“Hot Neighborhoods on the Rise,” shouted the headline on the first page of the Chicago Tribune Business section on Sunday, February 7. I don’t usually read the Business section, but the subtitle included the words, “Humboldt Park” and given all the concern about gentrification in the neighborhood, I had to read on. Unfortunately, the article confirmed the concern.
Becky Yerak’s story (which you can read HERE) focused on three Chicago neighborhoods that have seen a significant increase in prices. First on the list: Humboldt Park, where the median price of a single-family home increased 62% and condos increased 184%–in 1 year!
Why are houses selling like hot cakes on Fat Tuesday? According to Mario Greco, a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group quoted in the article, it’s “the 606”–the elevated train line that the city turned into a bike/running path/elevated park along Bloomingdale Ave. “The 606 is making people not only open to [living south of Armitage Avenue and west of Kedzie Avenue], but looking to live along the trail because properties are still a perceive value–and most people think they’ll go up faster because of the 606,” he said.
But families aren’t the only ones looking at houses along the 606. Prices are increasing because investors have been “flipping”–buying low-priced homes, fixing them up (a little) and then selling them for a profit. Humboldt Park is no longer a neighborhood or a place to settle down and raise a family. It’s not about people. Now the neighborhood has been reduced to a “perceived value” and a place to make profit.
Humboldt Park is becoming a hot neighborhood. Unfortunately, I know a lot of people who are likely to get burned.