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North Side Real Estate Settles After Spring 'Frenzy,' Expert Says

By Paul Biasco | September 17, 2013 7:08am
 A home in the 1700 block of north Burling Street sold for $1.23 million on Aug. 19. The four-bedroom home sold for $1.325 million in 2004 and for $1.2 million in 2010.
A home in the 1700 block of north Burling Street sold for $1.23 million on Aug. 19. The four-bedroom home sold for $1.325 million in 2004 and for $1.2 million in 2010.
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LINCOLN PARK — The North Side and Loop real estate markets are returning to a more "sane" state after a spring frenzy, according to a real estate expert.

In August, home sales increased by double-digit percentages in Lakeview, the Loop and Near North, but decreased by 2.5 percent in Lincoln Park compared to August 2012, according to Chicago Multiple Listing Service data.

The market consisting of the combined area of the neighborhoods has been on a steady rise since the spring of 2011, and John Irwin of Baird & Warner said the drop in Lincoln Park sales is nothing to be worried about.

"I think it was a monthly hiccup," he said. "I do think it's probably tied somewhat to the fact that the luxury market is lagging behind the other price points in the area."

There were 158 units sold in Lincoln Park in August 2013 and 160 sold last August.

In July, the neighborhood saw an 18 percent increase in sales compared to 2012; in June a 1 percent drop; in May a 57 percent increase; and in April a 26 percent increase, according to market data.

The number of homes that sold for more than $1 million in August also decreased by 4 percent compared to August 2012, while homes priced between $500,000 and $1 million increased by 27 percent.

"Lincoln Park, from a sales standpoint, hasn't been keeping up with Near North, Lakeview and the Loop," Irwin said. "The luxury market is doing well, but it's just not going at a pace that the lower price points are."

Irwin said the spring buying "frenzy" on the North Side may have led to some luxury sellers pricing their homes too high, leading to the slight dip in sales in Lincoln Park.

Lakeview sales continued to smash 2012 numbers in August, increasing by 33 percent compared to August 2012. In July, sales increased by 25 percent; in June by 27 percent; and in May by 43 percent compared to 2012.

During the spring rush, buyers were forced to make decisions on homes too quickly, according to Irwin, but that has changed.

"You had to walk through it once, and before you left the showing you had to make the decision whether you wanted to buy it or not," he said. "It's gotten a little more sane, where you do have the time now to really research the property."

While sane, the combined area of Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Near North and the Loop remains a seller's market, according to National Association of Realtors' standards.

The key statistic measures how many months it would take to sell the inventory of homes on the market at the current rate of sales.

August's rate was 2.8, compared to 4.7 in August 2012. In July the rate was 2.4, in June 2.0; in May 2.1; and in April 1.7.

The National Association of Realtors considers anything under six months a seller's market.

"The market is still very, very active," Irwin said.