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House Prices 2009

Our annual survey of home prices in 288 Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs

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Real Estate Tales »
From housing’s front lines, eight stories about fraught-filled foreclosures, diminishing home values, development downturns, souring investments, and unlikely bargains

Chicago’s annual real-estate charts lay out in painful detail the familiar headline news: The housing market is as grim here as in most other parts of the country. Of the 288 neighborhoods and suburbs listed on the charts—prepared with information provided by Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED)—only 15 saw the average price of a single-family house go up during our measuring period, between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009. (Another 15 communities did not have enough sales for us to reliably judge the percentage of increase or decrease.) Other major indicators showed significant hits as well. In the suburbs, 28,819 houses were sold, about 4,000 fewer than last year, a decrease of 12.29 percent. (With 6,956 sales, the city experienced a slight uptick—about 400 more sales than last year; but many of those increased sales came in neighborhoods beset by foreclosures, where investors, “bulk buying” for bargains, have been picking up several foreclosed houses at once.) And the time a home remained on the market increased in 83 percent of the communities listed on the charts; the average time overall, according to MRED, was 172 days on the market.

Still, there are pockets where prices have been stable or on the rise. For the most part, they are high-end neighborhoods and towns where foreclosures and job losses have not had a big impact. These are also (generally) places where the number of sales is small and a few super-high prices can dramatically affect a community’s average sale price. That’s the case in the two suburbs that saw this year’s biggest increases. Barrington Hills led the way (with a 14.07 percent increase), followed by Kenilworth (10.07). About half of the sales in both communities were for $1 million or more.

In the city, Pullman led the way, with an 8-percent rise in its average house price. That Far South Side neighborhood was also the only one of our 288 communities to enjoy not only an increase in price, but an increase in the number of sales (12 more than last year) and a decrease in the time on the market (78 fewer days than last year). According to Patrick Brakie, the president of the South Side–based Brakie Realty, some of Pullman’s older residents have been selling their homes, and the new owners have then resold them at slightly higher prices after a round of renovations.


These charts were prepared using data supplied by Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED). In addition to charting home prices in the 77 Chicago community areas recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau, we have also tracked sales in most towns in Cook, DuPage, and Lake counties where figures were available. For the outlying counties—Kane, McHenry, and Will—we have listed a number of representative towns. In Lake County, the town listed as Round Lake also includes Round Lake Beach, Round Lake Heights, and Round Lake Park.

The first column on each chart lists the average sale price for all the houses sold in each neighborhood or suburb from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009. (Obviously, if only a handful of houses were sold in a particular community, the average sale price risks being unrepresentative.) Average sale prices for the Chicago suburbs are based upon the sale of single-family homes, what MRED classifies as “detached” housing. For Chicago, where a sizable portion of the housing stock is composed of townhouses, condos, and lofts—“attached” housing—we have also included average sale prices and number of sales for attached homes during the same period.

The second column reports the average number of days that houses remained on the market before they were sold, which can be an indicator of an area’s desirability. The third column lists the number of house sales within each community from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009.

The fourth column reports the percentage of increase or decrease in average sale price since the 12-month period beginning July 1, 1993, and ending June 30, 1994, the earliest date for which MRED has comprehensive data available for most of the city neighborhoods and suburbs. In Albany Park, for example, the average sale price 15 years ago was $134,203; this past year, it was $331,799, an increase of 147.24 percent.

The fifth column represents the percentage of increase or decrease in average sale price since the 12-month period beginning July 1, 2007, and ending June 30, 2008. In Chicago, we list the percentages for detached homes only. The percentages of increases or decreases in sale prices since June 30, 2008, for townhouses and condos in neighborhoods with sales of 75 or more attached homes are:

Albany Park
Grand Boulevard
Hyde Park
Irving Park
Lake View
Lincoln Park
Lincoln Square
Logan Square
Near North Side
Near South Side
Near West Side
North Center
Roers Park
South Shore
West Ridge
West Town

In some instances, where data was insufficient or unavailable, we have inserted the symbol “N/A” (not available, or not applicable). Specifically, for city neighborhoods and suburbs—such as Armour Park and Bannockburn—that had fewer than ten house sales during the 2008-2009 time period, we have listed no percentage change since 1994 or 2008 because the available data provided an insufficient basis for comparison between past and present sales.


Created through the consolidation of the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois (MLSNI) and MAP Multiple Listing Service, Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) is one of the largest multiple listing services in the country. It has a unique hybrid structure of Realtor Association economic interest combined with broker ownership and control. The creation of one data aggregation and distribution entity has proved to be a huge benefit to brokers and agents. Currently, MRED’s Multiple Listing Service systems have more than 139,000 active real-estate listings, 4.8 million off-market listings, approximately two million photo files, and 3.4 million tax records for 11 northern Illinois counties (the six counties in our article plus Boone, DeKalb, Grundy, Kendall, and Winnebago counties).

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