Monday, July 23, 2007

'Tis the Season: Fall Semester at DePaul starts soon

Mom and Dad stopped by one of my open houses on Sunday. I think I almost gave them a heart attack as they were out shopping for a studio or a one-bedroom condo for an incoming freshman at DePaul University this fall. The condo they stopped into was a three-bedroom, two-bath luxury condo listed for $560,000.

I quickly rattled off some statistics about recent sales, and then followed up by checking the MLS for exactly what was available within walking distance of DePaul right now.

Just to add to the challenge, DePaul happens to be located in the heart of Lincoln Park - probably the third most expensive neighborhood in Chicago. Lincoln Park has humble roots as a working class neighborhood developed mostly in the 1920's. It became popular in the 1980's and has experienced rapid price appreciation in the following decades. Modest housing has been converted into condominiums for Yuppies, and in very recent years, multiple buildings have been razed to make way for 12,000 square foot mansions on the south-east end of the neighborhood.

Options for students do exist, however. For your consideration:

625 West Wrightwood is a conversion of an apartment building into standard quality condominiums. The building features studios, one bedrooms and two beds. For a student living alone, a studio could be purchased for $151,400. Parking is available for purchase in this building - a rarity in affordable Lincoln Park condominiums. Our advice to clients is that parking frequently appreciates faster than the condominium, and for an investment, the parking is a wise purchase. But for a student, save the cash and send the kid to college without wheels. A car simply invites too many problems and the additional cost is excessive when trying to hold together a student budget.

Moving up to a full-blown one-bedroom gains you a separate bedroom, a more formal kitchen and separate living room. 2604 North Burling is a vintage building from the 1920's. Unit #3 is on the market for $219,900. My most recent clients that chose to own a condo for their DePaul daughter chose a one-bedroom condo like this one and added a roommate to share expenses. In this vintage condo, parking is not available at any price. Another strong argument to come to Chicago without a car.

The best price on a two-bedroom can be found at 2224 North Burling, #1B for $279,900. Located in a classic Chicago graystone, the spacious apartment has one bath, a separate kitchen and a huge living-dining room combo. It is a garden unit, however, but for college kids, this just means pesky sunlight won't intrude on late-sleepers and you won't be able to hear the too-loud music emanating from the underground college-lair.

Not tempted yet? How about this statistic: The ten year appreciation for condo's and townhomes in Lincoln Park was 107%! The five year appreciation was 24%. (Statistics from the Chicago Association of Realtors.) How nice might it be to buy for $151,000 and sell in 10 years for $312,570? Give a call if you'd like to explore these options further for your college attendees.