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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

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The eastern section of the neighborhood, bounded roughly by North, Western, Chicago, and Kedzie avenues

At Café Colao on Division Street in eastern Humboldt Park, they serve a great ham-and-cheese sandwich called the Matamonchi (“kill the munchies"). The neighborhood itself is something of a sandwich these days, pressed between the superpopular Wicker Park neighborhood on the east and, to the west, the amazing park that gives this neighborhood its name. 

Nice place to live? Oh, yeah. Along with the park and Wicker Park’s hot nightlife, there are the shops and restaurants along Division Street, known here as Paseo Boricua, an acknowledgment of the area’s big Puerto Rican population (“boricua” refers to the original inhabitants of Puerto Rico, which was called “boriken” in precolonial times). Older graystone and brick multi-flat buildings, along with a good dose of newly constructed and rehabbed condos, are all priced well. It’s easy to find a condo below $200,000. “If you’re paying $450,000 in Wicker Park, you’re going to pay $300,000 for the same thing in Humboldt Park right now,” says Karen Biazar of North Clybourn Group, who has been selling homes in both neighborhoods for more than a decade.

Biazar’s company is also putting up several new condo structures in the neighborhood. She says that zoning for new multi-unit buildings on the main streets allows for wider floor plans than the norm.

PLUS: Humboldt Park, which provides the neighborhood with its name, has an enormous, picturesque lagoon, a gorgeous triple-arched waterfront pavilion, broad lawns, and big ball fields.
MINUS: This year there have been several instances of violent crime in the neighborhood, and many blocks have a weedy look. The area is improving incrementally, however, particularly on its eastern edge, near Western Avenue.



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