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Articles filed under Residential Real Estate

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  • Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to 4.14 pct Jun 26, 2014 10:48 AM
    Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages declined this week, hovering near historically low levels. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for a 30-year loan eased to 4.14 percent from 4.17 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage fell to 3.22 percent from 3.30 percent.

  • Court battle continues over Palatine apartments for disabled Jun 25, 2014 6:54 PM
    The village of Palatine will be back before a Cook County judge next month contesting a lawsuit filed against them by the developer of a proposed apartment building for people with disabilities. In March, Cook County Judge Neil H. Cohen granted the village’s motion to dismiss the case, but the developer is asking the judge to reconsider his decision.

  • With Town Center on the line, Wheeling makes final offer Jun 25, 2014 6:45 PM
    Wheeling has made a “very, very generous” — and final — offer to the four government bodies threatening to sue if the village board establishes two new tax increment financing districts, Village President Dean Argiris said this week. He said if the parties sue, the Town Center project in Wheeling is doomed.

  • Housing study to focus on conditions, opportunities in Round Lake area Jun 25, 2014 10:35 AM
    The four Round Lake communities and Hainesville will work with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning on a yearlong housing analysis. "They want to see them (recommendations) as actionable steps," said Maggie Morales, manager of community engagement at the Lake County Community Foundation, which made the application to the agency for staff assistance.

  • Sales of U.S. existing homes up 4.9 percent in May Jun 23, 2014 11:23 AM
    The National Association of Realtors reported Monday that sales of existing homes increased 4.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million homes. The monthly gain was the fastest since August 2011, but even with the increase, sales are still 5 percent below the pace in May 2013.

  • A home move with less stress, bigger upside Jun 21, 2014 6:00 AM
    After buying one of the beautifully decorated models at Lexington Park in Des Plaines for himself, Bill McPartlin, a real estate broker from Park Ridge, is singing the praises of buying a home or townhouse that is move-in ready.

  • Neighborhood spotlight shines on Plum Grove Creek Jun 20, 2014 5:30 AM
    Sharron and Tom Noe have lived in the Plum Grove Creek subdivision for 31 years. Although at one point they considered moving to a larger home elsewhere, they chose to enlarge their kitchen and add a room to stay in their Rolling Meadows neighborhood.

  • Lake Zurich park sale idea on hold, issue returning to advisory committee Jun 20, 2014 8:19 AM
    Lake Zurich village board members have agreed to postpone voting on whether to authorize selling a downtown park for home development after hearing from several concerned residents this week. “Don't take our parks, please,” resident Barry Luneburg told officials. “That's a golden asset we have.”

  • Prospect Heights house built by District 214 students hitting the market Jun 20, 2014 10:01 AM
    A group of students from Northwest Suburban High School District 214 have a four-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom house that they designed and built from scratch going on the market for $599,000. “It’s definitely a good feeling when you put a lot of hard work into it,” said 2013 Prospect High School graduate Chris Zimmer.

  • Wheaton city council approves controversial Farnham Lane development Jun 17, 2014 11:16 AM
    After many discussions over several years, the Wheaton City Council approved a proposal for a controversial development on Farnham Lane that neighbors say will change the feel of their street for the worse. The proposal is to re-subdivide the properties at 102, 106 and 108 E. Farnham Lane into nine single-family lots.

  • Ice cream social at Sunderlage Farmhouse Jun 17, 2014 4:03 PM
    Visitors can learn about Hoffman Estates history Sunday, June 22, when the village’s Historical Sites Commission hosts a free event from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Sunderlage Farmhouse at 1775 Vista Lane, on the corner of Volid Drive and Vista Lane.

  • Neighborhood profile focuses on Bending Oaks Jun 13, 2014 12:01 AM
    Gary Kleczka grew up on Elmore Avenue in Downers Grove where he later purchased the lot adjacent to the house where he had lived with his parents. Bending Oaks features homes built by Ron Sievers in the late 1980s after he purchased a large tract of land from Mae and Fred Marvin and divided it into mostly one-third acre parcels.

  • Many seek new homes near cities but are priced out Jun 11, 2014 4:17 PM
    City living has been a blessing for Tim Nelson. The Phoenix lawyer moved downtown a few months ago into a new $389,000 home with a warehouse-style floor plan, a Jacuzzi tub and kitchen counters made of Caesarstone quartz. His favorite coffee spot is three blocks away. When the Arizona Diamondbacks play on Friday nights, he can watch postgame fireworks from his deck. “I like the views,” said Nelson, 50. “My commute is almost nonexistent.” Nelson has plenty of company. Americans increasingly say they prefer to live near the centers of cities and towns, where commutes are typically shorter and culture, restaurants and entertainment close by. It marks a shift away from the yearning for open suburban space that drove U.S. home construction for decades. But it carries a costly trade-off: Land in many cities has surged in price. And fewer Americans can now afford newly built homes in the walkable neighborhoods they desire. The average price of a newly built home nationwide has reached $320,100 — a 20.5 percent jump since 2012 began. That puts a typical new home out of reach for two-thirds of Americans, according to government data. Yet many builders have made a calculated bet: Better to sell fewer new homes at higher prices than build more and charge less. Their calculation is partly a consequence of the growing wealth gap in the United States. Average inflation-adjusted income has declined 9 percent for the bottom 40 percent of households since 2007, while incomes for the top 5 percent exceed where they were when the recession began that year, according to the Census Bureau. Buyers have historically paid about 15 percent more for a new home than for an existing one, a premium that’s reached 40 percent today, according to the real estate data firm Zillow. An average new home costs about six times the median U.S. household income. Historically, Americans have bought homes worth about three times their income. The high prices and sparse construction are no help for a still-subpar U.S. economy. With new-home sales well below their historical average, construction firms need fewer workers. The economy remains 1.49 million construction jobs shy of its total in December 2007, when the Great Recession began. After 60 years of migrating to car-dominated suburbs, polls show more Americans want out of long commutes in favor of neighborhoods where jobs and stores are nearby. Stuck with pay that’s barely budging, many face a tough choice: Keep renting. Pile up huge mortgage debt to buy a home near their job. Or buy a cheaper home that requires a lengthy commute. “Middle-class Americans are (being) squeezed out,” said John McIlwain, a senior fellow at the Urban Land Institute. Low mortgage rates have eased some of the pain from rising prices. But the desire to live near town centers on costlier land could depress home ownership rates to as low as 60 percent, McIlwain estimates. That would be down from 65 percent today and 69 percent during the housing bubble. About 40 percent of Americans still live in a suburb “where most people drive to most places,” according to a new poll by the American Planning Association, a trade group for community planners. But just 7 percent say they hope to stay in car-dominated neighborhoods. Those findings mesh with a March report on the preferences of millennials by Nielsen Holdings. The construction business thrived for decades by bulldozing cheap farmland into suburban networks of streets and houses. But as farmland grew costlier, land prices in cities and towns with attractive amenities soared, says Christopher Leinberger, a professor at George Washington University and an industry strategist. Homebuilder Toll Brothers spent $24 million in 2012 to buy two-thirds of an acre near Nationals Park in Washington. That’s equal to roughly $830 a square foot, compared with $5 a square foot before the ballpark existed, Leinberger said. At the Walnut Hill Townhomes in Chattanooga, prices start at $610,000. The figure reflects a revival of that industrial city. A pedestrian bridge spans the river, carrying locals to gastropubs, gourmet tacos and a waterfront park. Dale Mabee, who’s building the homes, said his material and land costs meant prices had to be $243 a square foot, nearly three times the average in the metro area. “It’s almost a necessity to build at a higher price point to make the numbers work,” Mabee said. Among the buyers was Spencer McCallie, a 77-year old former school headmaster. McCallie initially retired to a lakeside cabin about 30 miles outside the city. But its quiet pleasures were undercut by long drives downtown for symphony concerts and Rotary Club meetings. “We didn’t want to have to come in 28 miles because we knew we’d have to come home late at night,” McCallie said. The shift in tastes is among factors that are eroding home affordability despite still-low mortgage rates. Among other factors: tighter lending rules and difficulty producing down payments. All of which helps explain why construction has yet to rebound with vigor. Just 433,000 new homes were sold on an annualized basis in April. Over the previous half-century — when the United States had a smaller population — annual sales had averaged 660,000. Builders noted in recent earnings calls the higher prices and the decline in construction. Richard Dugas, CEO of PulteGroup, says building entry-level homes isn’t profitable enough anymore. Builder D.R. Horton says escalating prices have left first-time buyers “underserved.” It’s introduced a low-cost division with homes priced as low as $120,000, targeted in part at millennial buyers but located at the edges of suburbia where land is cheaper. For those able to live downtown, the tight supply of new homes has forced them to act fast. Crews broke ground last month on a 47-rowhome luxury development in Chicago. Every apartment — starting at $562,900 — sold before digging began. The rooftop decks survey the city skyline. Buyers are waiting 12 to 16 months for construction to finish before moving in, said Heather Gustafson of CMK Realty. The homes are built in the Cabrini-Green area, once occupied by a housing project notorious for gang violence. The city began to demolish the project in 1995 and resettle residents, clearing prime real estate just a 20-minute walk from the office towers and trendy restaurants of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Adam Kriticos, a mortgage broker, bought the last available home at the development, known as Basecamp River North. He had less than four days to make an offer after touring a model home. That didn’t faze him. “It’s not like we’re overpaying for where the market is now,” he said.

  • St. Charles shuns large west-side development Jun 10, 2014 12:07 PM
    A plan to annex 96 acres of land into St. Charles that would be home to 285 new residential dwellings met a sour reception when presented to aldermen Monday night. Opponents of the Bluffs of St. Charles project say the plan would violate the city's land use plan and create an “island of development” in a rural area.

  • Little City, Bloomingdale part ways on group home idea Jun 10, 2014 11:09 AM
    Little City Foundation didn't need a village board vote to know that Bloomingdale wouldn't be the site of its next group home. The Palatine-based organization said it is abandoning plans to create a group home for eight developmentally disabled men. “The reception that we have received (in Bloomingdale) has been shocking,” Little City Executive Director Shawn Jeffers said.

  • 2014 DreamHome opens at Merchandise Mart Jun 8, 2014 12:01 AM
    Using bold colors. Displaying artwork. Choosing or even making accessories that finish the look you crave. Deciding which lines you prefer on a chair. The Merchandise Mart DreamHome is the perfect place to get ideas and solutions for all these decorating conundrums.

  • Neighborhood focus shines on Canterbury Fields Jun 6, 2014 12:01 AM
    During a three-month period, Sara and Jeff Stone looked at 100 potential places to live before they chose to settle in the Canterbury Fields subdivision on the far west side of Hoffman Estates. “I’m very picky,” Jeff Stone said.

  • First day of Schaumburg garage sale a success Jun 6, 2014 5:33 PM
    The annual Timbercrest-Woods Garage Sale in Schaumburg got off to a strong start Friday, but residents of the two subdivisions expect even greater crowds during the weekend. “The morning here was very busy, and I’m hoping tomorrow morning will be even busier,” said Sue Haberer, a resident of Timbercrest for more than 20 years.

  • Bartlett trustees to toughen rules for truck drivers Jun 4, 2014 5:30 AM
    Bartlett trustees informally agreed Tuesday night to place new restrictions on truck drivers in response to an influx of industrial rigs cutting through neighborhoods and the downtown. "This is really what the community is kind of in an uproar about," Police Chief Kent Williams said after showing the board a picture of one hauler.

  • U.S. home price gains slow in April amid tepid sales Jun 3, 2014 8:15 AM
    U.S. home prices rose in April compared with a year earlier, but the increase was the smallest annual gain in 14 months. Price gains have slowed this year as sales have faltered.

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