EDGEWATER — If you bought a home in Edgewater in 2013 or 2014, give yourself a pat on the back.
New data from from Redfin, a real estate brokerage company, shows that in the last year, average home sale prices have gone up a whopping 50 percent.
"In the last two years, you're just seeing the prices go up, up, up and up, especially in Edgewater Glen," said Nate Brecht, a Redfin real estate agent who also lived in the neighborhood for more than 10 years.
Between condos, townhouses, single-family and multi-family homes, at least 149 properties were sold in the Edgewater community area (which includes Andersonville, a sub-section of Edgewater) in just the first three months of 2016 alone.
Data shows from Jan. 1-March 31 the average price listed for an Edgewater-area property was $237,000, but that those same properties actually sold for more: about $248,000.
That's up from $165,000, the average price received during the first three months of last year.
The recent rebound of the real estate market significantly contributed to the price bump, Brecht said, as well as continuing business development, new construction, CTA Red Line convenience and perception of Edgewater as a "getaway" neighborhood.
The huge uptick in price hasn't slowed the market, however.
In order to get a foot in the neighborhood, Brecht said buyers are willing to pay upward of $800,000 for a single-family fixer-upper.
The average condo sale price so far this year was around $177,250 (up 22.2 percent from last year), but when it came to single-family homes, the numbers surged to an average $905,500 — a 25.8 percent increase from the same time last year.
The single-family home market was much different even five or six years ago when there was an abundance of more affordable homes — but many buyers were unable to get financing.
Mollie Germon said she and husband, Garrett, would have stayed in the neighborhood if it had been financially feasible to buy a single family home. By moving a few minutes west, they were able to significantly save, she said. [Provided/Mollie Germon]
Even with condos, Brecht said people who have wanted to sell over the past 10 years are only recently seeing profitability — patience in the housing market can definitely pay off, he said.
That's great news for sellers, who can take advantage of the smaller inventory size of single-family homes and reputation Edgewater and Andersonville have gained as being some of the city's "hottest" spots in the past two years.
But it's less great for buyers who are looking to find an affordable house. Many would stay in the neighborhood if they could afford it, Brecht said.
Such was the case for Mollie Germon, a wine importer who sold her Andersonville loft in late March for $325,500 after buying it two years ago for $287,500.
Germon said she and her husband had planned to remain in the neighborhood much longer, and had put in significant improvements to the two-bedroom unit.
But now eight months pregnant, Germon said the couple needed to trade-in their non-baby-friendly condo for a single-family home in the Peterson Park area.
Germon's new house cost $367,000, but what she said she found most incredible was how fast her Andersonville unit sold.
Germon listed on a Thursday and by Sunday, Zane Jacobs, Germon's Redfin real estate agent, had already showcased the house to more than 100 people and had three offers made on the property.
Brecht himself said he moved from the Edgewater Glen sub-section of the neighborhood, where homes are currently selling for between $500,000 and $900,000 and even higher, to Evanston — where he said much of the same small-town feel and beachside living can be found.
It's that sort of environment that draw people into Edgewater in the first place, Brecht said: A diversity of homeowners, immediate access to Lake Michigan, top-rated neighborhood schools, four Red Line stops, and four historic districts all make for a unique city/suburban blend.
And though the prices in Edgewater continue to climb, it hasn't not stopped people from buying, he said.
"There's something for everyone here, everyone," Brecht said. "And it's across the board, the diversity, which I think just really speaks to the character of the neighborhood."
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