National market report
The Chicago City Council approved the sale of six vacant city-owned lots in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on the city’s west side for $1 apiece. Developer L&MC Investments plans to build affordable housing on the lots, which were appraised for a collective value of $316,000. A City Council statement said the units will be available to households earning up to 120 percent of area median income — approximately $88,300 for a family of four — and construction is slated to start in spring. Each two-story, 1,840-square-foot home will feature three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, and will be priced at $199,000, the statement said. The sale’s approval coincided with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s announcement of a five-year plan that sets aside $1.33 billion for the construction, rehabilitation and preservation of more than 40,000 residential units.
The number of million-dollar homes sold in California rose to its highest level in six years in 2013. A report published by real estate data firm DataQuick found a total 39,174 homes sold for $1 million or more last year, up 45 percent from 26,993 in 2012. That’s the highest number recorded in The Golden State since 2007, when 42,506 million-dollar homes sold. The most expensive 2013 sale was a 9.5-acre Malibu estate that sold for $74.5 million and included a 15,000-square-foot main house, two guest houses, a gym and swimming pool. The upward trend in luxury home sales points to a recovering economy, as well as to the continued rise of home prices. However, the boom also highlights the growing disparity between California’s rich and poor. The Los Angeles Times reported that while luxury housing recorded highs, statewide sales slipped 0.6 percent from 2012. And sales of new and resale houses and condos in the state in December dropped 12.1 percent from December 2012. Of the 8.8 million houses in California, 270,591 are valued at more than $1 million, DataQuick said.
The Georgetown Business Improvement District, a group of property owners and merchants, released details of its Georgetown 2028 Action Plan, which outlines steps the group considers necessary for the preservation and renovation of the neighborhood. The plan contains 75 action items, as well as artists’ renderings of the improved neighborhood. Among these items are major transit initiatives, including the introduction of a new Metro station, a streetcar service and even a gondola aerial lift that would carry passengers over the Potomac, designed to increase transportation options between Georgetown and greater Washington. The BID already took the first steps to enact the plan, and is finalizing a partnership with the National Park Service to raise funds for a new canal barge and education program. The BID also requested installation of a floating dock on the canal by spring for use with canoes and kayaks.
University of Texas researchers found that the Dallas Area Rapid Transit commuter rail system has generated almost $4 billion in real estate projects near its stations. This includes $751 million in multi-family residences, $393 million in retail projects and $224 million in office projects. The Dallas light-rail system is the longest in the country, and between 2002 and 2013 expanded to 61 stations from 34 stations. One of the biggest developments is a 1.5 million-square-foot State Farm Insurance campus that will house thousands of workers near the Bush Turnpike Station, the Dallas News reported. The mixed-use development will include a hotel, medical facility and 92,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space. In January, DART kicked off construction of its last 2.6 mile extension, which will extend the system to 93 miles.
Whitney Houston’s 12,600-square-foot Morris County, N.J., mansion has returned to the market at $1.5 million, 60 percent of its original asking price. The singer, who died in 2012, listed the five-bedroom house at $2.5 million in 2009.
Actress Scarlett Johansson dropped $2.2 million on a 3,500-square-foot Hamptons beach house — 20 percent less than the original asking price. The house features four bedrooms, including a master bedroom with a fireplace and balcony, four-and-a-half bathrooms and a swimming pool.
San Fernando Valley
TV personality Khloe Kardashian sold her $5.49 million home to “Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco. Kardashian and soon-to-be ex-husband Lamar Odom bought the 8,400-square-foot house for $3.95 million in 2009. It sold just weeks after going on the market on Jan. 10.