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Report: Northwest side homeowners most ‘equity rich’ in city

Meanwhile many South Side homeowners are still seriously underwater on their mortgages

When buying a home, one of the most important variables is location. As the old real estate broker mantra suggests, it’s all about location, location, location. According to a new report from Crain’s Chicago Business which highlights data from Attom Data Solutions, those who bought in northwest side neighborhoods after the recession are some of the most “equity rich” in Chicago. But while these buyers have been rewarded for their timing, many more homeowners are still struggling with underwater mortgages, Crain’s suggests.

The city’s slow housing recovery since the Great Recession started nearly ten years ago can be illustrated by the fact that Chicago homeowners on both ends of the equity spectrum aren’t doing as well as those in other metro areas. According to veteran real estate reporter Dennis Rodkin, owners who are considered equity rich—those whose equity stake in their houses are around 50 percent or higher—make up only 15 percent of Chicago area homeowners. Meanwhile, over 17 percent of Chicago area homeowners are “seriously underwater,” owing at least 25 percent more than the current market value of their home, the report indicates.

Both of these figures are troubling, the report suggests, especially when considering how Chicago compares to every other major metro. In Chicago, the number of equity-rich homeowners is much lower and those who own seriously underwater mortgages is much higher compared to other major US cities, Rodkin details. According to the figures from Attom Data, no Chicago area zip makes their list of the 100 most equity-rich areas.

However, the silver lining runs up Milwaukee Avenue through neighborhoods like Logan Square, Avondale, and Old Irving Park. According to the report, four of the five zip codes with the highest percentage of equity-rich homeowners are on the city’s northwest side. These zips include 60647 (Logan Square), 60618 (Avondale), 60641 (Old Irving Park), and 60630 (Mayfair and Jefferson Park).

While these zips around the hot northwest side continue to fare well in terms of equity wealth and demand, Rodkin highlights the fact that two dozen Chicago-area zip codes fall seriously underwater bucket. All but one of these zip codes are around the city’s South Side and southern suburbs.

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