The Midwest is not too happy, according to Zillow; the new owners of this Evanston home are happy about what was left in the fridge; and the Metropolitan Planning Council is sponsoring a contest to find the most beloved public place.

Three dispatches about happiness:

  • According to a new homeowner confidence survey from, homeowners in the Midwest are more glum about the near-term future of the value of their homes than their counterparts in the rest of the country. The survey, released Tuesday, comes on the heels of last week’s data-crammed report from Zillow about home values.

    While that report provided data down to the neighborhood level, Tuesday’s survey breaks the United States into four geographical regions. Of those regions, the Midwest had the highest number of respondents—25 percent—who thought that the value of their homes would decrease over the next six months. (Only 17 percent of respondents in the northeast and the south, and 19 percent in the west, expected their homes to decrease in value over that same time period.) The Midwest also had the smallest number of respondents—27 percent—who thought that their homes would increase in value over the next six months. (In the northeast and south, 38 percent of the respondents thought that their home’s value would increase, while 30 percent in the west shared that opinion.)

    Compare those numbers to what Zillow calls the “market reality.” According to the company’s latest survey, the hardest hit geographical region was the west, with 89 percent of homes there actually decreasing in value; in the Midwest, 84 percent of homes decreased, followed by the south (80 percent) and the northeast (77 percent).

  • Last year, Paul Hart, the CEO of the Chicago wine-collectors’ brokerage Hart Davis Hart, included 200 bottles of his finest wines with the 16-room Evanston house he was selling for $1.8 million. But Hart’s agent, James Konold of Koenig & Strey GMAC, says that the eventual buyers, whom he would not identify, declined the wine and instead took about $14,000 off the price. (The sale on the 111-year-old house closed August 12th at $1.3 million after the asking price had been cut to $1.45 million.) Here’s the happy part: “[Hart] decided to leave them some very nice wine anyway,” Konold says. He would not specify how many bottles, but said it was more than a case. “And the champagne he left in the refrigerator was very valuable,” Konold says.
  • This time of year, all it takes to make me happy is a walk along Lake Michigan. But there are dozens of other fantastic spots around the city and suburbs, and the Metropolitan Planning Council is running a contest to find out which is the most beloved public place in the Chicago region. Nominees range in scale from Millennium Park to a community garden on a single house lot on the North Side. Many suburban locations have also been nominated. The polls close September 14th.

Evanston home photo courtesy of Koenig & Strey GMAC