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Frank Sinatra isn’t the only one who agrees Chicago is “My kind of town.” People from all over the globe have settled in this Midwestern metropolis. The energy of the city attracts homebuyers from all walks of life and the wide range of quality housing options keeps them here.

Chicago has a strong history of self-sufficiency, diversity, revolutionary ideas, and natural beauty, which makes it a great place to invest. The city is a veritable cultural marketplace, luring everyone from real estate entrepreneurs to first-time home owners. The local housing market is packed with all types of residences, from high-rise condominiums to single-family homes. And, each neighborhood offers buyers a slightly different setting, so no matter what you’re looking for, the Windy City is sure to suffice.

For the most part, Chicago’s ultra-prime real estate is near to downtown or along the Lake Michigan shoreline. There are several distinct communities up and down the lakefront, lined with soaring condo buildings and even some private residences. The lofty lakeside dwellings offer sweeping views of endless blue water and the surrounding urban backdrop. Condos and lofts become more densely stacked as you get closer to the Loop, but these downtown addresses are the epitome of Chicago living, coupling big city conveniences with incredible lake views.

New construction and gut rehab of older architecture is a huge trend in 21st century Chicago. Many of the homes here feature modern amenities and finishes, whether you’re interested in buying a vintage walk-up or an über-contemporary condo. It’s not hard to find upgraded interiors, energy-efficient windows and other state-of-the-art appointments that make for a comfortable living space.

In addition to countless brand new residential buildings (several of which are designed by internationally-renowned architects), there are plenty of historical houses scattered about Chicago. Numerous neighborhood streets are lined with rows of late 19th century townhomes – some are still single-family abodes, but most have been split into multi-unit residences. These brick and stone structures are charming reminders of the era following the Great Fire of 1871 when wood construction was banned.

The average sales price for detached single-family homes in Chicago is around $399,000 and just over $216,000 for attached properties (condos, lofts and townhouses). Sale prices vary greatly from one area to the next, though, so make sure to shop around when searching for real estate within your budget. For example, private residences in Lincoln Park had a median sales price of $1.5 million in 2007, while houses in Beverly had a median sales price of $330,000. In 2007, over 20,000 attached homes and more than 7,500 detached homes sold in Chicago, which is a decrease from the previous boom years when 24,000 condos/lofts and 12,000 houses sold in the city.

The surplus of housing inventory and historically low interest rates has created a buyer’s market that offers house hunters many opportunities to own a home in Chicago. Each neighborhood – and in some cases, every street – maintains slightly different real estate conditions than the next. Much of Chicago is experiencing home value appreciation however there are several communities where property prices are going down. So it pays to do your research.

Developments & Area Regions

Chicago has grown both up and out over the years. Now, the city is divided into several different regions that center about the downtown Loop: North/Central, Northwest, West Side, Near South, Far South Side and Southwest. Some of the more recently revitalized areas include the West Loop, South Loop, Near North, and Bronzeville. Other neighborhoods, such as Bucktown, Wicker Park and River West, have also experienced transformations into thriving, active residential communities where there were once warehouse districts and rundown industrial corridors. Even the Loop has evolved from a strict business sector into a sought-after place to live.

Chicago Real Estate Statistics

  • Median detached home sales prices in 2007 ranged from $67,000 to $1.2 million
  • Median attached home sales prices in 2007 ranged from $73,000 to $413,000
  • The average market time for detached homes in 2007 was 124 days
  • The average market time for attached homes in 2007 was 109 days

Source: Chicago Association of Realtors