In Chicago’s residential market, the price is not Wright

Homes designed by fame architect Frank Lloyd Wright have been selling for less than comparable properties

Jan.January 21, 2020 11:00 AM
ART: Frank Lloyd Wright and (from top) 301 S. Kenilworth Ave., Elmhurst; 239 Franklin Street, Glencoe; and 350 Fairbank Road, Riverside (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Frank Lloyd Wright and (from top) 301 S. Kenilworth Ave., Elmhurst; 239 Franklin Street, Glencoe; and 350 Fairbank Road, Riverside (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

You would think that owning a home designed by perhaps the most famous American architect of all time would boost its value. But in Chicago’s residential real estate market, you would also be wrong.

Several recent sales of Wright homes in the Chicago area have been selling for less than comparable homes on the market, according to a Crain’s analysis. One such home, in Elmhurst, was relisted Jan. 10 for $850,000, about the same price the half-acre lot the house is sitting on is worth. The price tag is also 20 percent lower than the average price of comparable homes in the area, according to the report.

Another Wright home, in Glencoe, sold for 52 percent below the price of others in its range.

In July, The Real Deal reported on a Wright-designed school-turned-mansion that returned to the market at a significant price chop. Another Wright home in Glencoe, the Sherman Booth Cottage, even faced demolition last year by the new owner.

The architect has eight buildings on the World Heritage List, including Unity Temple in Oak Park and the Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago’s Hyde Park.

Brokers said some of the reasons include new owners who grow tired of the novelty of a Wright home, along with difficulty in finding a buyer for one of his unique creations. [Crain’s] — Jacqueline Flynn

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