Where will you buy your house in the city? If speculators have bet correctly, it will be in Irving Park.
Last year, the median house in that North Side neighborhood sold for $385,000, vs. $578,000 just across the river in Lincoln Square and $900,000 in nearby North Center, according to housing data aggregator Midwest Real Estate Data. That relative affordability meant that house flippers could snatch up old bungalows just west of the river for as little as $250,000. And snatch they did. Then they did near-total gut rehabs, typically transforming the humble bungalows into taller frame houses with front porches and double or triple the square footage.
One one block alone—Richmond Street just south of Irving Park Road—four of these rehabbed houses were listed in the last month, most for around $800,000. (Click on the slideshow to see addresses and prices). One more is currently under construction after the previous house on the lot sold earlier this year for $250,000. You can expect this new construction will match the others in price.
That's a lot of money, even for the eastern part of the neighborhood. In the last six months, the 20 houses that sold in the half square mile within California Avenue, Kedzie Avenue, Addison Street, and Irving Park Road—all but a few recently rehabbed—went for a median price of $438,000, according to MRED.
The Richmond Street rehabbers argue that their houses are worth the premium because they're very large (some hit 4,000 square feet), boast expensive new kitchens and finishes, and sit just a few blocks from Horner Park, a 55-acre park that’s currently undergoing a riverfront restoration, due to be completed by 2017.