The South Loop leads in building, but is that a good thing in this market?

The last time we counted, there were roughly 40 projects marketing new homes in the South Loop.

That’s a whole lotta building. The South Loop accounts for about 28 percent of new housing developed downtown since 1990, and will host about 23 percent of new homes (including rentals) announced in the city center during 2007-2008, according to housing analyst Appraisal Research Counselors. During the first quarter of 2007, about 47 percent of new-home sales occurred in the South Loop, which now has half of the unsold developer units downtown.

We don’t want to overwhelm you with numbers, but here’s another telling one. During the first quarter, only 22 percent of units in newly announced projects downtown were reserved or placed under contract, down from 44 percent during the first quarter of 2006. Add all those numbers up, and you realize that saying that the South Loop is competitive is a little like calling Sadr City a tough neighborhood.

We asked three sales agents for their take on the market for new construction in the South Loop.

“If you’re looking for short-term money, it’s not going to happen right now but there’s still sales going on in this [area] and resales are strong,” says Judy Walton, a sales agent with Wabash Properties, which is marketing the 15-story, 78-unit 1349 South Wabash.

“Like everyone says, all you have to do is look up to see cranes. But buyers just need to be more selective. You can’t be a novice and hit a homerun. Do your research and find your value,” says Brian Deines, who is selling homes at the 14-story, 176-unit 1555 Wabash.

“When I take a picture and look back in the ’70s and see what’s here today, that’s what makes me feel safe and secure,” says Sam Memeti, an agent with RE/MAX Team 2000, which is marketing the 19-story, 240-unit Vision on State.

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