What to Look for in a Hot Area

Chicago is an amazingly diverse city that continues to evolve. Every couple of years, new areas pop up out of nowhere. This is incredibly important from a real estate perspective. If you wanted to strike it rich as an investor, then you would have bought a walkup in Wicker Park 10 or 15 years ago. Recently, Ukrainian Village was named “The hottest neighborhood in the U.S.” – who saw that coming 5, 10, or 15 years ago? In order to keep up with our City, what should you look for in the next “hot neighborhood?” Here are some tips!

The Obama Library

The presidential library will give instant credit to either Washington Park or Jackson Park. A multi-million dollar investment like the library means the surrounding real estate prices are about to get more expensive.


The  construction of an additional CTA stops and parks project can transform neighborhoods – just look at the 606 Trail! Infrastructure makes real estate more valuable  access to transportation is an important “must have” for most buyers. Outdoor space is appealing for singles looking to party and parents playing with their kids. Infrastructure brings people. People bring stuff…like restaurants, coffee shops, and entertainment venues. So, the next time you read something about plans for a new CTA stop in “Redeye”, pay attention.

Follow the Chefs

Up and coming chefs tend to start restaurants where real estate is cheap. They don’t want to put tons of money in an expensive neighborhood, because many restaurants fail in the first couple of years. In order to bypass costs, they go to cheaper, cooler areas. The West Loop is a perfect example – it wasn’t until fairly recently when it became known as “Restaurant Row,” which consequently made real estate prices go up.

Park it

Now, I realize I mentioned this before – parks can stand on their own though. Parks are a hidden gem of Chicago. If you venture north of the City, you will find plenty of them. Parks provide free, open space to exercise, walk your dog, or just for leisure. It’s a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Newcomers flock to neighborhoods like Ravenswood and Humboldt Park – not only for its notable parks and trails, but also for its low-price housing. It’s no surprise these neighborhoods are on the up and up.

Company Investments

The Loop is the Chicago business epicenter. However, look for other areas that companies start to buy real estate. Amazon recently purchased space around Goose Island – while this is still on the edge of Lincoln Park and Old Town area, it’s sort of a dead zone. Any homes nearby have a good chance at increased value.

These are just a few suggestions to look out for when buying real estate property. Granted, investing in an “up and coming area” doesn’t always pay dividends – sometimes it never pans out. If you’re looking for a safer investment, then stick to areas like Lincoln Park or Old Town. Not every area will pan out like Bucktown or Wicker Park.

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