ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 5 - September

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 149 of 163

BROKERS' ROUNDTABLE FROM TOP: Brokers Emily Sachs Wong and Jennifer Ames talk luxury Chicago homes, such as 2535 North Burling Street and 2231 North Fremont Street. Luxe Redux THE LOW-DOWN ON LUXURY SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES SHOWS HOW THE BUYING GAME HAS CHANGED. BY LISA SKOLNIK "Buyers are reaching high because they want to stay put for a long time." 148 JA: Everything is family-centric. So they want outdoor space with grass, not just decks. And wide spaces with smart floor plans that facilitate family interaction, great kitchens with luxury appliances, and big windows for lots of light. ESW: They want the highest quality in everything. Even if something is adequate when they buy it, the thirtysomething buyer thinks nothing of ripping it all out and starting over. What listing do you represent that best exemplifies this new paradigm? JA: 2535 North Burling Street in Lincoln Park, an exquisitely renovated four-bedroom, fourand-a-half-bathroom 1895 greystone for $2.475 million in the Alcott Elementary School district. Besides redoing everything and restoring its architectural character in 2009, they substantially enlarged it by digging out the basement, adding on a third floor, and building 1,900 square feet of outdoor decks. ESW: 2231 North Fremont Street in Lincoln Park, a 6,700-square-foot five-bedroom, five-and-a-halfbathroom for $3.995 million in the Oscar Mayer Elementary School district, really has it all—a 34-foot-wide lot; a gorgeous yard maximized by landscaping and built-in cooking and fire features; and fine appointments like soaring ceilings and a three-car garage. Jennifer Ames, Coldwell Banker, 312440-7525,; Emily Sachs Wong, Koenig & Strey, 312-286-0800, MA PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATRINA WITTKAMP (PORTRAIT) L uxury single-family homes are going fast— so fast, says Coldwell Banker broker Jennifer Ames, "the Chicago market is on fire." Koenig & Strey broker Emily Sachs Wong agrees. "First-day sales are becoming the norm rather than the exception," she says. Stats on singlefamily homes that cost $1 million or more back them up. According to Midwest Real Estate Data, from June 2011 to June 2013 the number of properties dropped from 457 to 318; the average number of days on the market fell from 134 to 101; and the month's supply of inventory is down from 10.6 to 4.1. But what does it mean for buyers? It sounds like there's a feverish rush on singlefamily luxury homes right now. Why? Jennifer Ames: People were being cautious during the crash, buying slowed way down, and development came to a standstill. But our recovery has been slower, and pricing is undervalued in Chicago compared to other major cities. So when a great luxury property comes on the market, people are waiting in line and bidding up. Emily Sachs Wong: In the luxury market right now, there are more buyers and less inventory. Some came out of the recession with —EMILY SACHS WONG a lot of cash, so they want to buy now. The low interest rates are a motivation—even newly engaged couples want to buy right now before interest rates go up, and they're reaching high because they want to stay put for a long time. So we're talking buyers with kids? JA: Yes. People are having kids later and have more disposable income to spend because they've had a lot of years to make money. What are these home buyers looking for? MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 148_MA_HP_Brokers_Sept_13.indd 148 8/7/13 12:38 PM

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