The “Our View” editorial [Viewpoints, Nov. 29] was surprising in tone and content. Why? The simple answer is that they never asked a member of the Oak Park Area Association of REALTORS®! Every day we bring buyers and sellers together by obtaining the facts about condominiums: the upgrades, the building maintenance, the facts about budgets, reserves and governance (required by law), providing our clients with the most up-to-date facts about the market.
It’s not difficult to understand why we are questioning our friends at Wednesday Journal about how misleading the editorial “The condo bust” is. The facts about the condominium market really are very clear. According to Midwest Real Estate Data, (MRED, our area’s Multiple Listing Service), in the past two years, condominiums accounted for over 40 percent of the closed real estate transactions in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park. That’s over 1,050 closed sales of condominiums. In the same period, single family homes accounted for just over 1,500 sales.
Condominiums are an affordable and highly sought-after housing option for seniors and millennials, first-time buyers, single parents, families, couples and the increasing number of downsizing boomers. With sale prices ranging from luxury new construction units priced from $600,000 to $800,000, to the shrinking group of REOs in the $30,000-$50,000 range; there are condos available for every type of buyer at every price point who see Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park as three great destination communities in which to make their home.
Condo units are now more attractive than ever since many condo owners are updating kitchens, baths and installing laundry facilities in their units. At many price points, nicely finished units in locations close to shopping and transportation have seen a highly competitive market. Worries about “100-year-old structures” are totally unfounded as most condo associations have professional managers who work with condo boards to maintain cash reserves and raise resources needed to keep their properties sound.
Since 2014, the median sales price of area condos has risen from just under $140,000 to $180,000 while average market times have dropped from about 140 days to under 80 days (source: MRED). In addition, with the post-recession banking and financing laws in place, lenders have no problems providing mortgages for qualified buyers purchasing well managed, financially secure properties.
So 40% of area housing sales are condos, units are getting updated, prices are up, market time down, buyers can get mortgages, and buildings are being maintained by professionals. How did Wednesday Journal miss all these facts?
They should have asked any one of the 500 local real estate professionals who are members of the Oak Park Area Association of REALTORS®. We’re here to share our knowledge, expertise and experience to serve the public.
Board of directors
Oak Park Area Association of REALTORS®