List Price: $2,695,000
Sale Price: $2,037,750
The Property: This 12-room mansion on two and a half acres in Lake Forest sold at foreclosure on December 22nd. Built in 1996 on a cul-de-sac of seven homes carved out of an old Green Bay Road estate, the house mimics English country styles with its tall brick peaks and ornamented limestone bay. Photos that accompanied the listing show a grand two-story foyer, a richly paneled living room, seating nooks and window bays, and lots of windows offering views of the broad front yard and the bluestone patio in the walled rear garden. 

The foreclosed homeowners, whom I could not reach for comment, had the home built for them 13 years ago; public records are not clear on what it cost them. But in 2006 the owners listed the house for sale (unsuccessfully) at $4.65 million; in April 2007, they took out a $3.765-million mortgage on the place, according to the Lake County Recorder of Deeds. One year later, that lender, Mutual Bank, began the foreclosure process. In November 2008, a federal tax lien was placed on the property.

Price Points: If the house was valued at about $3.76 million in 2007, its December 2009 sale price represents a 45.8 percent discount for the latest buyers, whose names have not yet appeared in public records. But they may have been among the groups that Trulia, the online real-estate database, recently found most willing to buy foreclosed properties: investors and homeowners looking to trade up. Today’s buyers are not the only ones moving into the North Shore’s exclusive enclaves via foreclosure, as evidenced by these December sales of bank-owned properties in Lake Forest and neighboring Lake Bluff:

  • In west Lake Forest, a 13-room house on 1.3 acres that was valued at over $3 million in 2001 was sold on December 11th for $1.8 million.
  • A two-year-old house in Lake Bluff, last priced at $1.249 million, was sold as a foreclosure on December 28th for $1.1 million.
  • Also in Lake Bluff, a nine-room bank-owned house built on a quarter-acre lot in 2007 and last priced at $975,000 was sold on December 23rd for $899,000.

Listing Agent: N/A