Looking for a home away from home?
You’re not alone. Realtors say that demand for getaways within driving distance of the city has spiked since March as Chicagoans sniff out tranquil escapes from COVID-19 hotspots. That’s especially true for wealthy, white-collar office workers relatively unaffected by the recent unemployment surge, many of whom have extra savings after reducing disposable spending last quarter.
“Space is the new luxury,” said Dawn McKenna, a top realtor with Coldwell Banker. “I think a lot of families are feeling like if they can afford a second home and they've been thinking about it, they're trying to buy it right now.”
Second-home buyers have certainly been looking at far-flung Chicago suburbs, says McKenna, but they’ve also targeted rural Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan — nearby states that lack Illinois’s sky-high property taxes.
Here are four homes on the market right now in neighboring states that could make for relaxing respites from the city.
This charming stucco cottage is tucked away in a half-acre of woods but isn’t nearly as remote as it looks. It’s only a stone's throw away from the shores of Lake Michigan and Indiana Dunes National Park. Bonus for part-timers: the South Shore Train is easily accessible.
No, not that Lakeshore Drive. To find this rustic three-bedroom cottage, you’ll have to drive two hours to our northerly neighbor Wisconsin. Among the perks is a sizable elevated deck that provides a seasonal view of Whitewater Lake near the Kettle Moraine State Forest.
Sure, the lake-adjacent location of this four-bedroom house in Grand Beach, an itsy-bitsy village in New Buffalo Township, is certainly a plus. But what really stands out is the impressive second-floor living room with vaulted ceilings, wood-plank walls, a two-story fireplace, and French doors that lead to a balcony.
Settled by Dutch immigrants, this village (population: 3,000) in Sheboygan County sounds like a town that A Prairie Home Companion made up. This relaxing cabin-like lakeside retreat on nine sprawling acres is anything but fictional, though you wouldn't be blamed for believing it is: Because Lake Michigan’s levels are ridiculously high, the owners claim you’re getting almost a $200,000 discount on the assessed price.