There are a lot of great neighborhoods in Chicago where people want to live in new construction and builders are putting up small condo and rental projects to meet the demand.
So why build in Lincoln Park?
Most of these other areas have lower land prices which allows building more affordably priced units.
When you look at building a standard 3 or 6 unit building on a standard single or double lot, regardless of neighborhood, the buildings are very similar.
The size limit is determined by the zoning district, so allowances are the same accross neighborhoods. Generally builders want to build as much as is allowed in order to maximize returns. But if you look at total returns for condo sales, they vary substantially.
For example, a condo project for 3 unit building on a standard lot in NorthLincoln Square/Bowmanville might have total sales of about $1.7M.
A very similar 3 unit building In the East Village area might fetch $2M to $2.1M in total sales.
In Lincoln Park, for a similar building, the units might achieve total sales of close to $3M.
Now of course land prices are higher in the more expensive areas and construction costs will also be higher for the more expensive units because they need to have upgraded finishes, but still, the higher sales numbers far out weigh the extra costs, so margins are considerably higher for the more expensive neighborhoods.
Another consideration is that buyers in these Class A locations like Lincoln Park are more affluent and are less affected by economic factors like inflation, etc.
When they want to live somewhere they have the capital to buy or rent there regardless of market conditions.
If the real estate market experiences a glitch and values begin to drop, we see that Class A locations/ projects generally tend to hold their value best and are first to recover.
From my years serving as a Bank director and on the loan committee looking at many construction loans, I’ve seen first hand that higher end projects in the best locations always tend to weather market turbulence much better.