If you look at the listings on this site or on Redfin, you can see what they last sold for and when. At least in Highland Park (and I suspect most suburbs around here), the majority of the listings were last purchased or built between 2001-2007. Bubble. Bubble. Bubble.
Currently, selling prices seem to be around the 2003 level. Now add in 6% in agent fees. Other selling fees. And, uh, think about how many "owners" took out HELOC's, used 0% down or took out Option ARM loans that allowed them to pay less than the interest owned (while the loan balance increased).
These are not listing prices. These are prayers. The North Shore is full of sinking Titanics. The "owners" can't afford to lower their prices. It's not uncommon to see the most stubborn listing prices of this year become the short sales and foreclosures of next year.
I have heard-- off the record, of course-- a very surprising number of "owners" have paid NOTHING on their fine homes in YEARS and are still living in them. The industry person who confided this was not speaking of low-end homes, they were telling the dirty secret of the high end ones.
The banks are probably horrified of what will happen to all their the high-end loans if the market for luxury homes suddenly tanks. So they're not foreclosing. Taking a hit on a twenty $200k loans gone bad is one thing. Take a hit on forty six figure houses is another thing entirely. I've already seen newly built Sheridan Road luxury homes-- still empty-- go to foreclosure auction. The banks have to pace this out or their losses will be even greater.
Shall I go on? On November 19, Lake County published the list of homes to be auctioned for back taxes. The list was very long and high end north shore homes were well represented. Luxury homes in tax sales. That says it all.
If you are not familiar with what is predicted to happen to high end homes nationwide with the coming recasts and resets of Option ARM loans, I suggest you do some research. Until the prices shake out, I wouldn't touch a north shore house with a ten foot pole. We got here a couple of years ago with money to buy. 27% later, we're renting till things stabilize.
Warren Buffet said, "It's only when the tide goes out that you learn who's been swimming naked." As the Option ARM crisis unfolds, I suspect the shores of Lake Michigan will be known for nude beaches.
p.s. I work with a lender who has amazing new Jumbo loans available.
It is not unusual in these times for a home to be on the mkt for over 6mos. Maybe you can send me some more information on the areas of these towns you are looking in.What exactly r you considering "high end"? Both are very, very nice suburbs, but there might be some more that may be of interest as well? Deerfield? Are you relocating from New York? I am a native New Yorker myself. Long Island.
If you would like some more specific information pls feel free to call or e-mail me. You can reach me directly at 847-277-8415. And thanks for your question.
As far as realtors goes, most SHOULD be able to show you, in black and white, comparable sold properties and pricing trends in the area. These figures should provide the facts you need when putting an offer together. Talk to a few and see which ones stand apart from the rest. With that said, Ill put my name into the hat.
Good Luck in your search!
I live in Highland Park and I would love to interview for the job of being your agent. Here is a link to my bio: http://www.endeavorrealty.com/downloads/Articles_12320091225
Consider the home buying process; home buyers will search the market for homes that meet a set of criteria. When they find a property that meets most of that criteria AND they FEEL they can't get the same for less by continuing their search, they will make an offer.
Even if a home meets most of the criteria of a buyer, the buyer will continue to look if they feel that home is available for less someplace else (and it usually is).