From hot to not: East Garfield Park

What our staff said about East Garfield Park in 2007:

The streets are still tough here, but the tide has started to turn in recent years, with residential development pushing west from the West Loop along Madison Street. Small developments, such as the six-unit Flats on Fulton and a 10-unit conversion at 2809 W Washington Blvd – swim alongside bigger fish, such as the 39-unit Flournoy Flats. These projects are gradually bringing new residents to a neighborhood that has suffered a host of urban ills.

…The average price of a detached house was $83,627 during the period from June 2001 through May 2002. That number jumped to $268,496 during the same period in 2006 and 2007 – a 243 percent increase. During that same five-year span, the average condo price rose to $207,591 from $123,150, a 69 percent increase.

Add to the mix the fact that East Garfield Park is relatively close to the Loop and the Eisenhower Expressway, a key artery for commuters to the western suburbs, and it appears that the neighborhood’s long-term housing values are poised for healthy appreciation. In the short term, though, anyone buying in East Garfield Park should be aware of the neighborhood’s serious safety issues.

Three years later, the median price of a single-family home listed in East Garfield Park is $179,000, and the median for a condo or townhome is $159,000. Real estate activity has been dismal in the neighborhood, both in terms of the number of homes sold and the prices for which they sold — just 42 condos and townhomes and 28 single-families have closed in the past year, at an overall median price of just $44,500. On top of that, Trulia shows more than 160 homes currently in foreclosure.

Of the three developments mentioned in the write-up, only the Flournoy Flats pop up in a report of recent sales and current listings. The shotgun-style condos of these new-construction three-flats in the 3000 block of West Flournoy St were priced from the $180s to $220s in January 2007. Today, three of these homes are on the market for no more than $49,000 apiece. Another five have changed hands in the past 12 months at prices ranging from $22,000 to $54,000.

There’s a lot of bluster and boredom behind YouTube comments, but I keep an eye on them nonetheless. Here’s what a few viewers have been saying about our East Garfield Park videos this year:

Garfield Park is DANGEROUS. Police do not enforce laws, especially what is deemed quality of life laws. Before promoting a neighborhood, you should focus on promoting getting city services to be better. Most cannot cope with the problems of living in such a violent neighborhood. It is unfair to lure them in without giving the full details of how difficult it will be to get the police to answer a 911 call.

It is far to dangerous for most people to live here. CPD does not enforce laws, especially the quality of life laws essential to making a neighborhod safe.

If you consider buying this house you should come out there on a summer night.

Gentrification destroys communities, period. Mixed income housing hasn’t really been a great solution (for the most part) either because it mostly means low income housing and rich people in this country want to ignore reality as much as possible. Rich whites in Chicago (like YoChicago) act as though the poor are bugs that need to be fumigated and it’s sick.

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