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Michael Hobbs' Blog

By Michael Hobbs | Appraiser in Chicago, IL

Woodlawn Trails Hyde Park

For those that are not familiar with the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Chicago, the neighborhood that UofC is located in is called Hyde Park. The neighborhood directly to the south of the university is called Woodlawn and to the east of that area is Jackson Park Highland and then South Shore to the south.

In the landrush that was 2003 to 2007, many Chicagoans branched out to identify nice housing in peripheral areas at better prices than 'hot' area prices. Woodlawn was definitely a beneficiary of the migration 'around' Hyde Park as prices rose like a jet-fueled rocket. From gut-rehabbed homes to condo conversions and new construction condominiums, the rush was on.

That was then....

People meant well by their migration to Woodlawn and they were quickly followed by investors and developers. Unfortunately, the large amount of inexpensive property and vacant land made for an abundance of housing inventory, nearly all of which was sold to buyers, but not all buyers were created equally.

This is now....

Properties that previously sold for $200k + can be purchased for $25k at foreclosure auction. Cherry Picker Investments routinely has clients acquiring solid structural properties at rock bottom prices. And those unsuspecting, well-intentioned homeowners, they are getting deluged in a sea of distressed properties.

What will come...

For the foreseeable future, Woodlawn is going to suffer as more distressed properties are coming on line and existing owners either need to pull the ripcord and eject or ride out the wave. Yet, the University of Chicago continues to grow and expand its footprint and Woodlawn is a natural expansion neighborhood.

Michael Hobbs, PahRoo Appraisal & Consultancy

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