Chicago’s Next "It" Neighborhoods, According to 5 Real Estate Pros

It ain’t the West Loop, we can tell you that much

By Moira Lawler

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10 August 2017

The West Loop? Over. Logan Square? On its way.

So what’s the next “it” neighborhood?

Bet you’d like to know. And so would we.

That’s why we asked five real estate agents where a prospective homebuyer should be looking next.

They each gave us a different answer — along with some tips on what to know before you hit your next round of open houses.

Alex Haried, Agent at Redfin

Honey Butter Fried Chicken/Avondale

Which neighborhood would you invest in today? Avondale. That would be a nice investment if you wanted to live in your investment and have a good appreciation on your house and see the value of your home do pretty well over the next few years.

What’s a draw for Avondale? The Blue Line’s right there. You have easy access to Lakeview and Logan Square nightlife, but you get a little cheaper pricing for your single-family home.

Where would you have invested five years ago? Five years ago, I would have 100 percent bought in the West Loop. But that’s only since hindsight is 20/20. It’s just been insane what’s been happening in terms of pricing and the neighborhood, but that would have been really hard to foresee.


  • Look here: 3435 N. Springfield Ave., a rehabbed four-bedroom on an oversized lot with an asking price of $649,000
  • Price per square foot: $224 as of June (compared to $281 for Lakeview and $255 for Logan Square)

Leigh Marcus, Real Estate Broker at @Properties 

Humboldt Park

Where do you wish you invested a few years ago? Two years ago, I would have said West Loop. All of the sudden prices are crazy there.

What about now? I would say Humboldt Park and Avondale are two places that people are looking when they’re priced out of the other areas. Humboldt is just west of Ukrainian Village, just west of Wicker Park, just south of Logan Square. It just hasn’t had the uptick yet that everything else has, so it seems like the next place. On the north side, Roscoe Village and North Center have really done well but what’s next? Well, Avondale is where people are exploring.

Any words of wisdom on how to predict the next hot neighborhood? Think about what the growth jumped over. Look for the gaps. Logan Square has done really well, but it kind of jumped over Humboldt. And Old Irving Park is a great neighborhood with really good schools, and Avondale is one neighborhood closer to the city.


  • Median sale price: $178,000
  • Outdoor perks: Consider the eponymous Humboldt Park your backyard

Marissa Gillman Schaefer and Sharon Gillman, Agents at Baird & Warner


Empty Bottle/West Town

Where do you recommend buying today? West Town — specifically a pocket called Smith Park. Developers uncovered this hidden gem years ago and in 2007, homes were selling as high as $1.3 million. Beginning in 2015, we saw beautiful new construction developing and now feel the area is on the cusp of becoming the next Bucktown.

Any neighborhood perks to note? The food scene is impressive, with restaurants like BoeufHaus, Kai Zen and Haywood Tavern. Restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff is an investor in the area as well, opening the very cool C.C. Ferns and reinventing California Clipper.

Where do you wish you bought five years ago? Five years ago was a softer market so it was a fantastic time to invest, period. It would have been wise to invest specifically in the West Loop/Meatpacking district. Property values have soared, and there has been little turnover in the last year.  


  • Look here: 2629 W. Superior St., contemporary digs a block away from the park could be yours for $1,295,000

Rafael Murillo, Real Estate Broker at @Properties 


Edgewater

What’s your pick for the Chicago neighborhood worth investing in today? I am actually working with an investor right now, and I’ve been pushing for him to look into Edgewater. As pricing along the lakefront in neighborhoods like Lakeview and Lincoln Park becomes more expensive for buyers or renters, they're starting to look northward to neighborhoods like Edgewater and Andersonville that have comparable traits.

Any tips on how to choose a place in Edgewater? I would say you're pretty safe with anything that has easy access to commute on train to downtown. [Ed note: There are four L stops and a new Metra station planned in the neighborhood.]

Where do you wish you invested five years ago? I wish I would have invested in the West Loop/Fulton Market. Since the market crashed, it has become one of the hottest neighborhoods in Chicago. Buyers are facing limited inventory with a high demand, making it very expensive.


  • Look here: 5931 N. Hermitage Ave., a newly constructed home with over 3,000 square feet of living space that’s currently on the market for just over $1 million
  • Price per square foot: $197 as of June, up from $118 in June 2012

Mark Icuss, Agent at CONLON/Christie's International Real Estate

Avondale

Where would you invest today? The eastern part of Avondale (Belmont to the north, Diversey to the south, California to the west and Western to the east). This little pocket is only a couple minutes in either direction to the center of Bucktown/Logan Square and Roscoe Village, and homes and condos can be bought at a pretty big discount. This is one area where a single-family home would be the same price as a smaller condo only a few blocks to the east.

Anything to watch out for? You need to make sure you drive every block and really pay attention to the existing housing stock. If you have a lot of rundown, smaller frame homes and see some new homes being built, it’s safe to assume the block will be ripe for redevelopment, which will in turn drive up pricing.

Where do you wish you invested five years ago? I think every real estate investor, amateur or broker in Chicago wishes they would have bought buildings in the West Loop during the recession.


Look here: 2901 N. Fairfield Ave., Apartment 3S, a two-bedroom condo with huge windows (and lots of natural light) that’s on the market for $315,000


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