Archive for January, 2012

Alarm App for Chicago Winters

January 19, 2012

Made for Chicago. An alarm app for Chicago winter forecasts. It will get you up with enough time to get to your morning appointments, deadlines or start time depending on weather (sic) there’s frost or snow. There’s a snow day option as well. Hope we don’t get to try this one out too many times in 2012!

http://ping.fm/GRWX1

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Whats Good About 2012? Chicago Neighborhoods

January 13, 2012

This year I will only focus on good news; what’s good about 2012?  Here are two items that caught my eye.

Forbes.com cites Chicago as having one of the nation’s best downtowns!  

“As for a downtown among the country’s biggest cities, none come close to Chicago for its range of offerings and combination of stunning architectural monuments, waterside views, shopping options and recreational opportunities. Stare up at the austere exactitude of Mies van der Rohe’s buildings (such as the black tower of the IBM Plaza), wander through the packed halls of the Chicago Institute of Art to view its impressive collection or catch a speedboat off Navy Pier to tour the Lake Michigan waterfront. Endless things to do and places to eat, all in a walk-friendly area, make it one of the best downtowns in the United States.”

Well, we knew that but it’s nice to see in print that others are recognizing our exceptional city!

Speaking of Chicago,  Studio Chris has created a line of posters and greeting cards that focus on Chicago’s neighborhoods.  It’s interesting both from a graphics and editorial standpoint.  His visuals are arresting, and I love his choices of landmarks that make each neighborhood instantly recognizable.  

http://studiochris.com/

I lived beneath the shadow of that clock in Ravenswood for 8 years, and feel that it definitely captures the essence of that neighborhood!  I’m looking forward to future selections of other neighborhoods.  It would be interesting to know what you think captures the essence of a neighborhood.  

Send me your thoughts and I will award two dining gift certificates from restaurants in the winning neighborhoods.

Enjoy January in Chicago.  And happy 2012!

New Year and New Beginnings for Chicago Real Estate!

January 4, 2012

Happy New Year!  I never get tired of sending this good wish to all.  I guess it stems from my natural optimism about the promise of a new year, and new beginnings.  

It would seem to many that home affordability should be at an all time high.  With most markets, including the Chicago real estate market, experiencing a 30% drop in value from the highs of 2007, one would think that affordability would be a factor that was showing improvement.  Recent statistics seem to bear this out.  November pending sales rose 7.3% to an index of just over 100 based on the National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index.  This index  which tracks pending (under contract) sales figures, does not reflect closed sales.  It was established in 2001 at 100.  During the “bubble years” the index rose way above that point, but in recent years, has only exceeded 100 in April 2010 when it rose to 111 as a result of the termination of the homebuyer tax credit.  The ascent of the index to over 100 in November is encouraging news since there was no artificial stimulus, such as the homebuyer tax credit, and the new level is just a reflection of a better, more confident economy.  

One side note is that the cancellation rate, which usually hovers at about 10%, rose to 30%.  My feeling is that this is due to short sale and foreclosure fall out, and not a reflection of traditional sales cancellations.  Distressed properties bring their own set of challenges to both the investor and owner occupant, and the deal that is too good to be true, usually is.  Chicago real estate investors need to examine their holding and rehab costs, and owner occupants need to have both time and capital to bring the property up to their standards.  There are many little known expenses, such a local ordinances which may require a new owner to pay back assessments, and fees.  If you are interested in perusing distressed property, be sure you are working with an expert in the field.  Both Louis and I have both classroom and practical experience in successfully purchasing both short sales and foreclosures.  We would be happy to discuss your real estate aspirations.  

It bears noting that sales of the lower price points properties are surging.  Nationally, the upper bracket appears to be languishing and perhaps still declining.  The good news is that here in Chicago, the upper bracket is definitely improving.  For example, in Lincoln Park (60614), there were 64 detached single family homes that closed between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011.  The average sale price was $1,504,504 and the median sale price was $1,299,500. Three of these sales were foreclosures and three were short sales.  For the same area, there were 79 detached single family closed sales between July 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011.  The average sale price was $1,543,562 and the median  sale price was $1,425,000.  Of these, three were foreclosures and seven were short sales.  This shows an increase of just over 2.5% on average sale price.
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