The upper reaches of the metro-area housing market did mighty well in 2013: 2,037 million-dollar-plus properties sold last year, 33 percent more than in 2012. (That compares with 23 percent more properties sold overall.)
It’s additional proof, if you needed it, that Chicagoland is experiencing two separate real-estate recoveries: a robust one in affluent neighborhoods, where prices are back to 2004 levels and buyers are snapping up houses and condos quickly, and a more lethargic one in high-foreclosure neighborhoods, where prices are back to only 1997 levels.
While summer is typically the strongest selling season, in 2013, the most expensive properties sold best in November and December, and the momentum shows few signs of slowing down. “Buyers got more confident as they saw more people making the move [to buy big-ticket homes],” explains Prudential Rubloff agent Janet Owen, who sold two of the five priciest places in Cook County last year. To see them—plus the tops in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties—see below.
1 $12.7 million
Dmitry Godin, the CEO of Interbank Mortgage in Lincolnshire, bought this 15,000-square-foot, 17-room French Colonial limestone mansion in June—and promptly shattered the previous sales record for the tony North Shore village. Only four years old, the house sits on a lakefront parcel with 137 feet of private beach. Inside Godin can stretch out in seven bedrooms, eight full and two partial baths, a wine cellar, and a sunroom with an 18-foot ceiling. Oh yes: There’s an elevator too.
2 $9.0 million
Hedge fund exec Joe Nicholas broke records both purchasing and unloading this 11,000-square-footer. When he bought it for $8.5 million in 2010, it was the priciest house sale in the city in four years. And he sold it in December for more money than any city house had fetched since the boom. Even so, he lost money on the deal; he had also spent more than $1 million for a side lot that he sold with the place.
3 $8.0 million
Built in 2007, this five-bedroom, seven-bath stone mansion, which sold in November, boasts pretty much the amenities you’d expect: a four-car garage, wine cellar, secluded 42,000-square-foot lot, and two limestone terraces overlooking a private Lake Michigan beach.
4 $7.1 million
This 100-year-old brick house—once part of the Playboy Mansion, although it’s a separate building—was restored in 1999 to its full elegance by former owner Deborah Bricker. Think chandeliers, cherubim, and herringbone floors.
5 $7.0 million
The entire 17th floor of the Mayfair, a Beaux Arts building on East Lake Shore Drive that used to house the Mayfair Regent Hotel, sold in December as a pocket listing—meaning it never even hit the open market.
. . . And the priciest in the other metro-area counties
The 11,500-square-foot house in Hinsdale boasts seven bedrooms, seven full and two partial baths, and a private pool next to a trellised garden.
A five-acre parcel, a horse barn, 7,500 square feet of living space, an elevator, and tons of custom woodwork and stained glass: That’s what the buyer of this Wayne house snagged.
Former Hollywood starlet Jana Wacker owned this 10-acre Lake Bluff spread for nearly 40 years. Put on the market after her August death, it sold in less than a week.
An 1880s Barrington Hills farmhouse that had been massively expanded in the past 15 years first went on the market at $3.2 million in 2009. It finally sold in November for less than half that.
Shorewood, a growing town 44 miles southwest of Chicago, makes its first showing in the top-sellers list with a 9,100-square-foot house that has five bedrooms, six full baths, and a six-car garage.