This week, we received our Cook County Property Tax Bill — in 2014, taxes are due March 4th.
One of the most confusing facts about our property taxes, which trips up many buyers and sellers, is what you’re paying for on that date. In Cook County, we pay taxes in arrears, meaning that on 3/4, you’re paying for LAST YEAR’s taxes. You won’t pay for all 12 months’ worth, as you know. You’ll be paying for the first half of property taxes. It’s half of what you paid IN TOTAL the year before.
The second installment, due in the fall, may or may not (emphasizing may NOT) be the same amount. That second payment gets adjusted, based on several factors – property value, tax protests that succeeded or failed, county budgets, and more. Learn how the Cook County Property Tax System works at cookcountypropertyinfo.com.
For more information on this and other FAQs about your property taxes, see the brochures available from the Cook County Treasurer’s Office:
There’s a web address where you can find out information from the various offices – Treasurer, Clerk, Recorder, Assessor – you can download forms, read about the tax system, see the upcoming calendar, and read about saving money on your taxes.
Based on the MRED sales data over the last 5 years, 4 streets in Lincoln Square are known for their luxury properties:
Since 2007, 32 homes sold for over $800,000 on these 4 streets. Giddings had the most homes that sold over $800K (11), according to the Midwest Real Estate Data MLS service. Sunnyside had 9, averaging $1,364,117. Hamilton’s 6 averaged just over $1.3MM, while Wilson’s 6 averaged $1.1MM. Of all 32 properties, 8 were vintage homes (built before 1925), which were clearly the bargains- they averaged $1.0MM. Only 3 (on these 4 streets) sold for over $1.0MM.
Tour The Most Expensive Lincoln Square Streets
See photos and get property information by selecting one of the following links:
Here are the reasons I CANNOT answer the question:
What’s “upper middle class”? Certainly, the cost of living in Chicago is higher than the cost of living where I grew up — in Bloomington, Illinois. We’re not Manhattan, however. Chicago has 77 neighborhoods, or communities, all with their own charms.
What’s “best” ? Best in terms of location? Amenities? Value? What’s best for the young professional right out of college may not be best for a family of 5 with 3 kids in elementary school, nor the same for empty nesters in their mid 60’s.
Here’s what I CAN answer:
Average (mean) cost of single family homes by neighborhood,
Published demographic information by neighborhood
Amenities for each neighborhood
Relative Prices of Some Chicago North Side Neighborhoods
For purposes of this post, I’m including a few examples of neighborhoods in which I’m most familiar. This is NOT an all-inclusive list of neighborhoods in Chicago. The chart below shows average (mean) prices for single family homes – resale only (not new construction) for
The prices aren’t surprising – essentially, the closer the neighborhood lies in relation to the loop, the more expensive the homes.
Micro-Neighborhoods in Chicago
These neighborhoods include many sub- or micro-neighborhoods. Sales prices within each neighborhood can vary greatly, depending on many factors (proximity to public transportation, conformity, school district…)
For example, Edgewater has multiple micro-neighborhoods, delineated by block clubs, as seen in this map:
There are so many neighborhoods, micro-neighborhoods, and even preferred areas within the micro-neighborhoods that giving an average price for Edgewater is somewhat misleading. I live, for example, in Lakewood Balmoral (# 16 above). This block group, the Lakewood Balmoral Historic District, is part of Andersonville, which is part of the Edgewater Community. To give an average resale price for all areas above is not at all indicative of the values within LBRC (or #16).
Here are the differences:
# Properties Closed
# Days on Market
Median Sales Price
Lakewood Balmoral Historic District
Beyond Home Prices – Other Criteria for Choosing a Neighborhood
So far, we’ve just talked about average prices.
Other things to consider when choosing a “best” neighborhood:
Crime by block, neighborhood, police beat, community – See Clear Map – Select this link
Proximity to Public Transportation/Highways – See Map Below and click on photo to pull up website.
Having said all this, I find there’s no way to easily answer the question, “What is the best upper middle class neighborhood in Chicago”.
This post is just a long-winded way of saying that it’s critical that buyers work with an experienced Realtor who’s familiar with the neighborhoods AND MICRO-NEIGHBORHOODS in Chicago, who can help clients best understand their priorities, and who can then provide all options that meet those needs.
East Ravenswood Historic District was a popular neighborhood in 2013!
East Ravenswood is located in 2 Chicago Communities – Uptown on the north and Lakeview on the south. Because it straddles 2 communities, getting concise market data is a challenge.
The graph below depicts single family home sales over the last 3 years for each of the communities– both neighborhoods have remained strong, but when looking at each one separately, the statistics are very different.
Combined Statistics for the
East Ravenswood Neighborhood
When looking at ONLY DETACHED homes (old and new) in the quadrant bounded by
– 4000-4800 North, and 1400-1900 West –
one can see a more accurate representation of the homes in this district:
The most frequently requested property in Chicago is probably the 3 bedroom condo — and outdoor space of some kind is usually a “must have” for today’s buyers.
This post includes information for 3 bedrooms in 3 Chicago neighborhoods – Near North (including Streeterville and the Gold Coast), the Loop, and the Near South Side (South Loop).
Three Bedroom Sales Statistics
Three bedroom condos in the South Loop, Loop, and Near North are listed (on average) at $ 1.3MM, and they range in price from $ 335,000 to $5,900,000. There are currently 271 condos for sale in these neighborhoods, and 336 have sold over the last 6 months — the inventory is low right now!
The properties that sold were under contract in an average of 97 days, and they sold for 96% of the listed price at the time of contract. (Many had price reductions during the listing — the sales price was 89% of the ORIGINAL listed price.)
Lakewood Balmoral – treasured historic district in Chicago’s Edgewater Community – – had 10 sales in 2013. The table below lists the basic data, but you can see more photos and get information by taking a virtual tour of the homes — select this link for pictures and information:
1325 N State Parkway – Tom and I lived there for over 10 years – we happened upon the top floor unit facing west, and when the next door unit came on the market, we snapped it up and combined the two. We ended up with 2650 square feet on one level in Chicago’s Gold Coast.
Only when Michael (our second) was due to come home from Paraguay did we finally decide to move to a single family. In retrospect, we didn’t have to leave. We could have raised our kids there.
1325 N State is one of a few Gold Coast condominiums whose floor plans are large and wonderful – the 2 bedrooms offer 1650 square feet – much larger than the typical 1200 square foot condominium in Chicago.
10. Jim, the old doorman. Slow as molasses but generally happy. The most laughable moment, when we brought Thomas home and he said, “Oh, he’s a dark baby!”
9. Valet parking – the parking garage was attached – no walking in the cold when setting off to my next destination! Guests could park at fairly cheap rates, when using my coupons.
8. Being part of the crowd when Chicago celebrates – we yelled out the window and ran to Rush Street when the Bulls won their first and third championships with Michael Jordan.
7. Being able to walk to work. Most of my real estate career has been in a Gold Coast office location. I could get to work in 10 minutes on foot. We walked to great restaurants and shopping, and we didn’t need to drive when returning from The Lodge or the Zebra Lounge!
6. Storage – believe it or not, I had more storage in my condo than in my 2 vintage single family homes!
5. Accessibility to Lincoln Park and the lakefront – we used to walk to the Lincoln Park Zoo with Thomas – in those days, we could feed the ducks (now there are signs prohibiting this activity!).
4. The roof deck and pool — not that I am a sun worshipper or swimmer, but I love the opportunity to pretend I am from time to time!
3. Neighbors – we met some terrific people in that building, many of whom we’re still in touch with today – 16 years later.
2. Views – we didn’t have spectacular lake views, as we faced the west. We did, however, have large windows with a panoramic cityscape. Sunsets were gorgeous and the city sparkled at night.
1. Living in one of the great neighborhoods (Gold Coast) in the world’s greatest city (Chicago!)
If you’re interested in seeing large 2 bedroom condos for sale,
or to get information on Chicago Real Estate in general,
The housing market is looking good for 2013, but there are many mixed messages and inaccurate predictions found in today’s market reports. Is now a good time to sell or should you wait? Industry data says that prices have hit bottom and we can expect small but steady increases over the next few years.
– It was recently reported by Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR) that the Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA) was up for the number of homes sold in October 2012 by 44 percent and the median home price was up 2.1 percent.
– Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research for the National Association of REATLORS® (NAR), predicts that the real estate market will see a slight pull back in the number of transactions and pricing in the next several months. However, 2012 will still finish strong with a one to four percent increase in home prices.
– Dr. Geoffrey J. D. Hewings predicted something very similar. Director and professor for the University of Illinois, Dr. Hewings is hired by IAR for monthly real estate forecasting. He estimates an average year over year increase of 3.5 percent.
With an expected pricing increase of 6 percent over the next two years, double digit increases will not happen in the near future. Interest rates are at an all time low, making it the perfect environment to meet with a real estate professional to access your needs and expectations.
Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, discusses the real estate market:
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