The vigorous Chicago-area housing market recently passed another milestone when for the first time it recorded more than 1,000 home sales of $1 million or more in a single year.

According to the Chicago Association of Realtors, 1,003 homes sold in that price range between July 1, 2001, and June 30, 2002, an increase of 11.7 percent over the preceding 12-month period.

And for the first time in the five years that Chicago has tracked these transactions, three of the six highest prices paid in the six-county metropolitan area were for homes in the city. The number of high-end sales in Chicago (276), however, represented only 27.5 percent of all such sales, a drop of 8.3 percent. In the suburbs, the number of luxury sales shot up by 21.7 percent.

Chicago’s Gold Coast led all areas, city and suburban, with 119 sales in the upper bracket, followed by Lake Forest (116), Winnetka (98), Lincoln Park (91), and Hinsdale (73).

As for the top slot, there was a tie between the suburbs and the city for the most expensive house sold. Occupying four city lots in Lincoln Park, a 14,000-square-foot mansion built in 1998 by the former MarchFirst CEO Robert Bernard sold for $9.5 million. And on Sheridan Road in Winnetka, a mansion designed in 1928 by the architects Mayo and Mayo also went for $9.5 million (see Deal Estate, February 2002).

Here are the four next highest prices paid for Chicago-area real estate in the past year:

An 86-year-old, 14-room mansion off Sheridan Road in Glencoe with 254 feet of Lake Michigan frontage went for $6.8 million. Originally part of an enormous lakefront estate, it is hidden behind two former gatehouses that themselves are intriguing Sheridan Road homes.

  • An 8,400-square-foot apartment on the 62nd floor of the Park Tower at 800 North Michigan Avenue was sold-unfinished-for $6.15 million, making it the first apartment to crack Chicago’s top-five listing (for more on the Park Tower, see page 162).
  • An 1895 mansion in Highland Park went for $5.3 million, making it the most expensive home ever sold in that North Shore suburb (Deal Estate, March 2002). The ten-room house with a three-bedroom coach house has views of both the lake and a wooded ravine.
  • In Lincoln Park (near Oz Park), a new stone house built last year on a triple lot was sold for $5.25 million. The architect, Erik Henrickson, adorned the exterior of the 11-room house with pillars, arches, and grid work, stylistic details he employed in the interior as well.

Those homes were in either Cook or Lake County. In the area’s other four counties, the highest-priced sales were:

  • In DuPage County, a 14-room brick and stone mansion built in 1999 was sold for $3.5 million in Hinsdale, which had the county’s seven highest house sale prices.
  • In Kane County, a six-year-old home in St. Charles with 11 rooms was sold for $1.59 million.
  • In McHenry County, a 22-room house on 15 acres in Barrington Hills was sold for $4.25 million (Deal Estate, December 2001)-far exceeding the county’s second highest sale price of $2.8 million.
  • In Will County, a new 13-room house on a wooded lot in the southeastern corner of Naperville sold for $1.34 million. In fact, Naperville homes accounted for four of the top five sale prices in the county.