DOWNTOWN — Buying new has never been more expensive Downtown.
About 84 percent of condominiums listed for sale by developers are in buildings averaging more than $1 million per sale, said Gail Lissner, a vice president at real estate consulting firm Appraisal Research Counselors.
Developers, who spent the run-up to the crash courting first-time homebuyers or anyone else, are focused almost entirely on the opposite end of the market now. Never before has the Downtown condo pipeline been so skewed toward the ultra-rich.
"Everybody likes to focus on the new, and if you must have new, you’ll have to pay a top price," Lissner said.
The condos are concentrated in about 10 buildings under construction or about to be. The group includes a 71-unit tower at 9 W. Walton St., a 35-unit tower at State and Elm streets, and the 93-story Vista tower coming to Wacker Drive.
The new condo tower at 4 E. Elm St., where prices start at more than $2 million. [DNAinfo/David Matthews]
Luxury homebuyers were least affected by the recession, and didn't have nearly as many condos marketed to them as other segments of the market before, Lissner said. Rising construction costs have prompted Downtown developers to focus on either high-end condos or apartments capitalizing on historically high rents in the city's core.
"The challenge is to figure out how to build at a more affordable price, and currently with construction costs and land costs that is difficult," Lissner said.
The condo pipeline, at 738 units, is small. But with more luxury buildings on the drawing board it's unlikely new Downtown condos will be more affordable anytime soon. But there's a silver lining in the resale market, where condos in many towers are still at or below their 2008 prices.
"To live in new-construction Downtown the buyers or the renters have to pay real premiums," Lissner said. "That doesn't mean you can't live in these strong locations."
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