Articles filed under Real Estate

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  • Elgin council favors 45 apartments for Tower Building Sep 25, 2014 5:42 AM
    The city of Elgin is planning to contribute $4.7 million to the redevelopment of the iconic downtown Elgin Tower Building into 45 market-rate apartments. The city council's committee of the whole agreed to the development agreement. “I'm really excited to see us redeveloping this property,” Councilwoman Tish Powell said.

  • 13-year lawsuit of Sears vs. Barrington Hills, South Barrington settled Sep 26, 2014 11:30 AM
    A lawsuit Sears Holding Corp. filed claiming Barrington Hills and South Barrington cost the company $15 million by interfering with its development plans has been settled with no money changing hands. Sears filed the lawsuit in 2001 to remove land-use restrictions the two villages placed on a portion of its 780-acre business park, located entirely in Hoffman Estates.

  • Developer to sell The Arboretum of South Barrington Sep 25, 2014 1:50 PM
    The owners of The Arboretum of South Barrington are in the process of selling the shopping center, according to Michael Jaffe, whose company managed operations there since 2004. Jaffe said the Arboretum has been a very important project to his company, and he hopes his company will be kept on to manage it by its next owner. “This project was not just bricks and mortar stuck in a corner to us; it really has been a labor of love,” Jaffe said.

  • Video game-themed restaurant to open at Woodfield in January Sep 26, 2014 9:42 AM
    A video game-themed restaurant and entertainment center is on track to open in January next to the Sears store at Schaumburg’s Woodfield Mall. Level 257 is a prototype concept by Namco Entertainment, Inc., the Wood Dale-based company affiliated with the makers of Pac-Man. “It’s the next level of entertainment,” a Namco executive said.

  • Monopoly, deeds and automobiles Sep 26, 2014 9:46 AM
    Q. My grandfather left his cabin to me years ago, and I was given a deed to the property from my aunt, who was executor of the estate. I have it safely put away. Now my cousins want to buy the cabin, and we are in agreement about everything. There isn’t any mortgage on the place.

  • Existing home sales fall in August, ending 4-month streak of gains Sep 22, 2014 2:35 PM
    Fewer Americans bought homes in August, as investors retreated from real estate and first-time buyers remained scarce. Sales of existing homes fell 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. That snaps a four-month streak of gains. August sales are down from a July rate of 5.14 million, a figure that was revised slightly downward. Much of the decline came from the exodus of investors, who had been buying properties in the aftermath of the housing bust and recession. Investors accounted for just 12 percent of August purchases, compared to 17 percent a year earlier. Overall, the pace of home sales has dropped 5.3 percent year-over-year. The August figures show that real estate recovery has depended largely on investors and all-cash sales, instead of families looking to purchasing a house. “It is apparent that much of the juice in the existing-home sales market remains centered in all-cash purchases by speculative buyers,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at the consulting firm MFR. The rebound from the housing bust that triggered the recession has been painfully slow. The share of Americans who own homes has trended downward over the course of the five year recovery, as more Americans are becoming renters. The ownership rate fell to 64.7 percent through the middle of this year, down from a peak of 69.2 percent toward the end of 2004, according to the Census Bureau. Sales were curbed by winter storms earlier in the year. They began to accelerate through the summer as mortgage rates eased back from 52-week highs. But the combination of rising home prices last year and sluggish wage growth has limited sales. Rising prices through much of 2013 and weak income growth priced out many would-be buyers. Only 29 percent of purchases in August came from first-time buyers, well below the historical average of 40 percent. The median sales price has risen 4.8 percent over the past 12 months to $219,800, but it slipped slightly in August compared to prices in July and June. Sales of existing homes continue to lag last year’s pace of 5.1 million. Annual sales of 5.5 million are consistent with a healthy housing market, according to analysts. There is a 5.5 month supply of homes listed for sale. The supply has increased over the past year, yet it remains below the standard level of six months. Sales tumbled 5.1 percent in the West and 4.2 percent in the South last month compared to July. Part of that decline was offset by rising sales in the Northeast and Midwest. Many consider home sales to be the missing link in a solid economic recovery. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen recently told Congress that housing has proven to be disappointing this year. Indicators heading into the fall and winter are mixed for real estate, however. Home construction plunged 14.4 percent in August compared with the prior month, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Much of that decline was due to a drop-off in building apartment complexes, but single-family home construction also fell 2.4 percent. Applications for building permits, a sign of future activity, dipped 5.6 percent to an annual rate of 998,000. Yet builders expressed more confidence. The sentiment index from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo climbed in September to 59, the highest reading since November 2005. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. New-home construction increased 15.7 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million homes, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Home prices are also increasing at a slower clip, which should help ease affordability pressures. Prices rose 7.4 percent in July from July 2013, according to real estate data provider CoreLogic. That was slightly below June’s year-over-year increase of 7.5 percent and far below a recent peak of 11.9 percent in February. Yet incomes remain weak, making it more taxing for would-be buyers trying to save for a down payment. The Census Bureau said last week that median household incomes were $51,939 in 2013. Adjusting for inflation, that’s 8 percent lower than in 2007, when the recession began. And mortgage rates have begun to rise from recent lows. Average rates for 30-year mortgages rose last week to 4.23 percent from 4.12 percent, according to mortgage company Freddie Mac. Mortgage rates are below the levels at the start of this year, yet they’re up from their 52-week low of 4.1 percent.

  • Tycoon’s $85M Beverly Hills home targets ultra-rich Sep 22, 2014 8:18 AM
    The eight-bedroom, 15-bath Beverly Hills, California, mansion has $5,600 toilets, a wall of caramel onyx and an 18-seat screening room with doors clad in Italian lizard skin. Asking price: $85 million. Rapper Jay Z has taken two tours of the hillside aerie with views that sweep from downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean. The estate was developed by Bruce Makowsky, who made his fortune selling handbags through department stores and the QVC television channel.

  • Mustangs hope to draw more soccer fans to Sears Centre Sep 22, 2014 9:35 PM
    A national championship and a generally higher profile for the sport of soccer have inspired the Hoffman Estates-based Chicago Mustangs to grow their fan base without leaving town — moving into the relatively mammoth Sears Centre Arena.

  • Ivy tendrils can be burned off with a propane torch Sep 21, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. How do I clean my brick-sided home of ivy, specifically the tendrils that are attached to the bricks?

  • Folk art festival is an alternative to the mall crawl Sep 21, 2014 12:01 AM
    To call Kristen Sunby a “can-do" person is a huge understatement. Give her a spice container, a mustard can, a clove box — the older, the better — and she’s immediately busy fashioning an entire "population" of characters that create smiles. It’s uncanny. She'll be at the 32nd annual Autumn Country Folk Art Festival at the kane County Fairgrounds.

  • Condo owners must state a purpose to examine association financial records Sep 20, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I live in a condominium located in the city of Chicago. Last week, I made a request to examine certain financial books and records of the association. The board denied my request stating that I failed to state a “proper purpose” for wanting to examine the documents. That’s no one’s business, is it?

  • Last stretch of New York’s High Line to open Sep 20, 2014 2:36 PM
    “The High Line has changed the dynamics of the city,” says Laurance Rassin, an artist showcasing his paintings and sculptures to visitors along the three-story-high walkway. “If Picasso were alive, he’d be painting on the High Line.”

  • A seven-step program for furniture rehab Sep 20, 2014 12:01 AM
    Choosing furniture to refurbish, or “upcycle,” as it’s known in the DIY world, is an imprecise science. Typically, Kelly Millspaugh Thompson knows right away whether an item is right for her, and she has enough experience to see potential in the most intimidating pieces.

  • Tabletop repairs can be done with the right knowledge Sep 19, 2014 12:01 AM
    Tablecloths not only protect tables, but they help hide ugly tabletops that have been abused through the years. Most scratches and other blemishes are easy to fix, so you won’t need a tablecloth if you don’t want to use one. Here are some common problems and easy fixes for them.

  • Listing of the week Sep 19, 2014 12:01 AM
    Old-fashioned character abounds in this lovely “Old Town Carpentersville” Cape Cod-style home, built in 1913. Just over a century ago, its builder had his pick of locations in that fledgling town, so you can be sure this is a prime lot.

  • Large, luxury custom homes remain as popular as ever Sep 19, 2014 12:01 AM
    While most people living in the Chicago area don’t own a mansion worth millions of dollars, there’s no reason homebuyers can’t have a smaller slice of the pie. Those who can afford large luxury homes have always been attracted to them. And, if history offers an indication of the future, beautiful homes in ideal locations will always draw homebuyers, builders say.

  • Household wealth increases in U.S. Sep 18, 2014 1:59 PM
    Household wealth in the U.S. climbed in the second quarter, reflecting stock-market gains that are mostly benefiting upper-income Americans. Net worth for households and non-profit groups increased by $1.39 trillion from April through June, or 1.7 percent from the previous three months, to $81.5 trillion, the Federal Reserve’s financial accounts report showed today in Washington. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s longest streak of quarterly gains since 1998 combined with home-price appreciation helped to bolster Americans’ finances last quarter. A strengthening job market also is giving households the means to sustain their purchases, which make up about 70 percent of the economy. “Things are getting better for households,” said Paul Edelstein, director of U.S. financial economics at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. “Consumers are getting a little more optimistic, a little more willing to take on debt.” The value of financial assets owned by American households, including stocks and pension-fund holdings, increased by $1.27 trillion in the second quarter, today’s Fed report showed. The S&P 500 index completed a sixth quarterly gain in the April through June period, climbing 4.7 percent. The gauge has advanced further since then. Household real-estate assets climbed by $202 billion, according to today’s flow of funds data. Owners’ equity as a share of total household real-estate holdings increased to 53.6 percent last quarter from 53.2 percent in the previous three months. A cooling housing market may limit the gains in household wealth. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values rose 8.1 percent in the year ended in June, the smallest 12-month increase since January 2013, an Aug. 26 report from the group showed. A strengthening labor market will help provide an offset. Unemployment in August fell to 6.1 percent, matching the lowest level since September 2008. Monthly payrolls have grown an average 215,000 so far this year, up from 197,000 for the same period in 2013. Gains in household wealth are giving Americans more confidence to borrow, today’s flow of funds report showed. Household debt increased at a 3.6 percent annualized rate from April through June. Consumer credit, including auto and student loans, climbed at an 8.1 percent pace, while mortgage borrowing increased at a 0.4 percent rate. Some of the wealth is going toward vehicle purchases. Sales of cars and light trucks rose to a 17.5 million annualized rate in August, the highest since January 2006, from a 16.4 million pace a month earlier, according to data from Ward’s Automotive Group. Today’s report also showed that total non-financial debt advanced at a 3.8 percent annualized pace last quarter, with a 6.3 percent gain in business borrowing. State and local government debt increased at a 1.2 percent pace and obligations of federal agencies climbed 2.5 percent. Household net worth also is getting help from the Federal Reserve’s accommodative stance. Policy makers, who finished a two-day meeting yesterday, maintained a commitment to keep interest rates near zero for a “considerable time” after asset purchases are completed, saying the economy is expanding at a moderate pace and inflation is below its goal.

  • Rosemont to pay $1 million more for mall garage Sep 18, 2014 2:53 PM
    Rosemont will pay an extra $1 million for the construction of a parking garage attached to the Fashion Outlets of Chicago as a result of soil problems, officials said. “We tried to weasel our way out of it, but we couldn’t,” said Mayor Brad Stephens, who noted that the soil issues were identified at the start of construction.

  • New 236,000-square-foot distribution center being built in Des Plaines Sep 18, 2014 4:37 PM
    Officials broke ground Thursday on a 236,000-square-foot distribution facility on Des Plaines’ south side that could be leased to as many as six tenants, officials said. Elk Grove Village-based Liberty Property Trust is constructing the building on a 16-acre site at 333 Howard Ave.

  • Mount Prospect McDonald's moving into old Baker's Square Sep 18, 2014 5:30 AM
    McDonald's will move out of its restaurant on Rand Road in Mount Prospect and into a new location that is so close you could probably stretch a golden arch from one to the other.

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