What a difference one year makes, especially in the Bucktown and WickerPark neighborhoods. Once a bohemian enclave, this area has rapidly transformed into an upscale neighborhood with one of the premier dining, nightlife and shopping districts north of Michigan Avenue.
The strength and desirability of Bucktown and WickerPark has not been lost on retailers who are eager to gain a foothold in the neighborhood. Recently, major announcements by athletic footwear companies Nike, ASICS and Finish Line are indicative of global brands taking up residence in the Bucktown and WickerPark.
If running isn’t your thing, then possibly yoga is. Lululemon Athletica, another well-known national retailer, has announced plans to open on the same block as Nike. These popular retailers are being joined by other national retailers Pet Supplies Plus and The Vitamin Shoppe. What if you’re not in the mood to sweat? Then you may want to shop for luxury clothing at Steven Alan, von Z, or GANT, which are all recent or coming additions to the neighborhood. Clearly the local neighborhood is turning into anything but local based on this national appeal.
Given the continued success of Michelin Star winners and neighborhood favorites Schwa and TAKASHI, foodies from every neighborhood are flocking to Bucktown and WickerPark for some of the city’s finest cuisine. Even Chicago-favorite chef Rick Bayless is opening a restaurant here.
With all this activity in the neighborhood, it should come as no surprise that real estate prices have shown their strongest gains in years as property owners experience a sense of opportunity.
To provide some perspective, there have been 174 sales of detached single family homes so far in 2013 with an average sales price of $872, 241 per Midwest Real Estate Data. Compared to 2012, the average sales price increased 18.4 percent or approximately $135,000 from $736,964 and the number of sales increased 18 percent from 147. In 2013, homes are selling in 100 days compared to 119 days in 2012.
For condominium owners, 2013 has also been a very active year with 27 percent more sales than 2012. To date in 2013, there have been 741 sales with an average sales price of $419,240. In contrast, the average sales price in 2012 was $373,499 with only 585 sales. New condominium projects coming online are selling in record times as evidenced by the average days on market declining to 51 days in 2013 from 120 days in 2012.
In summary, Bucktown and WickerPark are thriving and forecasted to continue their ascent based on an increased pool of buyers with no substantial increase in available inventory, low interest rates, and abundant lifestyle opportunities and experiences which appeals to new buyers. With so much going for Bucktown and WickerPark, who wouldn’t want to live here?
Contributor Michael Hobbs, SRA, LEED GA is President of PahRoo Appraisal & Consultancy, a real estate valuation firm specializing in residential and commercial properties in Chicago’s favorite neighborhoods.