While those of us who live in Chicago often find things to complain about, outsiders seem to think we have it pretty dang good. According to Mercer, the largest human resources consulting firm in the world, Chicago’s quality a life is certainly noteworthy in a positive way, and good enough to rank 43rd in the world on its 18th annual Quality of Life Survey.

In the survey, Mercer considers a wide range of living conditions while evaluating “quality of live,” which include schools and education, political and social environment, and public services and transportation.

In all, 440 cities worldwide were examined, so 43rd place doesn't seem all that bad. In fact, the only U.S. cities to outrank Chicago are San Francisco at No. 28, Boston at No. 34, and…

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Foreclosures in Chicago

The Chicago real estate market has gone through some drastic changes over the last couple years. Most notably, high-end rentals around downtown Chicago have re-defined the housing landscape in neighborhoods like Streeterville, River North and The Loop.

But along with continued high-demand in the luxury rentals market, foreclosure activity around the Chicagoland area has diminished, yet another sign of a strong market only getting stronger.

According to the latest numbers from RealtyTrac, foreclosures in the Chicagoland area have now reached their lowest limit since 2007. In January, just 4,079 foreclosures were on the market in the entire Chicagoland region, which is down nearly 12% from just one month earlier in December.

And what’s even more…

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Chicago Luxury Real Estate

Over the early part of 2016, the Chicago real estate market has been thriving. Certain segments of the market like luxury rentals continue to be a major part of housing around downtown Chicago, but along with upscale apartments, luxury homes and condos for sale around the area have been flying off the shelves so-to-speak as well.

Recent stats were released earlier in the month that detail which of Chicago’s neighborhoods are seeing the most activity when it comes to luxury real estate. To the surprise of few, Lincoln Park is still leading the way up on the north side, with 16 sales already last month totaling over $1 million. And the average sales price of these homes? $2,181,642.19.

Equally as expected, the Near North Side is also seeing lots of luxury…

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836 W. Hubbard ChicagoA select number of new condos are headed to the Fulton River District.  Construction is now underway on 836 W. Hubbard, a Ranquist Development with homes designed by Osterhaus McCarthy.

With a total of just eight units, the large homes will be priced starting at $750,000.  All of the homes will include three bedrooms and 2.5 baths.  The smallest unit will command 2,028 square feet of living space.  Three of the units will include 2,036 square feet of living space and the remaining four units will have 2,154 square feet of living space.  The development also includes rooftop terraces off the upper two units and a 12-space garage.

Expect to find such interior features as a mix of white oak wood flooring, carpeting and porcelain tile, as well as stainless…

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Downtown Chicago Express Train to O'Hare

A plan to provide an express train from downtown to O’Hare appears to be back on track.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced the City of Chicago plans to push ahead with a final design for the project by hiring on an engineering firm.  The original plan dates back to former Mayor Richard Daley, but was never fully developed.

The proposal is gaining new life again, though, due to efforts by Mayor Emanuel and Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans.  Although the cost of building an express train to the airport hasn’t been released, some predict it could cost $1 billion.  Evans reportedly hopes the project will be funded by, and operated by, private funds.

The aviation commissioner did put a price point, of sorts, on passenger service.  She expects it to cost…

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Downtown Chicago condo prices are now rising above 2008 price levels.  According to a newly released report from Appraisal Research Counselors, the end of 2015 brought average prices to $421 per square foot.  That’s about 1.7-percent higher than 2008.

While the firm is forecasting some new development for 2016, new condo sales have remained quite modest over the past couple of years.  They totaled just 400 units sold in 2014 and another 415 sold in 2015.

Most new condo construction is now being tied to buildings also offering rental units.  One of these is One Bennett Park in Streeterville.  This luxury development is expected to offer peak market prices in both condos and rentals.  

While a limited amount of new condo construction is likely for the future,…

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If you’re in the market for an apartment, you’ll soon have thousands of more to choose from in Downtown Chicago.  Developers plan to complete 4,000 additional apartments in the area in 2015, plus nearly another 5,000 next year.  According to researchers, the nearly 9,000 additional apartments will boost supply by about 28-percent.

While that may seem like positive new for renters experiencing regular hikes in rent, it may not necessarily translate to better deals.  It’s expected the increased supply will test whether demand for apartments can keep up.  Already, though, some predict that demand will only increase over the next couple of years, due to the area’s strong job market and a lack of buying options.

Rents have continued to rise, even as developers…

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Cash sales continue a downward trend in Chicago, similar to pace with the rest of the country.  According to a newly released report from CoreLogic, real estate cash sales were down to 36.4-percent, nationwide, in October.  As for Chicago cash sales, they made up 29.3-percent of total sales in the city during the same time period.

That’s down about four-percent from the previous year.  It’s expected that cash sales will continue to steadily decline, putting Chicago cash sales in line to hit the 25-percent mark ahead of the nation, when taken as a whole.

The 25-percent standard is the “healthy standard”, which was set in regards to cash transactions prior to the 2007 real estate downturn.  It’s expected that total shares of cash sales nationwide will return…

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