Where to Buy Now

The silver lining behind the residential real-estate collapse is the opportunity for housing bargains. Here are 14 up-and-coming Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs where prices are relatively low and the promise for future growth is strong

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CITY NEIGHBORHOODS

SOUTH SHORE
Situated roughly between 67th and 79th streets on the north and south, and Lake Michigan and Stony Island Avenue on the east and west

When Michelle Obama was growing up in South Shore in the 1960s and ’70s, the working-class neighborhood had been hit hard by the decline of Chicago’s steel industry. The enormous lakefront steelworks south and east of the neighborhood had long employed many locals; now it has been in disuse for almost two decades.

Today, plans are in the works to create new residential neighborhoods, along with retail outlets and maybe a dock (for ferries traveling north to Navy Pier), on the old steelworks grounds—and a major beneficiary should be South Shore. “This is the last lakefront neighborhood that is underserved,” says Sherell Slaise, who, with Sarah Ware, sells property with the Carter Ware Group.

Slaise could also have said that the neighborhood was underpriced. Last spring, a nicely maintained red-brick bungalow was sold for $179,500; another oversize bungalow on a corner lot went for $250,000 in February. And in April, a 12-room red-brick house built in 1911—this one in the pretty, landmark Jackson Park Highlands—was sold for $610,000. Each of these sales was a remarkable bargain; prices like these on comparable properties in Hyde Park or on the North Side haven’t been seen since the beginning of the millennium.

PLUS: Rainbow Beach, with dramatic views of the skyline and places to picnic, swim, and kayak; the beautiful South Shore Country Club, now a Chicago Park District facility
MINUS: Shopping options are thin, though that deficiency could be overcome with the future development of the steel land; in the meantime there are new big-box stores sprouting up on Stony Island Avenue, and Hyde Park has good restaurants.

 

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