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By Paul Blackburn | Agent in 60611

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Chicago, For Rent in Chicago, Rentals in Chicago  |  May 24, 2013 8:07 AM  |  378 views  |  1 comment

    Here is your rental update with regard to Rentals at 401 N. Wabash, Trump Tower Residences, in Chicago. For those of you not familiar with the building, all rentals available are condos that are individually owned. Trump Tower in Chicago is broken up into two "sections" one being the hotel and the other being condominium residences. Trump Tower Chicago features an indoor pool, full health club and space, 24hr concierge, doorstaff, security, available room service, private and valet parking...the list goes on.

    Studios: Studios start on the low end at $2,200 but many rent in the $2,400 / $2,700 range. The square footage of studio units range from 580 to 745sf.

    One Bedrooms: There are two "style" One Bedrooms in the building. Standard 1 Bedrooms range from 928sf up to 1071sf. Larger One Bedrooms range from 1314sf to over 1400sf. The smaller One Bedrooms typically rent from $3,200 on the low side up to $4,000 depending on square footage, floor height and time of year. The larger One Bedrooms can rent from $4,500/mo to well over $5,000/mo depending on the view. Some of the larger One Bedrooms face the IBM building so these units will of course rent at a cheaper price.

    Two Bedrooms: Currently the cheapest Two Bedroom on the market is listed at $6,500 and is an "F" unit which on lower floors faces the IBM building. Two Bedrooms can rent for as high as $10,000/$11,000 per month. These are larger Two Bedrooms, however, with South and East views. Most Two Bedrooms range from just over 1,800sf to over 2,700sf. There are some smaller "C" tiered units on lower floors which are 1500sf.

    Three Bedrooms: Currently there are only two 3 Bedrooms on the market priced at $11,000 and $12,000 per month. Some have rented for north of $14,000/mo.

    Paul Blackburn is an Illinois licensed Realtor and Broker with @ Properties in Chicago. He can always be reached via e-mail at Paul@PKBlackburn.com


  • South Loop Condo Market - Under $250,000!

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Chicago, Home Buying in Chicago, Home Selling in Chicago  |  May 15, 2013 12:21 PM  |  336 views  |  No comments

    The South Loop in Chicago was once filled with excess inventory. In 2011 there was roughly a three year supply of inventory. In 2012 there was over an 18 month supply of inventory. Now, there is only a few month supply of inventory, especially under 250k.

    Why am I specifically talking about $250,000? If you are familiar with the South Loop market you will know that many new construction buildings had built small 1 Bedroom units. 1720 S. Michigan and 1620 S. Michigan are the most popular and had the most foreclosures. Some small 1 Bedroom units sold for only $105,000 to $115,000 just over a year ago. Those same units are now selling for $150,000. It is amazing how things have changed in the past year. 1529 S. State also had a handful of units on the market in the past but even that building is rebounding nicely.

    Rent prices have also remained high in the South Loop with most 1 Bedrooms renting above $1,500 without parking. This has spurred many renters to become homeowners but also has created a great demand for investors especially as most South Loop buildings do not have any rental restrictions.

    What buildings are the hottest in the South Loop?

    1201 S. Prairie - Recently taken over by Related Midwest, 1201 S. Prairie, part of the Museum Park development is doing extremely well and is definitely the "most modern" of any South Loop development. 1305 S. Michigan continues to be red hot. While some short sales are transacting at low prices, these units do have very poor views. They are selling fast and above list price. Most units, however, are selling at "market rate" with most 2 Bedrooms selling in the low $300s.

    1400 S. Michigan and 1250 S. Michigan continue to see very low inventory. Only two 1 Bedroom units are currently on the market in 1400 S. Michigan. You may remember several years ago an auction was held for the remaining units in this building. 1250 S. Michigan currently only has 1 unit available (several others are under contract). The unit currently available for sale is a 3 Bedroom condo priced at $750,000.

    Museum Park: All Museum Park buildings continue to be in demand. Specifically One Bedrooms which once flooded the market are now hard to come by.

    Paul Blackburn is an Illinois licensed Realtor and Broker with @ Properties in Chicago. He can always be reached via e-mail at Paul@PKBlackburn.com
  • The New Reality of Real Estate in Chicago - Multiple Offers!

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Chicago, Home Buying in Chicago  |  May 14, 2013 10:33 AM  |  502 views  |  No comments

    The housing market in Chicago has taken a dramatic turn from where it was a couple years ago. Condos and Single Family Homes in Chicago's hottest neighborhoods are moving fast in all price ranges. Where is the sweet spot? The hottest section of the market is currently between$300,000 and $500,000 but we are also seeing higher end properties sell in only a matter of days.

    Over the weekend I put a 2/2 loft under contract. My clients had to pay more than $7,000 above list price. We put an offer in after the property was only on the market for a day. Our goal was to get the property under contract by the weekend. We were up against one other buyer but we knew if it dragged into the weekend we could easily be up against multiple buyers. This property was in Bucktown.

    Another property down the street in Bucktown had 22 showings in a 2 hour period last weekend. My buyers looked at this property on Sunday (the first day of showings for this new listing). On Wednesday they e-mailed me saying they wanted to make an offer. Unfortunately it already sold. Of the 22 showings the property received 3 offers from buyers. More than likely it sold for above list price as well.

    A colleague of mine was showing a home in the $600,000 to $700,000 range in Old Town. She was one of 6 agents with buyers submitting offers. Her clients went $30,000 above list price....guess what? They didn't get it. While we don't know the exact sale price it has been eluded that it likely sold for almost $50,000 above list.

    The most obvious question people may have is "What the h*ll is going on?!" Is this sustainable? Well here are my thoughts on the subject.

    Currently in Chicago, in the more desirable neighborhoods, we have an inventory problem. Inventory has decreased to all time lows and buyer demand has increased dramatically. Lets start with demand, however. Why has demand increased?

    The Hangover Effect: After 2008 everyone had a hangover in the real estate market. Just like in real life, when you wake up with a hangover the last thing you want is another shot of tequila that you had the night before. This hangover lasted in the market for several years. People simply wanted nothing to do with the market. Granted, many people did not have the finances to buy and many were worried about their jobs and lending (the bars) were not very open.

    Now the "hangover effect" has mostly lifted. The economy is rebounding and consumer confidence in the housing market is back. During this hangover period many people rented and saved cash. Now, as they have seen the market stabilize we are seeing a rush of buyers into the market. With increased confidence we are also seeing record low interest rates and property values are back to normalized levels.

    It is important to note that in distressed areas most of the demand is made up of investors. However, in prime "Class A" areas the majority of demand are first time, Second time and second home buyers who plan to use the property.

    Where is all the supply? There are a couple reasons for low supply. First, we haven't seen any new construction for condos or single family homes in almost 5 years. Only now is construction starting to pick up again and it is doing so at a slow pace.

    The largest reason supply is low is due to many homeowners still underwater on their values. Many "would be" sellers simply cannot afford to sell their homes. Many homeowners are still refinancing using HARP and similar programs and some are still completing mortgage modifications. These homeowners are not selling anytime soon.

    Who is selling now? I've noticed that many current sellers were buyers back in the early 2000's before prices ran up. Some were buyers at the peak in 06 but put more than 5% down so they can at least walk away from the sale with some cash.

    What is most interesting are tenant occupied properties selling. Many of the condos I have been showing in Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Near North, etc. have tenants in them. These are not standard "investment" condos for the owners but instead were their primary residences they could not sell back in 08, 09 so they rented them. They are now able to unload them for what they feel is a "decent" price.

    What does the future hold? The inability for developers to obtain financing on large buildings is a good thing. This will help supply remain low. Interest rates will likely stay low for a while. The FED is talking about slowing or limiting their purchase of MBS however they will likely continue for a short while. The MBS market is in recovery mode especially with treasuries at record prices (low yields).

    At the end of the day interest rates should remain low through 2015 and supply will likely remain low. This will start to push up pricing in your better markets which will slowly allow those who could not sell before to start to sell. The hope is that supply will be introduced slowly into the market.

    Paul Blackburn is an Illinois licensed Realtor and Broker with @ Properties in Chicago. He can always be reached via e-mail at Paul@PKBlackburn.com  For more information on home buying specifically in Chicago please visit www.BuyingInChicago.com

  • National Mortgage Settlement - What Does it Mean For you and First Time Buyers?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Chicago, Home Buying in Chicago, Financing in Chicago  |  February 15, 2012 11:37 AM  |  699 views  |  No comments

    The National Mortgage Settlement has been in the news recently and that is because the settlement has finally been agreed upon and released to the public. Here are the basic details of the settlement.

    Banks Involved: Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo

    States Involved: The Federal Government and 49 States (Oklahoma being the exception).

    Total Dollars: $25 Billion


    The largest portion of the $25 Billion dollar settlement, some $17 Billion, must be used for principal mortgage reductions and other mortgage modification programs. This is only to be used for borrowers who cannot afford to pay their full mortgage. It appears that these dollars (17 billion) are only for borrowers who are behind on payments or in some sort of default stage.

    For those borrowers who are current on their mortgage but under water, $3 Billion has been set aside to assist with refinancing these mortgages.

    For borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure, roughly $1.5Billion will be distributed to these borrowers. In total there are about 750,000 borrowers who will receive some sort of distribution.

    How long will all this take? The federal government is estimating that this settlement will be executed over the next 3 years. The government is currently working with the 5 banks on putting administrators in place to help execute the settlement and identify qualifying borrowers.

    It is important to note, however, that loans owned by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac are NOT affected by this settlement.


    The $25 Billion settlement will do very little to help the market. It is a positive step and the settlement amount and the way it is implemented shouldn’t hurt the market any, however it is only a drop in the bucket in the huge pool of borrowers that are in default status or underwater on their mortgages. It is nowhere near large enough to have any substantial affect on the market.

    The largest affect we might see, could be negative. This is not due to the amount of the settlement or the way it is implemented, but by the 5 banks holding off on foreclosures in the past year. These banks, including others watching the settlement were hesitant on the outcome. Therefore, they slowed down their foreclosure proceedings which has created a backlog of foreclosure inventory now commonly known as “Shadow Inventory.” This shadow inventory can have a negative impact on the market, as the banks will now push forward with all the foreclosures they were previously idle on. When these properties hit the market we may see a surge in supply.

    I don’t believe that the shadow inventory will hurt the real estate market on a broad, national level. However, I do believe there will be some markets where supply levels will be affected. These markets will mainly be in judicial states where the 5 banks primarily held off on foreclosures awaiting the settlement. This is where the largest backlog of foreclosures are.

    Should this change your plans to buy?

    I don’t believe it should change your plans to buy. I do, however, recommend buyers continue to proceed with caution and heavily analyze not only the property they’re buying but the inventory in the area. You want to continue to monitor the health of buildings where foreclosures and short sales are prevalent. If you are able to buy in a high qualify building for record low prices you’ll still be making the right decision by buying, all things being equal.

    Paul Blackburn is an Illinois licensed Realtor and Associate Broker with @ Properties in Chicago. He can be reached at anytime via e-mail at Paul@PKBlackburn.com


    Posted Under: Rental Basics in Chicago, For Rent in Chicago, Rentals in Chicago  |  February 15, 2012 11:36 AM  |  774 views  |  No comments

    Here is your monthly update for rentals available in Lake Shore East “New East Side!”



    Unit 1807:  $3,000


    Unit 2301:  $3,950



    Unit 5402: $1,850


    Unit 7901: $5,600

    Unit 7005: $7,500

    Unit 6505:  $7,500

    340 ON THE PARK – 340 E. RANDOLPH


    Unit 4601:  $7,450

    Unit 4603:  $9,500



    Unit 1202:  $2,000

    Unit 411:   $2,200


    Unit 703:   $2,500

    Unit 2703:  $2,500

    Unit 903:   $2,550


    Unit 2714:  $4,200

    Unit 2414:  $4,500

    Unit 3614:  $4,800

    Unit 3501: $5,500

    Unit 3201:  $6,500

    Unit 3910:  $10,000



    Unit 807:  $1,400

    For additional information about condos for lease or for sale in Lake Shore East please e-mail me at Paul@PKBlackburn.com

    Paul Blackburn is a licensed Illinois Realtor and Broker with @ Properties Chicago.


    Posted Under: In My Neighborhood in Chicago, Rental Basics in Chicago, Rentals in Chicago  |  January 26, 2012 8:44 AM  |  752 views  |  No comments

    The rental market in Lakeview, and throughout the majority of the city saw a very strong 2011. During the "hot months" of the rental season, May through October, I saw multiple applications submitted on most rental properties I dealt with. During these times rental prices were up dramatically, in some cases by over 10 and 12%. The real question is, how did the market handle itself over the entire year including the winter months? Here is the data. To better under this data and why I am using it please quickly read this following blog I wrote previously concerning the leasing market in Chicago. HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE RENTAL MARKET IN CHICAGO


    The Lakeview neighborhood is comprised of several areas including but not limited to East Lakeview, Boystown, Wrigleyville, Southport Corridor and West Lakeview. All these areas and everything in between were included in my search. The search area on the MLS is known as "8006." Data was combed to exclude any "extreme" numbers as well as to exclude any listings that were rented before print or any listings with a market time of greater than 150days as these listings do not represent typical scenarios in the rental market.


    2010   Units Rented: 515     Average Market Time: 32days    Average Price: $1,203.28

    2011    Units Rented: 492     Average Market Time: 23days    Average Price: $1,288.00

    Total Price Increase of 7.04% with Average Market Time declining by 9 days.


    2010   Units Rented: 547     Average Market Time: 40days    Average Price: $1,719.39

    2011    Units Rented: 782     Average Market Time: 29days    Average Price: $1,898.68

    Total Price Increase of 10.43% with Average Market Time declining by 11 days. Also very interesting is that the number of units rented increased by 43% yet we still had a substantial decrease in market time as well as a substantial increase in price.


    2010   Units Rented: 259    Average Market Time: 38days    Average Price: $2,321.22

    2011    Units Rented: 355    Average Market Time: 29days    Average Price: $2,479.89

    Total Price Increase of 6.84% with Average Market Time declining by 9 days.

    When we look at this data what does it tell us? The most important number we want to look at is Market Time. Market Time will always be the first to change when supply and demand shifts. Prices will change after a sustained period of increased Market Time. Market Time will always shift from month to month as some months are more popular for renting than others. If we were to  break the data down month by month we would want to compare October 2011 to October 2010 for example, as opposed to October 2011 to September 2011.

    What does all this mean for the 2012 rental season? In my opinion the 2012 rental season will remain very strong. I believe we will see moderate price increases, however not some of the double digit growth we saw last year. If we just look at the numbers you might say I'm wrong. Look at the 2 Bedroom data. We saw an increase in price by 10% plus an increase in supply by 43% and a decrease in market time! Just looking at these numbers one might say "Well, if supply doesn't increase at all we very easily could see an additional 10 or even 15% increase in price again." If Lakeview was an isolated market, then yes this could be true. However, we must take our blinders off and consider other neighborhoods as well such as Buena Park, Uptown, Anderonsville, Edgewater, and others that can be comparable substitutes for those looking in Lakeview. It is these substitute areas that will help absorb some of the demand from Lakeview as renters get priced out.

    Paul Blackburn is an Illinois licensed Realtor and Broker with @ Properties in Chicago. His experience ranges from new construction development, condo conversions and luxury restorations to residential leasing and sales throughout Chicago. He has served as an expert witness on both residential and commercial property values and has been interviewed by numerous sources such as Fox News Chicago and the Chicago Tribune.  CONTACT PAUL AT ANYTIME FOR ASSISTANCE SEARCHING FOR A NEW HOME, TO SELL OR LEASE AT PAUL@PKBLACKBURN.COM
  • JOHN HANCOCK RENTALS - Pricing & Availability 175 E. Delaware

    Posted Under: For Rent in Chicago, Rentals in Chicago  |  January 13, 2012 8:36 AM  |  742 views  |  No comments

    Here is an update of what is going on in one of Chicago's most iconic buildings....The John Hancock - 175 E. Delaware.

    Right now there are only a few rentals on the market.


    Unit 5609: Priced at $2,500/mo

    Unit 5002: Priced at $3,400/mo


    Unit 4803: Priced at $3,150/mo


    Unit 8002: Priced at $3,190/mo

    Unit 7308: Priced at $3,900/mo

    Over the summer there was some trouble brewing in the Hancock regarding a possible "Rental Cap." The discussions were so heated that many people refused to speak to each other when seeing them in the elevator! As of right now I do not believe the rental cap was passed.


    Unit 4905, studio sold for $185,000

    Unit 5706, Studio sold for $235,000

    Unit 5518, One Bedroom sold for $285,000 (Foreclosure)

    Unit 6602, Three Bedroom sold for $500,000

    Paul Blackburn a licensed Illinois Realtor & Broker with @ Properties in Chicago, IL. To contact him regarding units for rent or for sale whether in the John Hancock or other buildings please e-mail him at Paul@PKBlackburn.com
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