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Well many of you may have seen this already, since it was published earlier this year as I recall, but I thought it would be interesting to revisit. An article on CNN's website posted the "hottest zip codes" in top metro areas according to increases in median home prices over the 5 years ending in the 4th quarter of 2004. Overall, increases in Chicago real estate prices are modest compared to increases in LA, NYC, DC, and Boston. Regardless of the downside, the upside is that Chicago remains relatively affordable for home owners.

(see http://money.cnn.com/pf/features/lists/topzipcodes/)

Why is this?

I pasted the zip codes with the highest increases in Chicagoland below. The greatest growth rates appear to be in the southwest side by Midway (60632,38,29). Any ideas about why this area tops the list?

I was taken aback by the median home price for 60640 which is Uptown/Edgewater.

Chicago overall: 254,000 49.60% 8.30%

Chicago IL 60632 205,000 91.20% 13.80%
Chicago IL 60638 237,000 90.90% 15.30%
Chicago IL 60629 195,000 89.90% 16.70%
Chicago IL 60652 180,000 84.60% 16.00%
Chicago IL 60639 265,000 84.10% 11.20%
Chicago IL 60630 318,000 83.30% 12.20%
Chicago IL 60634 300,000 83.20% 12.50%
Chicago IL 60640 511,000 82.20% 12.50%
Oak Park IL 60302 450,000 80.50% 8.80%
Chicago IL 60641 320,000 79.80% 11.10%
 

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C.B.P.
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The areas around Midway, especially Clearing and Garfield Ridge are wonderful and comfortable areas to live and great places for raising a family. I grew up in this Clearing. It had become even more popular in the last decade or so since the Orange Line was opened, making access to Downtown and the rest of the city very convenient. These are also popular city employee neighborhoods because of the residency requirements. Every other house is either a cop, firefighter or streets and san guy's house. Because of this there is a lot of clout as far as aldermanic issues are concerned. You'll be hard pressed to find a pot-hole here, and if you do, check again tomorrow and it'll be filled. It's as far as you can get from the city without actually being out of the city. And you still have all the conveniences of living in the city.
 

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The other reason the Midway growth increase is so dramatic is that it indicates how undervalued the homes there were relative to the rest of the city. The average value is still very low compared to other parts of the city, and if the average price has almost doubled in the past 5 years, that means you could have bought a single-family home for just over $100 there 5 years ago. That's insanely low.

As for the 60640 zip code, there are several things that could explain the $511,000 median there.

1. More so than many other areas of the north side, there are a lot of large single-family homes in this area, especially in the Lakewood/Balmoral district north of Foster (this is where Judge Lefkow lived and her giant Victorian house is typical of what's in that area).

2. There are many 2-flat and 3-flat buildings in this area too. Many are owned by one person who rents out the other units. A 2-flat greystone in this area goes for $500K easily, and if there's only one owner, those are probably being counted in the median sales figures.
 
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