Trump Tower. And with our recent post about the possible collapse of the Anglo Irish Bank, the Spire’s troubles may be deeper than its foundation hole.

But a side effect of the condo crash is that more units are coming up for rent in luxury developments. There are a number of units currently for rent at Trump Tower, often at a lower rental price than similarly sized condos in other luxury buildings. Recent listings for one bedroom condos at Trump have come on the market for around $2,500 per month. And many developers are opting to rent unsold units themselves, rather than sit on inventory that isn’t generating any income at all.

According to a recent article in the Tribune, the Chicagoland Apartment Association expects 2009 rental rates in Chicago to remain steady and in some cases even decline a bit. In 2007, average rent for a top of the line one bedroom downtown apartment was $1,850 per month. That number had decreased to $1,750 per month by 2008, according to data from Appraisal Research Counselors. The addition of 1,974 new rental units drove that number down, and at least 954 more rental units will come on line in 2009. That doesn’t even figure in all of the condos that investors end up renting when they can’t sell, and that amounts to as much as 20% to 25% of all downtown condos.

The only exception to the steady rental price prediction is that prices for units in high-rises near the lake or in vintage buildings may tick up slightly. So if you think you may be priced out of buying one of the Downtown Chicago Condos, you may want to check into renting, even if the developer isn’t openly advertising that option.

[tags]Chicago Apartments, Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate[/tags]

North Shore Condo Sales Fall 24 Percent in November

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

December 28, 2008 – November was a difficult month for the real estate market in the Chicago region.  Sales of new and resale condos were down more than 50 percent in the city of Chicago, while some neighborhoods such as the Loop and Near North Side saw sales fall more than 60 percent from a year ago.  However, the North Shore was able to outperform many traditionally strong markets in the Chicagoland region in November.

According to data from the Chicago MLS, a total of 69 new and resale condos were sold around the North Shore in November, a 22 percent drop in sales from a year ago.  Sales were off more than 52 percent from the peak of the market in 2006.

Buyers on the North Shore took advantage of many deals currently available on the market.  The average sales price plunged more than 22 percent from a year ago, reaching a three-year low of $282,605.  However, prices could continue to fall even further in the area as more condos sit on the market, helping to spur demand in the short term.  The average turnover time for condos sold in November jumped to 191 days, up from 154 days a year ago.  In 2006, it took just 96 days to find a buyer.

Buyers on the market for North Shore Chicago Condos should keep a close eye on the market in the next few months to take advantage of falling prices in the area.

[tags] Chicago Condos For Sale, North Shore Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate [/tags]

Large Development Still Planned For 1515 N Halsted

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

December 27, 2008 – At least one super-sized Chicago real estate development has plans to start construction by mid 2009. Structured Development LLC won approval last year for the 8.5 acre project along Clybourn and Halsted that had included 480 Chicago condos. The developer has since revised plans and scaled the number of units down to 280 and switched to rental apartments, according to the Sun Times. The complex will go up on the site of the former New City YMCA.

Structured Development is partnering with Commonfund Realty Inc. and providing about 40% of the estimated $200 million cost of the project which will make it easier to secure the rest of the financing from another lender. The 1515 N Halsted complex will have six buildings, the tallest of which will be the 19 story tower with the 280 apartments. A 1,250 space parking garage plus more tan 500,000 square feet of retail and commercial space is planned. There will also be green space set aside outside for both residents and the public to enjoy.

Structured Development has confirmed that nearly 60% of the commercial space is already leased, and the biggest tenant will be an 80,000 square foot Roundy’s Supermarket. Other tenants are said to be a fitness club, some restaurants and a clothing store.

The growing trend among developers is still to build more Chicago Apartments than condos at this point. But even with the planned rental developments in the works, we could still see a number of smaller condo developments take shape if the market manages to rebound this coming year.

[tags]Chicago Apartments, Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate[/tags]

Collapse of Anglo Irish Bank Could Topple Chicago Spire

Friday, December 26th, 2008

December 26, 2008 – The Chicago Spire may be about to lose its only private funding source with the potential nationalization of the Anglo Irish Bank. The bank has so far loaned $65.9 million to Garrett Kelleher of Shelbourne Development for the mega project. However, due to bad investments and insider loans amounting to $121 million to former bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick, the lender faces possible financial collapse if the Irish government doesn’t intervene, according to the Sun Times.

Anglo Bank stock has dropped in value to just .21 cents per share, and the new chairman is in favor of the government bailout. If approved, the Irish government would buy roughly $2.1 billion in bank stocks, which would give it a 75% stake in operations.

With no other lender as back up, Kelleher has been trying to line up other investors to continue with construction. But so far none have materialized and with the market still in turmoil it will be more than difficult to secure financing for a Chicago real estate project of this size. The Spire is also under the weight of several liens, including one from architect Santiago Calatrava.

According to the article, Shelbourne was able to get zoning approval for the 150 story high-rise because of the Anglo Bank’s promise that they would finance the tower without a minimum number of Chicago condo sales being on contract first. Normally banks require at least a 50% sales mark for Pre Construction Condos in Chicago before a construction loan will be approved. Shelbourne stated that around one third of the 1,200 luxury condos have been sold, including the much talked-about $40 million penthouse suite. But without any firm money to back the project, it is likely to remain stalled as it has for several months now and could possibly face foreclosure.

[tags]Chicago Spire, Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate[/tags]

More Trouble For Teng, Spring Finish Line For 15 Racine

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

December 24, 2008 – A smaller West Loop Chicago real estate development that plans to start first deliveries sometime around mid February 2009 is 15 Racine. The building houses eight units in total, and there are still three left for sale. All of the Chicago condos there have three bedrooms, two baths and are about 1,800 square feet. Prices on the units run from around $599,900 on up to the $670,000s.

The condos at 15 Racine come with Poggenpohl European style cabinetry, Sub-Zero, Viking and Miele appliances, Dornbracht faucets and fixtures, an under counter wine refrigerator, limestone and granite counter tops, range with chimney hood, mosaic tile in the baths, steam shower with rain head and body spray plus jet tub. The developer, Quest Realty Group, is also has an ad on the building website stating that free parking is being offered for a limited time.

The Waterview Tower certainly has its share of financial problems, and now contractor Ivan Teng, from Teng and Associates, has been implicated in the Blagojevich pay to play charges. Teng’s firm has been paid well over $70 million in state government contracts. The firm held a fundraiser in November for the governor and raised around $60,000 for his campaign fund. No charges have been filed at this point.

Remember to check back here often for the latest news about incentives and price reductions on All Condos for Sale in Chicago.

[tags]15 Racine, Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate[/tags]

Buyback Guarantee Still Good At Renaissance Lofts

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

December 23, 2008 – There are still a handful of units left at Renaissance Lofts if you want to get in on developer Kopley Group’s two year buyback guarantee. Just like their other project, the Lofts at 1800, the guarantee seems to be a deciding factor for many of the buyers at this Chicago real estate project. And with only about ten Chicago condos available at this 37 unit building, you might want to make a visit to the sales center soon.

The first units at Renaissance Lofts began closing just about a year ago. The project was a conversion of a 1920 era building located on 1791 W Howard in Rogers Park. In keeping with true loft style design, the condos have 10 to 12 foot high ceilings, hardwood flooring and exposed timbers visible in much of the living area. The lofts come with stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, soaking tubs depending on the plan, large energy efficient windows and a balcony or terrace.

Prices on the remaining one to two bedroom condo lofts range anywhere from the $180,000s to the $280,000s. The buyback guarantee is good on the purchase of any unit at Renaissance Lofts. If for any reason you decide during the first two years of purchasing your loft that you no longer want it, Kopley will buy it back for the same price you paid, no questions asked. The developer has been pretty successful so far with this incentive, and so far no one that we are aware of has cashed back in on their purchase. Kopley may have found the winning recipe for sales of Chicago Condo Lofts with this guarantee.

[tags]Renaissance Lofts, Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate[/tags]

Units Still Available At One Museum Park

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

December 22, 2008 – One Museum Park began closing on its 289 units back around May of this year, and it looks as though construction will wrap up completely on the 62 story high-rise sometime in early 2009. Sales numbers for this Chicago real estate project have been pretty good, although there are still more than five dozen units available from developer Enterprise Companies as well as close to two dozen from various other sources.

The developer units left at this tower are a bit pricier than those from investors, which is often the case. Enterprise has a selection of layouts available, ranging from the $800,000s to more than $1 million. The bulk of those units are larger two and three bedrooms located on higher floors, but there are a few smaller two bedroom condos listed as well.

As for the One Museum Park units listed on the secondary market, there are a few one bedroom condos that are priced in the upper $400,000s. Some three bedroom condos are also listed, running anywhere from $1 to over $2 million.

Finishes at One Museum Park are top notch, with curved glass floor-to-ceiling windows, Woodmode cabinets, granite counter tops, soaking tubs in the bath, concierge service, Owner’s Club and indoor/outdoor swimming pools.

You can also find a growing number of Chicago condos for rent in this building, both from investors and from the developer. Buyers who have been either priced out of luxury buildings or unable to get financing can often find a pretty good rental option on many Chicago New Construction Condos.

[tags]One Museum Park, Chicago Condos, Chicago Real Estate[/tags]

November Condo sales down 64 percent on Near North Side

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

December 21, 2008 – Sales of condos and lofts plummeted by 64 percent in November on the Near North Side. According to data from the Chicago MLS, a total of just 93 new and resale condominiums were sold in Streeterville, the Gold Coast, and other areas of the Near North Side during the month.

It was the largest drop in sales seen in November in more than 17 years. A total of 262 condos were sold in 2007, the most ever sold in November. The drop in sales on the Near North Side nearly matched the dramatic decline in demand for condos in the Loop. Sales in the Loop fell by nearly 70 percent during the month. Citywide condo sales plunged by 55 percent in the same period.

The average sales price for new and resale condos on the Near North Side fell for the second straight year in November. According to MLS data, the average sales price fell to $540,648, a 9 percent decline from a year ago. November 2006 was the best year for prices in the neighborhood, which peaked at $604,900.

A rise in the inventory of unsold condos on the Near North Side could lead to even lower prices for some Chicago Condos for sale in the neighborhood. It took an average of 178 days to find a buyer in November, up from 94 days a year ago.

[tags] Chicago Condos For Sale, Chicago Real Estate, Near North Side Condos [tags]