Glut check: How’s the South Loop’s three-bedroom market?

Museum Park, South Loop, Chicago

One of the trends Appraisal Research Counselors has included in every quarterly market report over the past year or two involves the general lack of demand for new-construction three-bedroom condos in the downtown area. “With this product type targeting the trade-up or trade-down (empty nester) buyer, this buyer generally must sell an existing residence in order to make a new purchase,” the report says. “Thus, this buyer has been particularly impacted by the problems in the housing market.”

More than 800 homes of any age, size, and style have sold in the South Loop over the past 12 months. By my count, about 50 have been new three-bedrooms, which doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that the area is still loaded with these kinds of units. Redfin shows 114 three-bedrooms still for sale in the neighborhood’s newest buildings; 72 of those are priced above $1 million, and 79 have been on the market for at least two years.

More than half of the year’s three-bedroom sales were in the two One Museum Park towers, which have multiple three-bedroom tiers. Almost all the rest were inside the other new Museum Park buildings: 1400 Museum Park, 1600 Museum Park, and Museum Park Place South. Marquee had a couple, The Columbian had a couple, and 1720 South Michigan and Prairie District Lofts had one each, as well.

The condos sold anywhere from the $330s to exactly $2 million, with the median price right at $1 million and an average price per square foot just under $500. Although several homes sold at major discounts (most notably at One Museum Park, where 10 units sold for 20 to 36 percent below original list prices), sale prices on average were just 5 percent below original list prices.

Relatively speaking, a lot of buyers are still in the process of buying new three-bedrooms: Redfin shows 27 units under contract at One Museum Park West, two at One Museum Park, and one at 1400 Museum Park. All but four of the units are priced above $1 million, and all but one has been on the market for at least four and a half years, which makes me wonder how many of these are pre-construction purchases that still have not closed.

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