Chicago is seeing an increasing interest in luxury condominiums throughout the city.
Despite their higher price and often smaller square footage, Chicagoans are gravitating toward these properties for their unique designs, layouts and finishes, as well as their prime locations and high-end amenities.
Particularly popular are small- and mid-size boutique condos – ones with three to five bedrooms and around 1,800 to 2,100 square feet. Though their price per square foot may be more extravagant than most traditional condos in the area, they come with an air of luxury and elegance those other properties just can’t offer.
The Luxury Difference
When compared to traditional ones, luxury condos usually differ in three main areas: design/layout, finishing, and amenities.
Design-wise, luxury condos often offer a non-standard layout that really speaks to Chicago buyers. They might have intermingled indoor and outdoor spaces, integrating the living area with the balcony, or they could have unique corridors or bottom-floor bedrooms that offer added privacy. Luxury condos also typically come with slightly higher square footage – one of the many the reasons they fetch a higher price tag.
The finishes in Chicago’s luxury condos also set them apart from traditional properties in the area. Timeless, classic and simple, they utilize top-notch materials that enhance the space’s aesthetic, while also standing the test of time. Many luxury condos also utilize innovative or sustainable finishes, which improve the property’s value and branding, as well as cut down on the resident’s energy bills and environmental footprint.
Amenities are what really set luxury condos apart for most buyers. Many units come with high-tech smart home technology, extra-large master bedrooms, rain showers and balconies with a view. The buildings they’re housed in often have serious perks, too – things like wine rooms, 24-hour security, fitness centers, rooftop pools and indoor or even heated parking.
Who Buys Chicago’s Luxury Condos?
Luxury condos are particularly popular with buyers moving back into the city after leaving a more suburban living arrangement. They’re often used to more space, have multiple vehicles and just want to enjoy the city life with more perks than traditional condos offer.
Many couples purchase luxury condos in hopes of raising their kids there – especially if the condo building is located in a great school district, and young, tech professionals also gravitate toward more expensive condos, due to the status and amenities they have to offer.
Most luxury condo buyers are looking for a long-term, permanent living space. They want more room and somewhere they can put down roots for the long haul. (This is likely why the three-bedroom, 2,000-square foot + luxe condo is generally the most popular!)
Where to Look for Luxury Condos in Chicago
There are two types of luxury condos Chicagoans typically look for: lakefront ones with city views and non-lakefront condos with quieter, more private surroundings.
Popular areas for lakefront luxury condos are the West Loop, Gold Coast, Old Town and Lincoln Park neighborhoods. Condo buildings in these areas typically have “blended price” options, meaning they’re housed in the same community as non-luxury units, but demand a higher price point because of their better views or more square footage.
The West Loop is Chicago’s top spot for lakefront condos, offering great views of the city and the lake below. For many, city views are more desirable. (Lakes look great in the sunlight, but at night they’re not visible. The city’s alive 24/7 no matter what time of day it is.)
Lakefront condos have the highest price points of all luxury condo options and can run anywhere from $700 to $800 per square foot. The average lakefront three-bedroom, 2,000-square foot condo starts at $1.2 million.
Non-lakefront condos are popular in River North, Bucktown/Wicker Park and North Center, which includes Roscoe Village and Lincoln Square. These condos are often situated in smaller buildings that leverage their neighborhood’s unique branding, personality and vibe.
Chicago’s non-lakefront condos come with top-notch amenities and amazing rooftops, and though they lack city or lakeside views, they don’t typically come cheap. Generally, they run between $400 and $500 per square foot and about $750K to $900K for a three-bedroom, 2,000-square foot home. In River North, prices are even higher. Units in this in-demand neighborhood are often just below those of the West Loop – the city’s hands-down most expensive area for luxury properties.
Going Luxe in Chicago
Chicago’s luxury condo market has the edge over other big cities. With larger properties than typically seen in New York, San Francisco or other major metros, Chicago’s luxury condos offer residents big city living with more space and more amenities. Plus, spread throughout the city’s unique neighborhoods and locations, they also allow buyers to pick and choose the absolute best spot for their preferences, budget and lifestyle. It’s this flexibility and versatility that has luxury condo purchases on the rise in Chicago.