Spring 2013 Downtown Chicago Luxury Apartment Update

March 15, 2013 | By Aaron Galvin
Reading Time: 3 Minutes

We’ve sprung our clocks forward and that means spring leasing season is in full swing. Here’s our take on the downtown Chicago apartment market for spring 2013.

Market Pricing and Concessions

March is a transitional month. People who thought their move date was far off in January and February, realize their May, June, July lease start date is just around the corner.  This is the month when our search traffic really starts to pick up. Seasonality is a big factor for searching for apartments in downtown Chicago.

Pricing never dropped in the winter months this year like it has in the past. Concessions are limited due to lack of inventory. Pricing in March is the best you’re going to see. Pricing is likely to go up by the end of this month for the summer season.

One of the better deals right now can be found at Grand Plaza Chicago. They are offering great pricing on their 850 square foot one bedrooms with washer/dryer in unit – starting at just over $2000.

New Buildings Coming Online 

After much anticipation, two brand new buildings have opened their doors to residents. Coast at Lakeshore East is offering one month free during their initial lease up and has seen tremendous reception for their luxury downtown Chicago apartments. According to Coast at Lakeshore East leasing manager, Cory Owak, the property has already leased 57 units in just over three weeks. Owak attributes this success in large part due to an incredible location on the lake, dramatic views and high end finishes such as hardwood floors and highly upgraded baths. She also thinks being first to market at this time of year is very helpful.   Coast is the early shining star of the newest downtown Chicago apartment buildings.

On the other side of downtown, on the border of Kinzie Station and the West Loop, K2 started leasing at the beginning of this month. Their building looks beautiful and the apartments are state of the art. Their conquering new frontier with an entrance on Halsted Street. Their upgraded apartments offer a nice change to those looking to live close to the Loop and train stations.  When the amenities are finished, the walk-way to Jewel complete and the gray skies clear, this building will be hot.

Older Buildings Refreshing

Apartment buildings several years old have taken a cue from the new properties and are now installing hardwood floors and renovating their kitchens and baths to be on par in style and finish. Chestnut Tower recently updated their units with high-end finishes. Because these properties are slightly older, you can get a great value for a large apartment in a prime location with renovated units.

Who Are the Clients

A lot of our clients are making the move from the suburbs. With corporations bringing their headquarters downtown, we are seeing people who lived and worked in the suburbs moving downtown to be closer to the office. They are downsizing from slightly larger homes, but the trade-off is the city at their fingertips.

Desired Price Ranges and Apartment Sizes

In the past, we’ve rented two bedroom units to young professional couples willing to pay a little more for the extra space. Now with two bedrooms starting around $3200 in the newest buildings, those couples are downsizing and looking for one bedrooms and one plus dens. We’ve always thought downtown Chicago apartment buildings could use more one plus den floor plans.

The high price of two bedroom apartments specifically is contributing to the surge in sales of two bedroom condos in downtown Chicago. Reason being, monthly mortgage, taxes and assessments for a two bedroom condo cost much less than you pay to rent a two bedroom apartment per month.

The most common inquiry we are receiving are clients looking for a one bedroom apartment for $2000. While some of the more established buildings can get close to that price on their lower floor, non-renovated units, any upgraded apartment in downtown Chicago is closer to $2200-$2500 after factoring in utilities and parking.  Some of our clients are willing to bump up their price range to get an apartment in the brand new buildings in River North or on the Lake. Or they’re sticking to their budgets and settling on the fringes of the downtown neighborhoods with buildings in Kinzie Station and the South Loop.

While it’s hard to believe that $2000 can’t get you a beautiful brand new apartment in downtown Chicago, the market speaks otherwise.

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