LINCOLN PARK — Developers and other buyers are snatching up multiunit buildings at a rapid pace in Lincoln Park: Sales more than doubled in 2015 compared to the year before, according to real estate data.
In 2015, 69 multiunit buildings — those with two to four units — sold in the neighborhood.
That's compared to 2014, when just 35 sales were recorded. The data does not include the more rare sales of buildings that aren't listed on the real estate listing service, or MLS.
Of the 69 buildings, at least 15 will be torn down to make way for high-end, single-family homes, according to Chicago Cityscape, a service that tracks city permits.
That number should only go up because it's common practice for developers in Lincoln Park to buy a building and then wait for other neighboring properties to go on sale before building a megamansion across multiple lots, or what's referred to as "land banking," according to Eric Rojas, a real estate broker with Kale Realty who was first to report the surge on his real estate blog.
Of course, some buildings will remain multiunit, but they won't all remain affordable. Developers will convert some of them into pricey condo buildings, Rojas said.
"It's positive in some ways. There's lots of investment," Rojas said.
But Rojas, a broker of 11 years who has clients primarily in Lincoln Park, Ravenswood and Lincoln Square, was quick to point out that less traditional apartment buildings means less renters, which changes the landscape of the neighborhood.
"You're eliminating affordable rentals, and you're replacing it with development. But the margin is huge," he said. "Affordable living [in Lincoln Park] is just going away."
The rise of megamansions and pricey condos in Lincoln Park is nothing new. But the surge of multiunit building sales suggests that demand is only going up for real estate in the North Side neighborhood.
In 2013, 56 multiunit buildings were sold. That's 15 more than 2012, when 41 were sold. The year 2011 saw the least amount of sales in the last five years with 34.
The median price of a multiunit building in Lincoln Park has steadily gone up over the last five years. It went from $615,000 in 2011 to $725,000 in 2012, $799,000 in 2013, $870,000 in 2014 and $908,000 in 2015.
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