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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

(page 10 of 15)

SUBURBS

CLARENDON HILLS
County: DuPage
Population: 8,570

Its streets curve around and over hills, its teensy downtown has some fine new restaurants (Scapa, Soul, and Maijean), and its housing is a healthy mix of new, old, and older. Clarendon Hills is the little-village suburb many people who leave the city covet, but they usually find it only after checking out its more expensive neighbor, Hinsdale.

Clarendon Hills, says Bryan Bomba, a Re/Max Elite agent who has represented several newly built homes there, is “the Hinsdale experience at a better price point.” Your housing dollar buys as much as 15 percent more interior square footage in Clarendon Hills, he estimates, and the lots are bigger, too. What’s more, builders have found the zoning to be slightly more permissive: “You can do the same square footage in two stories instead of the three” that you would need in Hinsdale, Bomba says.

On the other hand, that looser rein does mean that, unlike in Hinsdale (where virtually every new residence is a gem), there are a few clunkers among the new houses here. While Clarendon Hills has a significant number of big new replacement houses—particularly south of the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks—there are many intact original homes selling for between $300,000 and $700,000.

PLUS: Most Clarendon Hills residents can send their children to the stellar schools in Hinsdale District 181.
MINUS: Property taxes are about 10 percent higher in Clarendon Hills than in Hinsdale. On top of that, Bomba says, resale values on the new homes in Clarendon Hills might take a harder hit during the ongoing real-estate downturn than in better-established Hinsdale.

 

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