Monday, June 30, 2008

In Chicago, Demand remains tepid as falling prices hurt confidence

Your guides participate in and receive a survey from our friends at Credit Suisse (formerly from Bank of America) who ask 2,500 Realtors in the US top 20 markets about what they are experiencing in the Real Estate Market.  The survey shows trends on a month by month basis.

In Chicago for the month of May traffic remained unchanged at weak levels from April.

Agents said buyer confidence remains very weak as many potential buyers are overwhelmed by the combination of continued price declines and a deteriorating economic outlook. According to one agent, “People are waiting for prices to go down further, as they are convinced it will get worse before it gets better.” In fact, one of the only agents satisfied with current traffic levels dealt solely with foreclosed properties and has benefited as an increase in vulture buyers has accompanied rising foreclosures. We think improved affordability from a combination of lower prices and lower mortgage rates is needed before we see any sustained improvement in traffic.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

This weekend in Chicago: The fests keep getting BIGGER...

So, weary festival warrior. You thought you might get a break one of these weekends.  But, NO!  The festivals keep getting larger.  This weekend brings you the two King Kong's of Chicago Festivals.

Tickets

First up:

Opening Weekend for the Taste of Chicago in Grant Park.  Acres and acres of live music, crowds, food-on-a-stick, crowds, heat, crowds, all culminating with the HUGE fireworks display on the 3rd of July.  (Rain date, July 4th.) 

Samosa

Umm, did I mention street closures?  Pretty much all the streets that go through Grant Park: Columbus, Jackson, Monroe, all the way to Balbo are closed. 

Check out the cool interactive map.

Taste of Chicago opens Friday, June 27.  Open Daily starting at 11:00 am for you downtown workers.

Next:pride-parade

The 39th Annual Gay Pride Parade in Lakeview.  Join nearly a half-million of your closest friends and mob the sidewalks along Halsted, Broadway and Diversey to watch Chicago's largest parade on Sunday, June 29.  The parade (theoretically - you know the gays) starts at Noon at the corner of Belmont and Halsted. 

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Look for your guides on the @properties float which should attract your attention with an ear-splitting sound system.

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Keep your eye out for @properties founder, Thad Wong, as the consummate attention junkie will be found running alongside the float handing out hats, beach balls or at least his business cards.

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The crowds paralyze East Lakeview starting at 10:00 am on Sunday, so don't even think about trying to drive across the neighborhood.

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Honorable Mentions:

  • BAM ! Fest in Roscoe VillageRoscoe Village will celebrate its 2nd annual Belmont Arts & Music Festival (BAM!) as it livens up the neighborhood streets on June 28th and 29th. Bursting with local artwork, music, food and spirits along Belmont Avenue running west from Damen, BAM! is a reflection of the diverse and vibrant arts scene in Roscoe Village.  (Belmont to Roscoe, near Damen.)
  • White Sox vs. Cubs in the second half of the Crosstown Classic this weekend on the South Side at US Cellular Field.  Go Cubs!
  • Fifth Annual Randolph Street Festival:  Formerly known as the Chicago Antique Market, this European-style indoor/outdoor fair showcases antiques and vintage collectibles from more than 200 dealers along Randolph Street, between Ada Street and Ogden Avenue.

Get out there and have some fun!

 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Street names in Chicago. K-town; and why there's no Q-town.

K-Town, Chicago

Did you ever wonder how all the streets got named in the section of Chicago where all the names start with the letter 'K'?   Otherwise known as K-town? 

Starting at just west of Pulaski, and extending for one mile, all the north-south street names begin with the letter 'K'.  And immediately following, all the streets start with 'L'.  There's also an 'L' section and and an 'O' section.  But no 'Q's.  (We could make a claim for copyright infringement against the unfortunately named Boy Band "O-Town."  Don't follow the link. It's bad.)

Even more interestingly, the plan was to start naming the north-south streets with the letter 'A' at the Illinois-Indiana border.  Each letter was supposed to be used for one mile, and then the next letter would begin.  On the south-east side of Chicago, there is a section of Chicago with several streets starting with the letter 'A' - primarily in Hegewisch.

But residents that lived in the older sections of Chicago that would have had to change the names of their streets to begin with the letters 'B' through 'J' objected, and the plan was not implemented in those neighborhoods.

How handy to know that when you hit Kostner, you are 11 miles west of the Indiana border.  12 miles when you hit Landers.  13 at Mango (I am not making this up.)

Alas, the letter Q would land west of O'Hare Airport in an undeveloped forest preserve and partly outside Chicago.

 

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hey, where did the seasons go?

Time sure flies!

I should have been paying attention.  Season's change.  It takes a while to sell out a development.  I took the photographs for the Mansions at Leland Hall back in January.  I wish someone would have reminded me how ridiculous the snowy building shots look on a nice sunny June Summer Day.

Here's what the place looks like today:

Leland Summer 010 

At least from the photo below, you can see the whole building without all that pesky foliage blocking the view.  Who needs leaves anyhow?

3100 Leland ext2 (Large)

Please bring this to my attention the next time you see this happen on my website?

 

Bad Real Estate Photos - a continuing series

blurry_living

blurry_fridge.jpt

I have not changed these photos in any way.  These are for a property that is currently for sale in Chicago and these are the marketing photographs that the listing agent uploaded into the MLS for publishing to the web.

 

Friday, June 20, 2008

Open House on Saturday, June 21

942 North Fairfield

The Fairfield Greystone

Open House on Saturday from 11:00 to 1:00

Two beds from $255,000 and one duplex left for $325,000

www.fairfieldgreystone.info

 

2034 West Arthur & 6504 North Seeley

The Warren Corner

Open house on Saturday from 11:00 to 1:00

1 bedrooms from $135,000

2 bedrooms, 1 bath from $155,000

2 bedrooms, 2 baths from $215,000

www.warrencorner.info

 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's not easy to find a foreclosure deal in most Chicago neighborhoods

It has come up in a couple of conversations with clients recently, as well as a discussion during a recent office meeting, that buyers are asking about locating homes in foreclosure in order to get  a deal.  It turns out that they're not quite as easy to find as you might think.

First, one important statistic:  Half of all foreclosures are occurring in six states.  Those states are California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan and Ohio.  (CNN Money)

All the other foreclosures in the US are divided among the remaining 44 states.

A personal anecdote:

One of my buyers asks regularly about locating a foreclosure deal.  Working at odds, however, is her desire to live in the Gold Coast. 

Well, they don't call it the Gold Coast for nothing.

Most of the condominiums we have seen are for sale by sellers making a lifestyle choice, not out of necessity.  Realtors showing us their listings in the Gold Coast tell how the condo is their sellers' second or third home; an in-town apartment or perhaps a former first home before relocating.  Almost universally, though, no tales of woe or hardship.  Some of these homes are also listed for rent.  Some owners will simply keep the home empty or enjoy it for another Chicago Summer.

Some of our younger buyers are devotees of Robert Kiyosaki's and Sharon Lechter's famous book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" which goes into great detail about finding the best investment deals.  Invariably this leads to the foreclosure discussion.

Second important statistic:  A foreclosed property is usually available for at least a 30% discount.  Often more.

Third important statistic:  There are plenty of foreclosures in Chicago. (Stats from RealtyTrac.)

The Catch:  Most of our company's clients are home buyers and are searching for a place for themselves and their family to live.  Take a look at the map of where these foreclosures are taking place (Map from RealtyTrac.) The areas with the highest concentrations are the south and west sides.  But the buyers don't want to live where the foreclosures are; they are asking for traditional lakefront neighborhoods.

When confronted with these facts, some of these buyers stubbornly remain insistent.  And homeless.

Another factor to take into consideration when pursuing foreclosed properties is the condition of the property.  In most cases, the property is neglected.  In some instances, ransacked. 

The best condition I have ever seen of a foreclosed property was a condominium in an amenity high-rise in Edgewater.  A small investor purchased a condominium in original condition and began renovating it in the hopes of fixing it up and selling at a profit.  When the project took more time and resources than he predicted, he stopped making payments and the condo was foreclosed on.  A buyer of mine who already lived in the building purchased the unit and finished the renovations.

Many foreclosed properties in Chicago are houses or small apartment buildings.  If vacant, these tend to fall into dis-repair quickly.  Our advice is that chasing deals on properties in distress is best left to the most experienced investors & rehabbers.  A Chicago winter can be very hard on a building with no running utilities.  Burst pipes, broken windows, vandalism are just some of the problems that foreclosed and neglected buildings are subject to.  They're not 30% to 50% off for no reason.  Even experienced investors can be surprised by how much time and money it can take to get a property back in good condition for renting out or selling at a profit.  Cost overruns, improper planning, shortages of man-power or materials, and even City bureaucracy can stymie you at an inopportune time sending your finances into peril.  It's all to easy to fall a few months behind schedule and a few thousand bucks in the hole and the property is right back in the bank's possession again.

Check with your local expert in your marketplace during the planning stages of your new home search.  Even though foreclosures are everywhere in the media, they might not be so right where you're looking for your next property.

 

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers' Day - Some background on your Guide

Fathers' Day 2008

Dedicated readers who truly have too much time on their hands, along with a few of my clients, have asked on occasion about the quote in my bio about “having real estate in my blood for my entire life.”

This Fathers' day post is a perfect time to look back at how it all started.

I think my earliest real estate development memories begin with our family building a new house across town from the first house I remember. My father and uncle each purchased lots in a suburb of Chicago in the early 1970's as potential investment lots or as the site for a new house. My uncle decided to sell and selected somewhere else to settle; my dad chose to build on his.

I remember this lot being one of the last undeveloped pieces of land in our town. It was quite a favorite play space for neighborhood kids. A city park was located only a block away, but I remember all the neighborhood kids playing on the lot rather than at the park. Perhaps it was the unkempt and uncontrolled nature of the lot. Though only 100 feet by 65 feet, at the time it seemed enormous – with a wild slope to the rear and even a dirt dune for climbing or BMX bike riding. It was regarded by the neighborhood kids as quite the tragedy that construction began on a new home on this treasured play area.

It was completely natural for my father to take both me and my sister, Jeanne (VP, Finance, Fancy Schmancy Downtown Developer), where we watched the whole process for the first time. Looking back, I distinctly remember excavation being punctuated by hours spent playing on bulldozers and earth moving equipment. It seemed like forever for the puring and curing of the foundation. Thinking back, this must have been the typical late fall pour before the winter, with a hiatus until the weather broke again in Spring. Framing was quite a marvel to behold.

Installation of major systems – electrical, heating, plumbing, each brought new revelations. Leftover junk became treasure – I collected punch-out slugs leftover from electrical boxes and saved them for years. The neighborhood kids warmed up to us as they were welcome to climb all over the construction as well as get to know the new playmates that would eventually move in.
At the same time as the house, Dad was also working on the first of four memorable construction events that I can recall. I am sure there were more, but the four were milestones in our childhoods.

First was a racquetball club in Westmont. The size and scale of this building was wondrous, what with nearly 30 foot tall ceilings in the courts and enormous glass walls for viewing. I can only describe the the interior as the ultimate in late '70's chic. Envision the d├ęcor influenced by both whoever imagined the set for the original movie version of “Hairspray” along with a healthy dose of modernism inspired by the Picasso in downtown Chicago. Shagadelic, baby! (Indeed, the vending area and lounge were finished with textured and patterned carpet that seamlessly scaled up the walls.)

Though I never saw our family name in the newspapers nor was anyone ever indicted for bestowing political favors, somehow my father became aware of the development and construction of what was Illinois Highway 5 which is now I-88 running roughly parallel to Ogden Avenue through the western Suburbs. Envisioned as the main artery for a High Tech Corridor, major technology companies such as Amoco Oil and Bell Labs were planned and built near major interchanges in Oak Brook, Westmont, and Naperville. Somehow dad know where and when the major interchanges were going to be located and bought up the parcels that he could afford.

Next door to the Racquetball Club in Westmont, Dad and my uncle developed a small office park. The small one and two story office parks in a landscaped setting that were all the fashion in the late '70's and through the 80's. I don't know if anyone goes for this kind of space anymore, but at the time was a perfect setting and product for the booming small business economy.

Next out in Naperville, Dad started on another, grander, racquetball AND tennis club (very exciting and innovative) along with a strip mall next door.

Today, the whole concept of a strip mall is quite routine. But back in the day, I remember that we were the landlords for a Chines Restaurant, a Quick Printer, AND a dry cleaner. This was quite impressive to me.

Dad and my uncle held onto most of these developments and managed them, but at some point during my High School career, Dad went corporate and took a job as a commercial appraiser for one of the downtown appraisal research firms. During my College years, I think the mini-empire was slowly sold off.

When I returned from the U of Iowa, we still owned the Westmont office park, and Dad had returned to working for himself. The brothers had sold the racquetball club to the Westmont Park District (I think it's still there today.) I went to work at the family owned commercial Real Estate Brokerage which was just breaking into Residential Sales. I think it was East-West (no relationship with Steve West, my current Real Estate partner) Darrow Realty.

The Naperville club was converted into an office building and I think the strip mall is still there. Oddly, these two are the smallest buildings around as the Naperville Road interchange on I-88 is home to some pretty famous corporate HQ's and is surrounded by towering hotel towers and mega-malls.

Shortly thereafter, Dad decided to close the residential brokerage and I located a job with a Relocation Company. The Relo company had me first in Lombard, then Naperville, Downers Grove and Oak Brook. At some point, I transferred to the Chicago office. It wasn't long thereafter that I switched to brokerage and have stuck with the same career ever since.

Dad retired to the Gulf Coast of Florida, and in keeping in character, started buying up land, lots and pre-consruction condo's in advance of the coming aging Baby Boomer migration to the south. I don't think I envision myself in the "Republican Riviera" but I certainly wish I sent some cash that way a few years ago...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Interactive map of Chicago's neighborhoods showing number of units sold in 2007

Another fun widget from our friends at ChicagoCondosOnline.com. This widget displays the number of units sold in 2007 in each neighborhood of Chicago and its ranking.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Open Houses for the weekend June 14 & 15

Saturday, June 14

The Warren Corner Condominiums

Open from 11:00 to 1:00

2034 W. Warner & 6504 N. Seeley

Newly renovated condominiums from $155,000. Two bedrooms from $199,900

www.warrencorner.info

Sunday, June 15

2946 N. Wood Street, Unit D

Open from 1:00 to 3:00

Wellington Park Townhome. Two beds plus den, two and a half baths, on four floors of living with a two car garage plus a two car driveway. Just dropped the price to $539,900 for a really fast sale!

www.wellingtonpark.net

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another busy weekend in Chicago. Things to do. Or avoid.

This weekend brings a full schedule of fun things in Chicago.

Or perhaps you can avoid the congestion and street closures that accompany these festivals.

Thursday Night

U.S. Air Guitar Championships Regional Finals - 9:00 pm at the Metro

www.usairguitar.com and also check out the Blog

Friday Morning

Bike to Work Day Rally - 7:30 am at Daley Plaza

Chicago's Bike to Work Day website

Live music, free T-shirts, food and free breakfast for dedicated souls who ride their bicycles to work on Friday. 

Not to be too much of a party pooper, but it IS Friday the 13th.  And the weather looks crappy.  Your guides are leading a tour of Rogers Park on Friday, so we'll be in the gas guzzler.

Saturday

Resurrection Lutheran Church is proud to announce the 6th annual Wrigleyville SummerFest.

June 14, 2008 from 11:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. on Seminary Avenue at Roscoe Street.

In addition to the bands and the Kids' Zone, plenty of food and beverages will be available, and many local vendors will be showcasing their products and services. We are proud to partner with Chicago Beverage Systems to provide Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft and Heineken beers this year.

Friday Night, Saturday and Sunday

59th Annual Old Town Art Fair - Just west of Wells & Lincoln and north of North Ave.

(Do not try to drive anywhere near here this weekend)

The tree-lined streets of Chicago's historic Old Town Triangle District will again provide a charming setting for the 59th Old Town Art Fair, the oldest and most prestigious juried outdoor art fair of its kind. Produced by the Old Town Triangle Association, this annual fundraiser benefits a host of local schools, youth groups and neighborhood preservation projects. With the support of more than 750 neighborhood volunteers, this year's Fair will be held on June 14 and 15 from 10am to 6pm rain or shine. The main gate is at Lincoln and Wisconsin Avenues. Requested donation is $7.00 ($5.00 after 4:00) ; there is no requested donation for children 12 and under.+Neighborhood parking is extremely limited. Public transportation is highly recommended.

Saturday and Sunday

43rd Annual Midsommarfest in Andersonville - Clark at Foster

For the Northsiders:   Midsommarfest is one of Chicago’s most unique street fairs. Born out of Andersonville's Swedish heritage, Midsommarfest retains its quaint, international flavor. Old-world Swedish traditions, including a festive dance around the Maypole, are incorporated into an unrivaled array of entertainment for families and adults.

Interactive map of Chicago Neighborhoods & sales rank

Another nifty widget from our friends at ChicagoCondosOnline.com that ranks Chicago's neighborhoods in sales and price. Remember that these figures are for condos and townhomes only (Type 2/attached).



Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It slowed down in the real world; Online stats back up seat of the pants.

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Online viewing of Real Estate seems to be on the decline just as it has felt in the real world in the past few weeks.  From a high of nearly 8,000 views per week, viewership seems to have fallen about 1/3 to approximately 5,000 views per week. 

Viewing in person seems to have fallen off even more than the 30% drop off in online viewership.

At some point every summer, the level of traffic at open houses eases off about 50%.  Throughout summer, we will still get good traffic from phone calls and Realtors, but curious buyers just getting started who are willing to drive around and explore different neighborhoods have their wish lists and goals focused by this time in the shopping season. 

Stats from Realtor.com for  25 active listings.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Holy Smokes, Even More to do in Chicago this weekend

Up northwest in Jefferson Park - Jeff Fest

When it comes to musical diversity, the 8th annual Jeff Fest (Jefferson Park Community Festival) on Chicago's northwest side pretty much has something for every taste!

Among the performers at the three-day event (Friday-Sunday, June 6-8) will be legendary British blues-rockers Foghat& Chicago party band Dick Holliday & the Bamboo Gang& good-time Southern rockers Heartsfield& the funk of TimePeace& the Latin stylings of Rico& and '60s music cover band The New Invaders.

In addition to music, Jeff Fest will feature food booths from the neighborhood's eclectic mix of restaurants as well as arts & craft vendors and activities for kids.

Not quite so northwest in Lincoln Square - Ribfest

Lincoln / Damen / Irving Park Intersection.Two exciting days of food and fun! Two stages of live music with 20 bands! It doesn't get any better than this.

Kick off the summer at Ribfest Chicago! What started in 1999 as a community block party has exploded into Chicago’s most anticipated street festival. This hot summer event offers something for everyone -- rib aficionados can vote for the restaurant with the “Best Ribs,” not to mention, fest goers can also honor restaurants with a “Fest Fave” award (favorite food item at the festival) and “Hot Off the Grill” award (best overall griller). Love to dance in the streets? In true Ribfest tradition, we’re bringing you some of the best music you’ll hear all summer -- and won’t hear at other festivals! Bring the kids! Our famous Kids Square provides hours of entertainment for kids of all ages … allowing children to slide, climb, run, complete, jump, ride, sing and dance all weekend long. Ribfest Chicago promises to provide a memorable weekend of lively music, family fun and satisfied appetites as we celebrate ten years of unforgettable barbecue.

Does "Short Sale" belong in Real Estate Advertising?

foreclosure-home

So "Short Sales" and Foreclosures are all over the news lately.  These terms are also being tossed about an awful lot in Real Estate Advertising and Marketing.

I wonder why Realtors and Real Estate Companies are so willing to advertise the distressed nature of some of the homes for sale?

A number of real estate experts have been quoted on regional blogs and in local media that the sales price for homes that are identified as "Short Sale" or "Foreclosure" properties is in the range of 20% to 43% below the value established in a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) of similar homes in the same area.

I can understand that a home that has already been foreclosed on, and has been vacant for some time, may very well need to be discounted due to the home falling into disrepair from being vacant for a period of time.

But what about the home where the seller has fallen behind on their mortgage payments and the foreclosure process is just getting underway?  Here in Illinois, it's possible for a home owner to remain in possession of a property for as long as a year before the foreclosure process results in the final eviction of the residents of the home. 

I sold my first pre-foreclosure condominium about 13 years ago here in Chicago - way before the huge wave of foreclosures happening right now.  The owner of a condominium in a desirable high rise in Lincoln Park lost her job and couldn't make her mortgage payments.  As the mortgage company started the foreclosure process the seller listed the condo for sale with an aggressive Re/Max agent who marketed the home through all his company's normal marketing channels.  None of the marketing for this condo mentioned that the home was in foreclosure, and my buyer paid full retail price for the condo affording the seller a small profit after paying off her outstanding mortgage. 

As the condo was in perfect condition and completely salable, the question comes to mind: 

Should my buyer and I have known about the status of the mortgage before making an offer?

If so, why?

My company has a whole company e-mail address for agents to get the word out about open houses, new listings, company announcements and the like.  An informal survey of the bulk of the email received yesterday and today reveals four emails addressed to the company promoting a new listing that is in pre-foreclosure or will be a short sale.

Other blogger's have noticed a marked increase in the advertising and marketing of properties and their pre-foreclosure or short sale status through the Multiple Listing Service and even in their newspaper advertising.  Yikes!  I have not seen the practice being adopted too frequently here in Chicago.  Yet.  But a search of all property types, for the words "foreclosure" or "short sale" reveals 161 listings.

But this begs the question:  If you have a listing where the seller is having trouble making payments on the mortgage but the home is in otherwise perfectly marketable condition, should the Realtor reveal the status of the mortgage in the marketing for the home?  Even though the disclosure of this information will virtually guarantee that the home will sell for a discount of 20%, 30% or even 40% off of its full market value?

I am sure I know the answer to these questions.  It's : No.

Here's one for you, though:  Lots of buyers love to ask why the seller is selling?

What do you say when a buyer asks you why the home is for sale?  Or why the seller is selling?  Or why are the sellers moving?

Or even more direct:  Is the seller in foreclosure?  Is the home in foreclosure?

My favorite answer when the question is asked during a home showing is:

"Why, they've decided it's time to move!" Delivered in the sweetest voice and with a broad smile like it's the most natural answer in the world.

Usually this will stop the line of questioning.  Sometimes a potential buyer will follow up with a serious look and repeat the question.  In those instances I'll meet their icy stare and tell them that I can't answer the question.

About one in 100 will ask me why? 

Of course it's because it's my duty to promote the best interests of my clients.  And revealing anything about their reasons and motivations for moving is a violation of my duty to them.

Which brings us back to the "Short Sale" or foreclosure status.  Doesn't it make sense that announcing to anyone and everyone this info also violates the duty that you have to your sellers?

I'd love to hear from any of you especially if you're in the real estate industry. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chicago makes it into Final Four for Olympics in 2016

Olympics

Announced today by the International Olympic Committee, Chicago is in the final four cities under consideration to host the 2016 Olympics.

This means that the IOC believes that Chicago can technically meet the demands of being a host city, however their message also indicated that they believe that Chicago has some weaknesses to overcome.

Not making the cut today were  Prague, Czech Republic; Doha, Qatar, and Baku, Azerbaijan.

A final decision should be made in November 2009.

Check out the complete announcement at Crain's

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

More stuff to do in Chicago this weekend - Blues Fest

It certainly doesn't feel like it with a cold front swirling over the great lakes and temps are hovering in the 50's, but Summer is officially now in full swing.  Chicago's 25th Annual Blues Festival is this weekend where you can hear live legends like B.B. King, Buckwheat Zydeco and Chicago favorite Lonnie Brooks all in Grant Park and all for free.

Blues Fest 25th Annual Chicago Blues Festival, Thursday, June 5 through Sunday June 8, 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. each day, Free admission, Grant Park

Thursday, June 5
11:00 a.m. - Blues in the Schools w/ Katherine Davis, Erwin Helfer, Eric Noden and the Stone Academy Blues All Stars, U.S. Cellular Front Porch Stage
12:45 p.m. - Professor Fernando Jones Columbia College Blues Ensemble, U.S. Cellular Front Porch Stage
2:30 p.m. - David "Honey Boy" Edwards and Friends (Billy Branch, Louisiana Red, Paul Kaye, Aron Burton, and Johnny Yard Dog Jones), U.S. Cellular Front Porch Stage. Edwards is one of the last original delta blues guitarists still currently performing, so be sure to catch him while you can.
2:30 p.m. - Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band, Louisiana Bayou Station and Social Club Stage (Also playing the U.S. Cellular Front Porch Stage, Friday, June 6, at 11:00 a.m. and the Gibson Guitar's Crossroads Stage, Saturday, June 7 at 12:00 p.m.)
4:00 p.m. - Diamond Jim Greene, Maxwell Street Corner Stage
8:30 p.m. - Johnny Winter with James Cotton, Petrillo Music Shell. "Bring your sunglasses to keep the glare of his albino skin from blinding you." - Chuck.

Friday, June 6
2:30 p.m. - Louis Jordan: Hitmaker of Blues, Jazz and R&B, a discussion with Howard Mandel, Bill Milkowski, Lonnie Brooks, Bob Porter, and Ernest Dawkins, The Zone Perfect All-Natural Nutrition Bars Route 66 Roadhouse. July 8th would be Jordan's 100th birthday, so it's a good time to catch this discussion on the man often called "the father of rhythm and blues."
2:30 p.m. - Omar Shariff, Louisiana Bayou Station and Social Club Stage (Also playing the same stage on Saturday, June 7 at 4:00 p.m.; not to be confused with actor Omar Sharif)
4:30 p.m. - Jim O’Neal moderates “'Sweet Home Chicago': Anthem or Cliché?" featuring Billy Branch, Bill Gilmore and Bill Dahl, The Zone Perfect All-Natural Nutrition Bars Route 66 Roadhouse. Another great discussion, this time on the legendary blues song.
7:25 p.m. - Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater’s West Side Strut with special guests Lonnie Brooks, Jimmy Johnson, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Otis Clay and Billy Branch, Petrillo Music Shell

Saturday, June 7
2:30 p.m. - Juke Joint Duo: Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Mississippi Juke Joint Stage (Also play the same stage on Sunday, June 8 at 1:30 p.m.)
8:35 p.m. - Buckwheat Zydeco, Petrillo Music Shell

Sunday, June 8
12:00 p.m. - Rodney Brown’s salute to Louis Jordan, Gibson Guitar's Crossroads Stage
2:30 p.m. - Tony Joe White, U.S. Cellular Front Porch Stage
8:15 p.m. - B.B. King, Petrillo Music Shell.

Chicago Condos Market Overview

From our good friends over at Chicago Condos Online

Stats for condominiums located in Chicago for the Month of May.

Comparing 2008 to the same time last year, the total sales volume appears to be dramatically down, but prices are ever resilient showing a modest 2% gain.  It appears that anyone who doesn't need to sell is simply holding onto their condominiums until better days come along, and the units that do sell are appreciating slightly.

Year over Year - May 2008 - May 2007

Category May 2008 May 2007 Change
Actives 14,227 15,020 -5%
New Listings 3,455 4,167 -17%
Closings 1,247 1,966 -37%
Median Sales Price $329,000 $299,000 +2%
Total Sales Volume $496-million $659-million -25%
Avg. Days on Market 126 123 +2%
Supply 9.5 months 9.3 months +2%

 

From April to May it appears that sales increased along with prices.  Time on the market increased a bit along with months supply of inventory, but the market picked up during May compared to April.

Month over Month - May 2007 - April 2008

Category May 2008 April 2008 Change
Actives 14,227 14,127 +0.7%
New Listings 3,455 4,464 -23%
Closings 1,247 1,148 +9%
Median Sales Price $329,000 $320,000 +3%
Total Sales Volume $496-million $441-million +12%
Avg. Days on Market 126 123 +2%
Supply 9.5 months 9.4 months +1%

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Printer's Row Book Fair, Chicago, next weekend


Printer's Row Book Fair, originally uploaded by kookybites.

Coming in one week is Chicago's Printers Row Book Fair. Your guides thought it was this weekend and were remiss in not reporting on it. No fear, however, it is scheduled for next weekend, June 6 &7.

The Printers Row Book Fair was founded in 1985 by the Near South Planning Board to attract visitors to the Printers Row neighborhood (once the city's bookmaking hub). By 2002, it had grown to five city blocks (on Dearborn, from Congress to Polk), attracting more than 190 booksellers from across the country displaying new, used and antiquarian books, and featuring seven stages with more than 90 free literary programs. It is considered the largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest-drawing more than 90,000 book lovers to the two-day showcase.