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Is the Housing Market in Logan Square Getting Out of Control?

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Ah, Logan Square — the affordable, trendy, up and coming neighborhood with the boulevards, cocktail bars and a great farmers market. That's what many people might be thinking when starting their search for a house in the popular neighborhood, but in reality, the area's housing stock is really hit or miss and prices are in many cases just completely bonkers. At best, Logan Square rehabs and new construction are on par with what's in Bucktown, but at worst, it's like a knock-off budget version of River North. Remember this hot mess of a new construction on Washtenaw? Well guess what? There's another one just like it nearby asking nearly a million bucks. At least this time, the builder skipped out on the black lights and orange finishes and has instead offered the house's future owner the final say on finishes.


Then on the other side of the neighborhood you have what appears to be just your classic brick two-flat. Well, it's a single family home these days, and it hit the market last month asking nearly $900,000. It sold in 2008 for $410,000 — which was the going rate for properties like this in Logan Square at the time. However, it has returned asking more than double its last sale price. Yes, it's got a very large yard, and yes it's new and livable, but are the finishes worth $900,000? It has taken a couple of price chops since it first listed and is now asking $859,000, which could still be considered an ambitious price. You can get a freshly rehabbed single family home in Roscoe Village that is steps away from the Brown Line, good schools and actually has grocery stores and other amenities that are within walking distance for much less.

Your regular old, nice Logan Square house that is priced right will not only move in a matter of days, but it'll get literally dozens of offers. And this is what has been driving all of the speculative luxury home construction and renovations that the neighborhood has been witnessing for (at least) the last few years. Is a brand new condo across the street from the Mega Mall worth half a million bucks? One developer believes so and is asking that much for new condos on Milwaukee Avenue. Does a three-flat greystone in rough shape command $700,000 because of its investment potential near Palmer Square? When approaching Logan Square, can it really be thought of as an up and coming neighborhood anymore? Not really. But the change was inevitable and as the economy has rebounded over the last couple of years, there has been a flood on investment in the area. It's an emerging market being bloated by hype and bad construction, and buyers should err on the side of caution when shopping around.

Is buying in Logan Square right now a bad investment? No. But much of the neighborhood's inventory of historic homes is quickly being scooped up and flipped with prices that just seem illogical. If your two options are to either get into a bidding war with dozens of other buyers on a reasonably priced house or shell out heaps of cash and overpay for a new construction or rehab job, it might be worth weighing the option of purchasing in an area that doesn't feel as bubbly.

·1832 N Washtenaw Ave. Chicago, IL 60647 [Redfin]
·2861 W Shakespeare Ave. Chicago, IL 60647 [Redfin]
·2503 N Milwaukee Ave Unit 2N Chicago, IL 60647 [Redfin]
Previous Logan Square coverage [Curbed Chicago]