Monday, October 26, 2020

Take me to the river... in North Center!

Many cute signs, crafts and sites along the river path in North Center.  All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty
This extraordinary renovation sits adjacent to the river in North Center.

I took some photos of riverfront paths after showings in North Center early last week.  North Center has been a hotbed for single family homes for the better part of twenty years due partly to strong public and private schools.  In the last ten years median prices of a house really soared. Many service, restaurant and athletic amenities have been developed nearby to meet the demand of these higher net-worth residents.

The Chicago River is a natural amenity that makes the North Center community area even more charming. The path between West Irving Park Road and West Montrose Avenue on the east bank winds past North Center houses that back up to the river. Horner Park is across the river on the west.  It's a unique experience living near the river and parks.

The North Center riverfront area sales within North Western Avenue to the Chicago River and West Irving Park Road to West Montrose Avenue.

North Center single family home sales near the river (shaded area above)
People are hanging on to homes in this section of North Center.  The last couple of years have had over half the sales than the two years prior.

Eleven homes have closed this year from January 1st to October 24th this year. The median price of a closed house is about $725,000 for this section of North Center.  That's lower than the whole of North Center (median price of $1,100,000) but reflects a higher percentage older homes sold this year in this section that have yet to be renovated.  In 2019 over the same period, twelve homes sold with a median price of $965,000.

That's less sold than the two years prior. 2018, twenty-two houses closed with a median price of about $830,000. In 2017, Twenty-nine houses sold over the same period with a median price of about $850,000. 

Homes of all types and grandeur back up to the river (some barley hanging on to a triple lot newer construction luxury home) 

No dumping... but do all these other things!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

National home sales are strong going into fall season

National real estate sales are performing well this early fall season. I somewhat predicted a typical fall season slowdown figuring a bit of exhaustion from the frenzied, pent up demand of June-August and the national election cycle. The over-all market has kept up some steam in early fall.

The Midwest was the most affordable region. Low mortgage rates are an opportunity to plan and purchase a property in the Chicagoland area that will serve you for the long run.
Stuff I read in the latest National Association of Realtors report:
Four week period ending Oct 11th, 2020 (Year to Year)

- Ending OCT 11th, Contact signings are up 21% over a four week period and were up 18% the four weeks prior.

-Median days on the market is 22 days (21 days the four weeks prior)

-Single family homes affordability declined in August. That is home prices increased more than household income for a typical buyer with 20% down payment.

-Mortgage application growth slowed slightly partly due to the decline in home affordability.

-Mortgage interest rates are expected to remain around the 3% level for an extended period.

-Mortgage forbearance (percentage of loans in forbearance) has declined to a 6.32% rate.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Oak Park seeing the most home sales since 2016


The Chicago metro real estate market has performed well despite the pandemic conditions in 2020. A lot of media reports have focused on the heated markets in the west suburbs and the North Shore. However many of our clients move to Oak Park adjacent to the city.  Oak Park is popular Chicago alternative. The little city connected by the Blue and Green lines. A place where you can get a relatively affordable house compared to many Chicago neighborhoods and good schools. How has Oak Park done this year?

Winter is Oak Pak!

Oak Park is seeing the most single family homes sold to date since 2016.  From January 1st to October 15th 406 Oak Park single family homes have closed. The median price of a closed house is $457,000.  The highest sale is 407 North Kenilworth  for $1,975,000.

2019, 321 houses closed with a median price $445,000

2018, 398 houses closed with a median price of $450,000

2017, 398 houses sold with a median price of $457,500

2016, 458 homes sold with a median price $434,900

2015, 383 homes sold with a median price of $424,000

As the pandemic approached and worsened no one could predict what this year's housing market would look like. Unit sales in fact cut in half or more during April and May in many communities. But the Chicago and surrounding single family home markets bounced back like crazy as many buyers took advantage of low interest rates to either move to the burbs or upgrade their square footage in the city.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Real Real retail store coming soon to the Magnificent Mile


The Real Real brick and mortar store at 940 North Michigan Avenue. It is still valuable to see and feel the goods before a luxury purchase!

While downtown Chicago is taking a hit during the societal shifts caused by the coronavirus  new openings on the Magnificent Mile must go on.  The Real Real luxury brand consignment store and services coming soon to 940 North Michigan Avenue. Their offices are currently located at 980 N Michigan Ave.  There will be retail churn and burn this next few years but I think the result will be bold new brands finding their home along the Chicago lakefront.

Views from 980 North Michigan Avenue yesterday

Monday, October 12, 2020

"Keim Furs" building at 1820 West Foster Ave in Lincoln Square / Ravenswood demolished

I've passed the Keim Furs sign my entire life - either living nearby as I do now or visiting family in the area when I was growing up. The vintage building was sold for $980,000 in 2018 and demolished last week. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty

The "Keim Furs" building at 1820 West Foster, Chicago IL 606025 in Ravenswood / Lincoln Square has been demolished.  The property was sold in 2018 to a development company by the Keim family for $980,000 according to public records.  The B1-2 zoning allows for many, many uses as of right or special use permit.

Mixed use two-story building with a couple apartments over street level retail.

Big Joe's bar is to the right on the corner.

Many North Siders and visitors to the area have seen the "Keim Furs" sign for generations. The fur business storefront looked closed up and dingy for years. I'm not clear of they are still in business somewhere else. In any event it's a classic, vintage sign on a two-story mixed use building.  This area of  Lincoln Square / Ravenswood located in 1+ Chappell and Amundsen school districts is very desirable for residential and business development. 

This area is at the intersection of the Ravenswood/ Andersonville / Bowmanville neighborhoods of Lincoln Square, Uptown and Edgewater community areas.  It's a great area if you like restaurants, breweries, cafes, local shopping and good schools! There is no permit for the new construction and I have not seen any zoning / variance applications submitted to the 40th Ward as of yet. My guess is it will be four residential units with retail on the ground floor.  However I can also see a fully commercial endeavor at this location.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Pandemic proof? Lincoln Square home sales 2020 (highest sale $3,250,000)


A certainly charming but modest home for Lincoln Square standards these days.  The median price of sold Lincoln Square single family home for the first three quarters of 2020 is $740,000. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty

We love Lincoln Square homes.  And... so did the Chicago market. Despite the pandemic almost the same number of Lincoln Square homes have sold this year as the same period of 2019. Median price this year is up slightly over last year.

Lincoln Square single family home sales 2020 (January 1st to September 30th)

81 single family homes have closed in the first three quarters of 2020.  The median price of a sold home is $740,000.  88 homes closed over the same period of 2019 with a median price of $725,000.

The highest priced sold house this year is 4431 N Hamilton Ave, Chicago IL 60625 for $3,250,000. The new construction house sits on a 37' wide x 178' long lot in the heart of Lincoln Square. This is only the 2nd home sale recorded in the MLS for over $3M in Lincoln Square since 2016 and probably only the 2nd ever (maybe a non-listed home traded for this amount over the years)Both were on single 37' wide lots and over 175' deep. I predict a handful of private built homes over the last few years will surely break the $3.5M mark whenever they come on the market.

The lowest priced sold home is a small frame house at 2154 West Foster, Chicago IL 60625 for $275,000. That's a pretty good deal for a popular area across from Winnemac Park. No construction permits have been issued yet but a zoning change to build a new construction three flat is likely. 

2154 West Foster (center). The vintage frame single family home sold for $275K and will most likely be replaced by a new construction three-flat. You can see a new 3-flat under construction to the far right of the photo.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Lincoln Park vintage building in Arlington-Deming Historic District to be demolished

A vintage two-flat with a coach house located in the charming Arlington-Deming Historic District of Lincoln Park will be demolished. My business partner Bob resides in Lincoln Park near this block and noticed the fencing yesterday at 516-518 West Arlington Place, Chicago IL 60614. A quick check at my account shows a demo permit had been issued September 25th, 2020. The RM-6 zoning means a taller building with more units is permitted on the lot.

A small vintage multi-unit building and coach house at 516-518 West Arlington Place (All photos Bob DePalma, Eric Rojas, Brokers, Kale Realty)

The building has some history with zoning and development struggles. Back in 2006 the owner at the time tried to redevelopment the parcel despite the down-zoning of the block in 2002. The plans were rejected by the 43rd Ward alderman and Chicago Plan Commission at the time. That same owner purchased the building in 1996 for $340,000 and recently sold the parcel this year for $2,900,000 (sale was recorded in January of this year, source Cook County Recorder of Deeds). Not bad!

No permits have been issued for new construction on the site as of yet and I have not seen a proposal on  the 43rd Ward alderman site.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Big bird at Montrose Harbor

Bird Sculpture looking toward (Montrose Harbor)

A bird sculpture has appeared at Montrose Harbor. I noticed our new friend on a ride last weekend (while waiting for my kids at Margate Park soccer). Others have posted about it since August but it's the first time I've seen it up close and have yet to identify the artist / donor.

The sculpture is located near the Purple Martin houses (not to be confused with the venerable 80s British pop band House Martins).

Purple Martin houses

Montrose Harbor

Friday, September 25, 2020

Healthy home sales in the Ranch Triangle neighborhood, Lincoln Park

Ranch Triangle has a collection of vintage and newer homes among several charming short angled blocks. All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty

I visited a client's home in Ranch Triangle on Friday. They may decide to sell their duplex condo. Ranch Triangle is a desirable Lincoln Park neighborhood located near the popular North and Clybourn retail stretch. Many of the homes are hidden away on angled and short blocks despite being in the middle of Lincoln Park hustle and bustle. It has a "tight knit" community feel where neighbors often know each other.  Let's take a look at recent sales. 

Ranch Triangle in Lincoln Park is roughly West North Avenue, North Halsted, West Armitage and the river to the west. Image from

Ranch Triangle Single Family Home Sales

16 single family homes sold from January 1st through September 24th with a median price of $1.4 million.  1919 N Dayton, Chicago, IL 60614 is the highest priced closing at $4.275 million. The lowest priced sold home is a rare foreclosure sale at 1840 N Bissell for $401,000.  16 home sales over the period was the most unit sales (by one) in the past five years.

-2019 over the same period 12 homes sold for a median price of about $1.6 million. 
-2018 over the same period 7 homes sold with a median price of $1.37 million.
-2017 over the same period 14 homes sold with a median price of about $1.35 million.
-2016 same period 15 homes sold with a median price of $1.52 million

Popular town homes along North Maud

Ranch Triangle Condo Sales (attached and town house units)

Ranch Triangle condo sales have been amazingly consistent over the past five years.
62 condo units (attached units and town homes) sold from January 1st to September 24th. The median price of an attached condo is a beefy $605,000.  1919 N Sheffield Unit 2, Chicago IL 60614 is the highest priced sold unit at $1.72 million.  The lowest sold condo is 1600 N Halsted Unit 2D for $248,000. 

-2019 over the same period 65 units sold with a median price of $550,000. 
-2018 same period 65 units sold with a median price of $543,000.
-2017 same period 71 units sold with a median price of about $554,000.
-2016 same period 67 units sold with a median price of  about $528,500

Despite this year's economic and social challenges Ranch Triangle and Lincoln Park markets have have remained resilient. The location offers some of the best in amenities and housing variety Chicago has to offer.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Openlands non-profit plants trees in Lincoln Square

Openlands plants a parkway tree on the 2400 block of West Winona. The last tree had been removed well over ten years ago.

 Openlands was spotted planting new parkway trees in Lincoln Square this morning. The non-profit has several programs including TreePlanters Grants. In this instance a long time neighbor organized the TreePlanters Grant project just west of Winnemac Park. We're very grateful he did as our area, like many, lost trees in the last serious storm.

Take the first step in organizing your tree planting day by visiting Openlands.

Monday, September 14, 2020

NEWS: Downtown condo supply up, "party house" crack down

Looking for a downtown condo?

Crain's Chicago Business reported at the end of August a 15 month supply of condos in the Lakeshore East area of #downtown and over 11 month supply of condos in popular #Streeterville. Meanwhile many North Side neighborhoods outside of downtown have less than a 3 month supply. A healthy balanced market is considered 4 to 5 month supply.

Many reasons are cited for high downtown supply... including large high-end new construction buildings delivering units, less necessity to live near offices, investor sell-off and real and perceived unrest. The question is how far and how long the dip will last. Story HERE

The party is over!

Chicago has a new Short Term Rental ordinance that cracks down on "party houses" and lowers fees for smaller host businesses. Two new rules include banning single night rentals and preventing listing the short-term rentals online prior to city approval.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Lincoln Square area multi-unit sales (2-4 unit buildings)

All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty

Small multi-unit buildings (2-4 units) have been the lifeblood of many North Side neighborhoods. In the early 1900s many multi-generational family members lived in the separate flats. The small multi-units then became popular vehicles for owner-operators (live in one and rent out the other units to the open leasing market).  Small multi-units evolved into a popular cottage industry for investors and landlords. 

Despite all the conversion activity to single family homes and tear downs small multi-units still remain an important housing stock in our communities. We'll be bringing a Lincoln Square three-flat to market this fall. Let's take a look at recent sales.

Lincoln Square Multi-Unit Sales (2-4 unit buildings)

From January 1st to September 9th 24 multi-unit buildings have closed in Lincoln Square Community Area. The median price of a closed multi-unit is about $630,000.  

-16 of the closings were 2-flats with a median closing price of $585,000

-6 were 3-flats with a median closed price of $710,000

-2 were 4-flats that sold for $582,000 and $630,000 (even with more units the buildings or locations were not as desirable thus the relatively lower median price). 

Over-all multi-unit sales are down by 13 units year to year. In 2019, 37 units closed over the same period with a median price of $670,000.  The pandemic most certainly affected multi-units particularly as it was more difficult to gain access and show properties with tenants. Coronavirus risks in the spring made many apprehensive to buy, list and allow showings in a property.  

Typical Lincoln Square multi-units

Lincoln Square, North Center and Uptown Multi-unit Sales

In the three popular North Side neighboring markets of Lincoln Square, North Center and Uptown 78 multi-units sold from January 1st to September 9th, 2020. The median price of a sold building for these three areas is $630,000. Sales are down 32 units in these combine neighborhoods. In 2019, 110 multi-units sold with a median price of $652,000. 

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

National sales numbers rebound, Chicago matches July 2019


Unit sales rebounded nationally and in Chicago to either equal levels or up over 2019. (All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty)

In February of this year some clients and real estate experts were sounding the alarm about the coronavirus.  I was having conversations about potential impact when selling in the spring market. "If I buy a house will I be able to sell my existing condo?".  Then we went full pandemic in March with shelter in place orders. Something most of us never saw coming or even fathomed. Yet, clients and brokers still had to make decisions. Some bought and sold, some sat out. Here's how some of the sales numbers have panned out.  

The National Association of Realtors reports sales numbers have been resilient despite the pandemic and civil unrest. NAR's Chief Economist suggests "homes sales will be down only 2% - 4% at years end". Some year over year stats:

-National home sales are currently up about 10% year to year 

-Inventory is down about 20%

-Current mortgage applications are up 27% year to year suggesting we may be stable the rest of the year.

June and July were very active for our personal business. Chicago prices held strong through the worst pandemic months and July sales matched 2019.

Meanwhile in the Chicago metro area unit "sales in the nine-county metropolitan area were up 12 percent in July from the same month a year ago" according to Crain's Chicago Business analysis of sales numbers by The Illinois Association of Realtors.

In Chicago, "2,725 homes sold in July, up 0.6 percent from July 2019, or essentially flat. The previous three months’ sales declines were sharper than in the metro area: 20.8 percent in April, 42.6 percent in May and 27.6 percent in June." Ouch.  However, Chicago sales median price is up about 7.5% over July 2019.

It appears the Chicago suburbs did see a spike of activity from those seeking more space for their new "work-at-home, school-at-home" life. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Sold! Buyer clients trade the city for Hinsdale (sales are up)

609 Grant, Hinsdale IL 60521 on the morning walk-through before closing. 

Our long time clients recently closed on a classic Hinsdale single family home. After eight years owning in the South Loop it was their time to enjoy a little more space, a yard and home maintenance 😂 609 Grant was listed for $649,900 and our clients closed for $635,000 with additional closing cost considerations. The $635,000 range is a value for the neighborhood while our clients got everything on their wish list; ensuite bathroom in main bedroom, big yard and deck, two car garage, finished basement and main floor guest bedroom for their growing family! 

Hinsdale home sales in 2020

Hinsdale homes sale units and median price are up a bit over 2019. So far this year 213 homes have been recorded as sold from January 1st to August 28th.  The median price of a closed house is $930,000.  Over the same period in 2019 about 200 homes sold with a median price of $900,000. The pandemic boost some are writing about may be in play.   

We hate to see some of our clients leave the city but we are always excited to help them find their suburban homes. We bring the same resources and care to the suburban house as we do in the city!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Under contract! South Loop condo sells fast with multiple offers (and peek at South Loop sales)


I look forward to high-rise life when I'm an empty nester! South Loop is a popular destination for those that want to experience Chicago's cultural amenities and lakefront. (All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty and

Our latest listing at 1101 South State is under contract after multiple offers. The building features amenities including 24/hr door staff, outdoor pool, garage parking, event room and sun deck. The location is on the doorstep of Chicago's Museum Campus

Check out the quick walk-through, photos and more info of Unit 2102 HERE.

The views from our latest listing at 1101 S State Street, Unit 2102, Chicago IL 60605 

South Loop condo sales January 1st and August 27th, 2020

South Loop is dominated by high-rise buildings.  Considering the nature of the coronavirus pandemic it is interesting to see how attractive the high-rise condo market has been this year. 405 condo (attached units and attached town houses) have sold thus far in 2020. The median price of a sold condo is about $380,000. Unit sales are down year to year by 18% while median price was about even. In 2019 over the same period 495 condo units sold with a median price of about $372,500. I think many would have predicted a worse outcome when the shelter in place order went into effect.  

Fun Fact: 1201 S Prairie Unit 5301 is the highest priced sold condo at $1,620,000. The lowest priced sold condo is 345 East Eastgate Place Unit 305 for $125,000.

Pool life! 1101 S State along with several other South Loop buildings offer the amenity lifestyle in a central location. 

After a spring pause the Chicago market had a hot June and July despite the pandemic. Early this year I was predicting a relatively slow fall due the upcoming national election. I think the recent civil unrest, lingering pandemic and the election will ultimately hamper over-all unit transactions for the remainder of the year.   

Monday, August 17, 2020

Video! South Loop condo near Museum Campus, great views $309,900, garage parking $25K

Willis Tower and lake views from your South Loop condo (all photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty and

Take a real, down to earth walk-through of 1101 South State - Unit 2102 to get a feel of the condo and surrounding area.  I like to take these casual videos to help buyers view a unit before the live showing. This South Loop high-rise building offers a terrific lifestyle no matter your needs. Close to work? Check! Empty nester? Check! Need to entertain the kids? Check! Parking?? We got it! Enjoy the cultural center of Chicago outside your door.

 Click HERE for the video walk through

Check out the views! Centrally located South Loop two bedrooms, two baths condo steps from the lake front listed at $309,900. Deeded garage parking $25K! Enjoy the city life surrounded by Chicago's cultural HQ. With new appliances, newer floors and freshly painted this unit is well kept and move-in ready. Willis Tower and lake views from the private walk-out balcony. Spacious main bedroom with en-suite bathroom and organized walk-in closet. Bright 2nd bedroom and guest bath right across the hall. In-unit full size washer and dryer! Storage cage included. 

Amenity building features gorgeous outdoor pool and sun deck, 24/hr door staff, party room, guest suite and dog run (woof!). Formula Fitness Club on site! Assessment includes Heat, Air Conditioning, Water, Gas, Common Insurance, Doorman, TV/Cable, Pool, Exterior Maintenance, Lawn Care, Scavenger, Snow Removal, Wi-Fi, Internet Access. Steps to the world class museum campus, Soldier Field, Grant Park festivities, endless shopping and dining (Trader Joe's, Jewel, Starbucks a few minutes walk) and the Loop business district. Two blocks from CTA Red Line and Michigan Ave! Walk outside to stunning architecture, lakefront parks and 24/7 entertainment and services outside your door!

Amazing amenities, restaurants and parks steps from your door. 

1101 South State, Unit 2101, Chicago IL 60605 asking $309,900 plus $25,000 for deeded parking.

Exclusively listed by Eric Rojas, Kale Realty, 2447 N Ashland, Chicago IL 606014 - - 312-939-5253

Friday, August 14, 2020

Near North Chicago condo sales

Gold Coast and Streeterville high-rise condos fuel Near North Side sales. Being close to the lake front, dining and shopping is the name of the game. (All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty) 
We're back in the Near North Side Community Area with new listings and buyer clients. Near North is home to famous neighborhoods such as Gold Coast, Old Town and Streeterville. It's a fantastic area to enjoy the high-rise life. Near North is also home to many mid-rise and smaller walk-up vintage buildings.  A spattering of expensive single family homes grace Old Town and Gold Coast. But make no mistake: condos dominate Near North.

Near North Condo Sales 2020 (Jan 1st - Aug 7th)

About 1149 condos have sold in the Near North Community Area from January 1st to August 7th. The median price of a sold condo is about $410,000. 

High Rise Units (50+ units in a building) accounted for 959 of the sales with a median price of about $355,000. Condo buildings with 2-49 units accounted for 190 sales with a median price of about $567,000. Large condos in smaller buildings sell for a premium in Near North. 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

New For Sale! Gold Coast condo with gorgeous views $339,900

1360 N Sandburg Unit 2401 is all about the views! All photos Eric Rojas, Broker, Kale Realty and
Check out our new listing in the Gold Coast at iconic Sandburg Village. Spacious and bright 1360 N Sandburg Terrace Unit 2401 features two beds, two baths and large balcony.  There is no shortage of sun and views from this inviting home! Check on the 3D virtual tour!

Take a quick video walk-through HERE!

Chic, airy apartment that feels like a real home. Features include:

Sophisticated Old Town two bedrooms, two bathrooms corner condo with mesmerizing lake views. The 24th floor home features truly spacious rooms and large balcony with 180 degree views of the lake and city. Updated and artful this apartment sings city living! 

True entry foyer with space for your everyday essentials. Original refinished parquet floors grace the bright airy living room. Massive built-in bookshelf for your collections. Smart layout allows for various furniture arrangements and a true dining area. Updated and refreshed kitchen is fully equipped with dishwasher and stainless appliances. Two large bedrooms are split to opposite sides of the apartment with updated bathrooms located outside each door. Views from every room! 


Cummings House in Sandburg Village enjoys DirectTV, WiFi, water, heat, professional door staff, elevators and management on site included in the assessment. Exclusive members only two huge pools, tennis court and Fitness Formula Club steps from your door for reduced resident fees. Laundry in building with refillable rate card, package receiving room, bike room, storage cage, garage parking ($165/mth), common roof deck and dry cleaner. Pet friendly! Attentive condo building management and well cared for common areas. 

World class location in the middle of all that Gold Coast and Old Town have to offer. Minutes to downtown via three bus lines, Division Red Line two blocks away or easy access to Lake Shore Drive. Steps to two grocery stores, Oak Street and North Avenue Beaches and lakefront paths. Float above the city in this classy, quiet and convenient home.

1360 N Sandburg Terrace Unit 2401, Chicago IL 60610 asking $339,900

Exclusively listed by Eric Rojas, Kale Realty 2447 N Ashland, Chicago IL 60614 

PH: 312-939-5253 -