Rough News Day for Chicago Real Estate

One of the the area’s most expensive pieces of Chicago real estate has been declared uninhabitable.
The Burr Ridge home, named Villa Taj, was flooded with millions of gallons of water after several pipes burst on the second floor.
Villa TajThe mansion, which was listed for $25 million in 2009, has never been lived in.
A real estate agent was showing the home to a potential buyer on March 5 when the water was discovered.
According to the Village, the heat was either off or not functioning, the pipes may have been spewing water for more than three weeks, and the estimated 6 million gallons of water found is enough to supply the entire city for days.
Construction on the 30,240-square-foot mansion, located at 6501 S. County Line Road in the western suburb, took four years to complete before its owner, dentist Husam Aldairi, decided to move his family to a warmer climate.
The hand-crafted estate features treasures from all over the world, including $2 million worth of imported Gold Jerusalem limestone and Italian marble flooring installed at $180 per square foot.
The home has six bedroom suites, 12 bathrooms, nine fireplaces, a 20-car heated garage and a 2,400-square-foot ballroom with 38-foot ceilings, just to name a few of its features.
The asking price for Villa Taj was dropped to $13 million last year.
Now it might take that much just to restore it.

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Another Chicago-area home has fallen victim to tragedy.
A Victorian home located in Evanston was destroyed in a three-alarm fire Wednesday night.
Evanston home after the fireThe century-old home, located at 1560 Oak Avenue in the north suburb, was vacant and undergoing an extensive rehab. It was being converted into a clock and stained glass museum.
Reportedly, most of the rehab work was complete and the museum was set to open later this year.
Now, the historic three-story home faces damages estimated at $800,000.
Luckily, the clocks and stained glass pieces were in an adjacent building that was not damaged.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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One more unfortunate real estate story, though this one isn’t limited to Chicago.

sad construction guyThe Commerce Department on Thursday released its February residential construction report to show that U.S. housing starts declined to the slowest pace in 27 years while building permits fell to a record low.

Here are the depressing February stats:

*New home construction starts fell 22.5 percent from January, the biggest decline since March of 1984.

*Construction of single-family homes decreased 11.8 percent below the revised January estimate, the lowest since March 2009.

*Multifamily home construction dropped 46 percent.

*Housing starts fell in all regions, but the Midwest led the way with a record-low 49 percent drop.

*Building permits, which predict future construction, fell 8.2 percent from January and 20.5 percent compared to February 2010.

Obviously, the housing recovery still has a ways to go.

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OK, rough news on the real estate front today. But, it could always be worse. Consider what homeowners in Japan are facing, and let’s count our lucky stars.