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North Center

Photo: Mikel Pickett

Formerly a magnet for hipster couples toting hipster babies, Roscoe Village has matured into a more mainstream place. The two bustling shopping districts between Damen and Western Avenues—one on Roscoe Street and one on Belmont Avenue—still offer funky boutiques. Hungry Brain still holds its great weekly experimental jazz series. Beat Kitchen still books gritty indie bands almost nightly. But today you’ll see more preppy moms pushing high-end strollers and ferrying their older kids to the highly rated Bell Elementary.

Some longtime residents may bemoan the neighborhood’s blunted edge, but they sure aren’t bemoaning what’s happened to their property values. Since 2006 (the year that preceded the start of the real-estate crash), prices of single-family houses in greater North Center have risen nearly 8 percent. That’s more than in any other area of the city.

If you want the most for your money, stick with condos. Three-bedroom units in the many four-story buildings that have cropped up along Belmont in the past 15 years command about $400,000 apiece, less than half the price of one of the pert frame houses that fill this neighborhood.

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