The Survivor

House withstands the Great Depression and current crisis

LAKE FOREST
LIST PRICE: $1.150 million
SALE PRICE: $875,000

This 16-room brick mansion with five fireplaces has endured two epochal drops in the real-estate market. Built in 1928, when it was valued at about $65,000, the house was foreclosed during the Great Depression and sat unsold from 1935 to 1940, when it went for $19,000.

Now, nearly 70 years later, the house has been sold for $875,000 in a preforeclosure short sale—meaning that, with the bank’s approval, the house was sold for less than the sellers owed on the mortgage. In May 1999, the sellers had paid $1,045,000 for the house; they had been asking $1.3 million for it in 2008. According to Daniel Simek, the Apple Creek Realty agent who represented the foreclosing bank in the February 2009 sale, the buyers expect to spend another $200,000 to $300,000 to renovate the house. Neither the buyers nor the sellers are identified in public records.

The house was constructed as part of the Deerpath Hill Estates subdivision. Its developer, Henry Turnbull, “went bankrupt in grand style in 1932,” says Paul Bergmann, a Lake Bluff attorney who has studied the subdivision’s history. “[Turnbull] had layers and layers of mortgages,” Bergmann says. “Every time values went up, he took out another mortgage. Sound familiar?”

 

Photograph: Dennis Rodkin

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