Chicago Real Estate
things to consider before buying or selling
It’s true that Chicago has been experiencing some healthy residential price rises. I suspect that if you had told a 1950s homeowner what a typical Chicago asking price is nowadays, ten to one they would have thought you were pulling their leg. But, as in many tales dealing with finances high (and low), Manhattanites dependably lead the pack. According to the Wall Street Journal, that’s how it is with walk-ups.
For Chicago readers who need to be reminded, “Manhattan walk-ups” are residences whose tenants manage to survive without the not-so-modern convenience of an elevator. When you think about the combined weight of all the stuff we carry in and out of our residences on a weekly basis, walk-up living is no mean feat.
That’s particularly true for anyone living above, say, the third floor. If you take the number of times we go in and out of a typical Chicago front door every day, then multiply that by the number of stairs that would need to be managed—times two—you begin to see the extent of the challenge. Not just that: what if you are a young couple with a babe in arms…or (come to think of it) an elderly couple with a dog?
Despite the onerous details, last week, the Journal described how “more and more people are looking past the fact they are climbing stairs.” The details are fascinating—but maybe you’d better sit down before we get into the details.
When it comes to apartment asking prices, elevator-served buildings reflect what you’d expect. Penthouse views of the City are pricey—and way more expensive than ground or second-floor units. Walk-up buildings are the exact opposite: the higher up the unit, the lower the asking prices become.
Are you sitting down, yet?
The case in point is a “narrow” 5th floor East Village co-op unit that just went under contract for more than $1,900,000. The deal was cinched less than three weeks after it was listed—following a bidding war including seven offers topping the asking price. It joined more than 60 Million-Dollar-Plus Manhattan sales of high floor walk-ups. The Journal reported (without irony) that prices on high-floor apartments “may be rising.” The understatement jibed nicely with one positive-thinking appraiser’s judgment that climbing all those stairs “is like having a free health club.”
Although Chicago’s house hunters have been seeing some asking price rises, I’m confident when I say that the majority of Chicago properties currently listed are, relatively speaking, absolute steals! If you are thinking of buying or listing, I hope you’ll give me a call.
I am a Chicago Real Estate Broker that loves to show people around the Chicago neighborhoods.