The sale price of homes in the Oak Park area were up sharply in 2014 compared to the prior year, and the recovering market has attracted the interest of a top Chicago real estate company.

Residential and commercial real estate company @Properties will be opening an office in Oak Park at the end of May, said Thad Wong, co-founder of the firm which has strong roots in city neighborhoods.

Wong said in a telephone interview that the company has considered opening an office in Oak Park “for a long time.” He said it will be the newest office in the company’s effort to expand into suburban Chicago.

@Properties will be located in a long vacant commercial space at 1005 South Blvd. It is part of the SoHo condominium project, an effort started, long delayed, and currently being completed as the real estate market has roller coasted.

Since 2009, @Properties has opened offices in Evanston, Lake Forest, Libertyville, Winnetka, Highland Park, Glenview, Barrington and Elmhurst. 

Wong said Oak Park real estate has been in recovery for the last three years, and there is a renewed interest in moving to Oak Park.

“Oak Park is a logical move for families in the city,” said Wong. 

The company aims to capture those same clients once they begin looking for a home in the suburbs.

He said @Properties has the largest share of the residential real estate market in the city of Chicago, and the company hopes to expand that to the suburbs.

The average sale price for a single-family home in Oak Park jumped 12 percent to $456,873 in 2014, according to an analysis by Jane McClelland, president of the Oak Park Area Association of Realtors and an owner of RE/MAX in the Village. Single family homes in River Forest increased 7 percent to $718,711 and 15 percent in Forest Park to $246,048. 

She said that Oak Park’s real estate market really started to recover in 2012, when average sale prices in all three communities began to flatten out or increase slightly.

While the area’s real estate has been in recovery, the numbers for sales of single-family homes are still far below prices seen during the height of the market in 2007, McClelland said. That year, the average sale price for a home was $525,871 in Oak Park, $918,405 in River Forest and $326,132 in Forest Park.

McClelland said another positive development is in the decline of distressed sales of homes in Oak Park which dropped to 9 percent in 2014 from 12 percent the prior year.

She said @Properties is the first large real estate company to move into Oak Park in several years. “No one was opening real estate offices, let’s face it, from 2008 to 2013,” she said.

“Competition is healthy,” she said of the news that @Properties is on their way to Oak Park. And with close to 500 members of the Oak Park Area Association of Realtors, @Properties will compete with boutique firms as well as established Realtors such as  RE/MAX and Baird & Warner.

Wong said that in addition to making a seamless transition from the city to the suburbs for clients, @Properties will offer better online marketing and exposure to those trying to sell.

He said many of the listings in Oak Park are high-priced and frequently don’t have the information customers need to make a fully informed decision.

“It’s like going into real estate 10 years ago, which surprised me because it’s such an educated market,” he said.


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