January Deal Estate: Home Sales, News, and Trends
Sold: From Courthouse to Condos
At the historic former DuPage County Courthouse, a duplex condominium with three bedrooms and a dramatic patio in an open-air section of the clock tower has sold for $862,500. That’s 45 percent of the $1.9 million that Focus Development initially wanted for the condo when it began converting the ornate stone building into six residences in 2005.
The 4,700-square-foot home was originally the project’s highest-priced unit. But because it lingered on the market so long, a condo half its size—and without the unique terrace—took the top spot when it went for $1.08 million in 2008, according to Anita Olsen, the broker handling sales for Focus.
Built in 1896, the courthouse was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style by Mifflin E. Bell; it was one of more than 25 courthouses and post offices he designed for municipalities around the country. In 1925, it was the scene of the sensational murder trial of the Chicago riding instructor George Munding, who shot to death his lover, Julia Abb Douglass, on her horse farm in Hinsdale. The legendary lawyer Clarence Darrow defended Munding, saving him from the death penalty. (Munding was sentenced to 22 years in prison.) The courtroom where the trial was held is now a 3,600-square-foot condo, the building’s final unsold unit. Priced at $695,000, down from $1.7 million, it was under contract at presstime.
Sold: Locking It In
Built by LG Development, this house with six bedrooms and an art deco façade sold last October for $4.275 million. The LG house next door went for $4.5 million last February, and there were several other nearby multimillion-dollar sales in 2012. “Buyers wanted to get locked down before prices and financing costs start climbing,” says Brian Goldberg, an LG principal.
Deal of the Month: $299,900
This three-bedroom Cape Cod–style house on the Northwest Side sold for $370,000 in 2005. Since then, the seller has put on a new roof, added an enclosed back porch, updated the kitchen, and renovated the second-floor bath. The growing family needs more space, explains the listing agent, Cheryl Hanna of Re/Max Professionals Select.
That’s how much below their market value foreclosed homes were selling in metropolitan Chicago last fall, according to Zillow. A year earlier they were around 16 percent, and at their December 2008 peak, they were at 28 percent. The drop is evidence that foreclosures are being bid up by investors and other eager buyers; for sellers of homes not in distress, it means that foreclosures are exerting less downward pull on their prices. Nationally, the discount is 8 percent, down from an August 2009 peak of nearly 24 percent.
Photography: (top) Courtesy of Focus Development; (right) Dennis Rodkin