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Pricey Smart Homes Are Popping up in Humboldt Park

Characterized by street-facing windows, flat roof lines, and side entrances, these contemporary homes can — and do — push the neighborhood’s price range.

Modern-looking “smart homes” are changing Humboldt Park’s streetscape.   PHOTO: REDFIN CORPORATION

Homeowners in Humboldt Park haven’t just seen real estate prices in their neighborhood rebound in the years since the recession; in some cases, property values have skyrocketed too.

According to multiple reports, including one by the Chicago Association of Realtors subsequently covered in Crain’s, the median sale price in Humboldt Park shot up by 45 percent in the first six months of 2018 compared to the same period last year. Property assessments are also up since the last major assessment from three years ago.

While the gains may be welcomed by longtime homeowners and flippers in the area, budget-conscious buyers are finding that Humboldt’s post-recession deals have all but evaporated. Surrounded by pricer neighborhoods like Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, and Logan Square, Humboldt Park has witnessed a boom in new construction and commercial activity, attracting newer, oftentimes upwardly mobile residents as well as new retail and attractions.

One trend in the area: the rise of hyper-contemporary “smart homes,” residences made with sustainable building materials and often possessing high-tech, automated controls. Characterized by large street-facing windows, flat roof lines, and side entrances, these newer, pricier homes typically take the place of existing houses or multi-family buildings in need of a renovation.

Their prices can — and do — push the neighborhood’s average range. And though they’ve mostly popped up east of the park in what is technically still West Town, smart homes and their builders have begun moving west of Kedzie into Humboldt proper.

The listing information for greater Humboldt Park can reveal quite a bit about the ways in which the neighborhood is changing. Here’s a look at some properties, both east and west of the park, which illustrate the rising values and cost of homeownership in this quintessential Chicago neighborhood.

1709 N. Washtenaw Avenue, $948,000

Photo: Hometown Real Estate Group LLC

Steps away from the 606, this new 3,700-square-footer epitomizes the development happening around the elevated pedestrian trail. A search on Google Street View shows that the five-bedroom, four-bathroom home took the place of a small worker cottage, a style typical of the area in the years surrounding the Great Chicago Fire. The now-demolished cottage sold in May 2017 for $349,000, records show.

1637 N. Whipple Street $659,900

Photo: Redfin Corporation

Constructed in 2013, this smart home a few blocks north of the park shot up while much of the Chicago housing market was still recovering from the recession. Built on a vacant lot that went for $80,000 in August 2012, the 3,000-square-foot home sold in July 2013 for $429,900. Now, the house returns five years later with a $230,000 bump in appreciation.

1710 N. Kimball Avenue $949,900

Photo: VHT Studios

Neither a smart house nor a single family home, this classic frame three-flat on Kimball exemplifies the price boom in properties along the 606. The gut rehabbed property boasts three apartments, each with stainless steel appliances and in-unit laundry. The building sold for $415,000 last August, closing $15,000 over the original asking price.

1738 N. Rockwell Street $1.099 million

Photo: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff

Priced a dollar under the $1.1 million mark, this 3,600-square-foot residence is one of the priciest single family homes in Humboldt Park. Built in 2010, the building is approaching a decade old, making it one of the earliest new construction smart homes along the Bloomingdale Trail. And like those that followed it, this home replaced an older-frame flat that sold for a paltry $104,000 in March 2010.

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