A recently sold Naperville home

List Price: $1.199 million
Sale Price: $1.05 million
The Property: This 16-room house on the far western edge of Naperville sold in November for $1.05 million. That’s 38 percent of what it cost to build. In approving the short sale—where a property is sold for less than the outstanding mortgage amount—the lender, IndyMac, accepted a loss of over $1 million.

“That’s the largest loss I’ve seen a bank take [in the western suburbs],” says Bert Gor, the short-sale specialist and Re/Max agent who handled the sale. He also says that the homeowners lost the $700,000 down payment they had made on the house.

While records are unclear, both Gor and the buyer’s agent, Lisa Byrne of Baird & Warner, believe that at its estimated original cost of $2.717 million, this was the highest-priced home built in Ashwood Park, a high-end subdivision in Will County, about eight miles from Naperville’s downtown core. Construction ground to a halt there as a result of the housing crash. Lots with built houses end just a few doors west of this home, and there are some vacant lots on this street as well.

Byrne says that the buyers of the 11,000-square-foot house were corporate transferees who felt “confident in the value they were getting at this price.” So confident, in fact, that they lived in a two-bedroom apartment while sitting out the three-month short-sale approval process. This house has five bedrooms, as well as an elevator.

While the house doesn’t look all that big in my photo of its street face, take a look at the listing photos, where you will see that it’s much bigger from the rear. The photos also show a grandiose hanging staircase in a large foyer and a family room area with M. C. Escher–like views of staircases, landings, and other rooms. Peterson Elementary School and the subdivision’s large clubhouse are within a short walk of the house.

Last week, RealtyTrac released data showing that, in the third quarter of 2012, the number of short sales in Illinois was up 57 percent from a year before. That’s compared to a national increase of 17 percent. The average amount that sellers came up short in Illinois in the third quarter was $76,098, RealtyTrac reported. (Note that today’s sale was in the fourth quarter of 2012, not the period covered by the RealtyTrac report.)

Short sales are surging in part because of a clearer set of rules for lenders that the Federal Housing Finance Authority issued in August and that took effect in November. Also contributing to the growth in short sales may be the fact that, after six years in the trough, many homeowners have given up waiting for their lost equity to grow back and have determined to move on even if it entails taking a financial loss.

Price Points: Completed or under-construction homes in Ashwood Park that are on the market now range from about $510,000 to about $799,000. Vacant lots start at $99,900. A few doors down from today’s house is a 90-foot-by-149-foot lot priced at $109,900.

Listing Agent: Bert Gor; 630-842-6000 or bert@bertgor.com