Wealthy Chicagoans Return to Purchasing Upscale Houses, Condos

High-end residential sales in Chicago rose – somewhat unexpectedly — during the first eight months of 2010. This is primarily a result of sellers reducing their asking prices and closings at some high-profile condominium developments.  Even with the uptick in sales, there’s still an excess of houses and condos on the market that likely will depress prices even more.

According to an analysis by Midwest Real Estate Data LLC, there were 452 single-family houses and 572 condominiums price at upwards of $1 million on the market as of August 31.  That represents an 18-month supply of houses and 21 months worth of condominiums.  James Kinney, Baird & Warner, Inc.’s vice president of luxury sales, said that a normal market is a six- to eight-month inventory.  “I think we’re in for many months of wading through inventory,” according to Kinney.  “The supply is going to continue to build until we see a turn in the job market.”

High-end single-family home sales rose approximately 24 percent in the first eight months of the year.  That totals 199 sales as opposed to 161 in the same time period of 2009.  Condominiums fared even better with sales rising 85 percent to 253 units, compared with just 137 a year ago.  Kinney said that the uptick can be attributed by the first closings at high-end developments like the Elysian Hotel and Private Residences and Ten East Delaware.

Even Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P Morgan Chase & Company, has hopped on the bandwagon.  He recently cut the price of his tony Gold Coast mansion to $6.95 million – a 25 percent reduction from the previous $9.5 million.  Janet Owen, a broker at Sudler Sotheby’s International Realty who is the listing agent, said “They realize the market does pertain to their home, not just everyone else’s.  That’s why these properties are selling.”