Greater Chatham is a hidden gem: a historic residential community with beautiful single-family homes just a fifteen-minute drive from Downtown Chicago. Greater Chatham also provides a unique opportunity for Chicago’s aspiring first-time homeowners: an extensive stock of large, high-quality homes available for the price of a condo elsewhere in Chicago. Its homes are a great deal, offering a strong value proposition as prices skyrocket in competing neighborhoods. The housing stock particularly appeals to a growing market segment of buyers seeking a home with solid construction and historical detail in a middle-class bedroom community with solid amenities and high connectivity to downtown Chicago.
OVERALL GREATER CHATHAM’S SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES PRICES ARE UP. CHATHAM ENJOYED THE HIGHEST GROWTH OF 39%. AVALON PARK EXPERIENCED A SMALL DIP OF -5%.
Greater Chatham is primarily a bedroom community, with 67% of land zoned for residential uses. Residential areas consist primarily of single-family (1-4-units) homes, with pockets of multifamily housing (>5-units).
The community offers high-quality housing, and 81% of the homes in Greater Chatham are currently occupied. Greater Chatham features many large, historically significant beautiful Craftsmen and Mid-Century single-family homes. These are usually high-demand properties, with above-market prices that attract high-income families.
Built primarily between 1920 and 1950 as part of Chicago’s “bungalow belt”, the community’s single-family homes (which make up roughly 40% of its housing) are modestly-sized brick structures. The typical bungalows, and also Georgian and Cape Code style homes have one, one-and-a-half or two stories, full basements, one-to-two bathrooms, two-to-three bedrooms, generous front and backyards and garages.
Greater Chatham’s new homeownership rates are experiencing faster growth than the City of Chicago’s new homeownership rates. The 1-unit building sales activity in the Greater Chatham neighborhoods of Avalon Park, Auburn Gresham, Chatham and Greater Grand Crossing area increased from 789 to 927 between 2015 and 2016. This 17.5% increase was much greater than the gain in 1-unit building sales activity citywide which was only 12.1% across Chicago. As with single family homes, the overall market in 2016 in Greater Chatham shifted to higher value sales compared to 2015. The median sales price for 1-unit buildings increased by 3.5% from $150,000-200,000 from 2015 and 2016. For 2016 home sales >$200,000 accounted for 7% of sales in Greater Chatham, an increase of 3%. While sales less than $50,000 accounted for the largest share of sales activity at 39.2%, this was a decline of 5.7% from 2015.
In the Chatham community saw the biggest increase in median single-family sales price which increased by 38.8% from $60,500 to $84,000. This was driven by an 8.9% increase in homes sold between $150,000-$199,000, and a 6.6% increase in homes sold >$200,000.
In Auburn Gresham, the number of 1-unit building sales increased by 12.9% from 2015 to 2016. The median sales price also increased by 17.6% from $51,000 to $60,500. While the share of sales <$50,000 decreased in 2016 to 7.6%, the share of sales between $150,000-$199,000 increased 5.1% and those >$200,000 increased 2.6%.
In Greater Grand Crossing, the number of 1-unit building sales increased by 7.6% from 2015 to 2016. The median sales price also increased by 25% from $40,000 to $50,000. The share of sales <$50,000 declined substantially from 54.8% in 2015 to 49.7% in 2016. At the same time, the share of sales that were between $150,000-$199,000 decreased by -0.4%. Properties that sold >$200,000 decreased -.05%.
In Avalon Park, the number of 1-unit building sales increased by 4.5% from 2015 to 2016 from 100 buildings sold to 152 properties sold. Avalon Park’s median sales price moved from $72,500 to $68,500 from 2015 to 2016. The share of 2016 sales between $150,000-$199,000 was 18.4% of the market. Properties that sold in 2016 for >$200,000 was 9.2% of the total sales volume.
IN 2016 NEW AND EXISTING HOMEOWNERS OBTAINED 1,781 MORTGAGES, A 25% INCREASE FROM 2015.
Almost every year since 2012, Greater Chatham has enjoyed growth in the total number of new mortgages for home purchasers. While the Chicago overall from 2012-2016 experienced a 5,593 or 8% decline in mortgages secured between 2012 (when Chicago new and existing homeowners procured a total of 73,194 new mortgages) and 2016 (when Chicago new and existing homeowners obtained 67,601 new mortgages). Greater Chatham, on the other hand, increased a 366 or 25% from 2012 (when Chatham homeowners garnered 1,415 new mortgages) to 2016 (when Chatham homeowners obtained 1,781 new mortgages.)
Between 2007 and 2013, institutional investors and speculators increased their share of Greater Chatham’s single-family and small multi-family home purchases from 15% to 44%. Many of these homes were rehabbed into high-quality housing stock to meet increasing demand for both homeownership and rental properties alike.
IN 2016 2-4 UNITS SALES INCREASE 52% FROM 2016. 2-4 UNITS ARE ATTRACTIVE FOR MULTI-GENERATIONAL FAMILIES, FAMILIES WHO WANT MORE SPACE OR DESIRE RENTAL INCOME
The 2-4-unit buildings are scattered throughout Greater Chatham. Concentrated in the northeast corners of Chatham, Greater Grand Crossing, and Auburn Gresham, the community’s multifamily housing offers large units and strong connections to local amenities. More than a third of single-family (1-4-units) buildings are in 2-4 until properties. This housing has long-served as an important middle-class alternative to single-family homes.
Historically, many families were able to improve their financial footing when they purchased a 2-4-unit building, lived in one unit, rented out the other units out and pocketed the rental income. Today, many purchasers convert the buildings into a single-family residence and enjoy the 2,000-4,000 square feet of living space. Other multi-generational families create vertical villages with grandparents on one floor and adult-children with their families on remaining floors. Some still aspire to have the extra income and rent the units they do not live in out.
The 2-4-unit building sales activity in the GCI area increased from 281 to 427 between 2015 and 2016. This 52% increase was much greater than the gain in 2-4-unit building sales activity citywide which was only 6.4% across Chicago. As with single family homes, the overall market in 2016 in Greater Chatham shifted to higher value sales compared to 2015. The median sales price for 2-4-unit buildings increased by 33.3% from $60,000 to $80,000 between 2015 and 2016. For comparison, the median sales price for 2-4-unit buildings increased by just 3.2% citywide. In 2016, in the Greater Chatham neighborhoods of Avalon Park, Auburn Gresham, Chatham and Greater Grand Crossing, 21.3% of sales were between $150,000 and $199,000, which was an increase of 5.7% from 2015. 2016 sales greater than $200,000 accounted for 11% of sales in Greater Chatham, an increase of 3.9%.
In Auburn Gresham, the number of 2-4-unit building sales increased by 60.4% from 2015 to 2016. The median sales price also increased by 22.5% from $63,250 to $77,500. While the share of sales <$50,000 increased slightly in 2016 to 33.1%, the share of sales between $150,000-$199,000 increased 5.7% and those >$200,000 increased 5.8%.
In Greater Grand Crossing, the number of 2-4-unit building sales increased by 45.5% from 2015 to 2016. The median sales price also increased by 82.9% from $41,000 to $75,000. The share of sales <$50,000 declined substantially from 57.3% in 2015 to 35.6% in 2016. At the same time, the share of sales that were between $150,000-$199,000 increased by 9.8%. Properties that sold >$200,000 were 5.6% of the market.
In Avalon Park, the number of 2-4-unit building sales increased by 600% from 2015 to 2016 from 3 buildings sold to 21 properties sold. The outsized percentage increase is because Avalon Park has very few 2-4-unit buildings. Avalon Park’s small market experienced the highest absolute median sales price gain of 28.9%, from $97,000 to $125,000 from 2015 to 2016. The share of 2016 sales between $150,000-$199,000 was 14.3%. Properties that sold in 2016 for >$200,000 was 19% of the total sales volume.
For more information please see the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University Sales Activity in Greater Chatham Initiative Area memo dated April 24, 2017 and Hot and Cold Spot Real Estate Maps.
Greater Chatham has 273 acres that is suitable for development. This includes vacant land and buildings, parcels owned by the City of Chicago, and land and buildings available for sale or lease. Of these parcels, 156 acres are situated in areas zoned for manufacturing and 117 acres are located in commercial and business zones.
Interested in historic properties? Greater Chatham has several historic designated retail corridors. They are located near the intersections of 75th Street & Cottage Grove Avenue and 79th Street & Cottage Grove Avenue.
Greater Chatham, has a long history as an industrial hub for metal fabrication, food packaging and process and transportation, distribution and logistics clusters. These and other industries take advantage of the 14% of the landmass that is zoned for manufacturing.
Industry leaders, such as Finkle Steel, Norfolk Southern and others know well of Greater Chatham’s superior transportation connectivity. The two major highways in Greater Chatham, the Dan Ryan and Chicago Skyway, provide quick access to the interstate system for nearby businesses, the region and the nation, or downtown. Greater Chatham also quality access to the freight rail network, as several railroads run in or near the area (Norfolk Southern is preparing for a significant expansion of its facilities just north of Greater Grand Crossing.).