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$22,000 a Month for an Apartment?

By Joe Heath | March 7, 2012

In many cities across the country, the toll taken on real estate over the past several years has actually boosted the apartment market considerably. Despite mortgage rates at an all-time low, securing a mortgage loan has become increasingly difficult, especially for young and first-time homebuyers, as one recent report estimated the average down payment to now be at a staggering 34% the purchase price of a home.

© Andy Dean -

Today, these would-be homebuyers are instead opting to stay put for another 2-3 years, or in some cases, even upgrading to a better apartment, now that they’ve gained some valuable work experience and are starting to climb the seemingly endless corporate ladder. However, despite the troubled economy and the increased demand for apartments in major metropolises like Chicago, I was still able to find at least one property that, even in today’s red hot rental market, may still be sitting vacant this time next year.

I know what you’re probably thinking. What could possibly be wrong with a property that would allow it to sit on the market for a whole year? With a decent apartment in Chicago becoming more and more difficult to find, one would think a place would almost have to be condemned for someone not to take it, right? Does it have holes in the roof or mold in the bathrooms? Nope. Is it located in an unsafe neighborhood with street violence and various other unpleasant living conditions occuring? No, not at all!

In fact, quite the opposite; the apartment residence I’m referring to has 6,400 square feet of breathtaking panoramic views of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan, 16-foot ceilings, 3 different fireplaces, and enough bathrooms for everyone in a medium-sized family to have his own. Four parking spaces are included in the rental cost at this unit and the chef’s kitchen is open enough to host even the largest of dinner parties. In addition, this immaculate, luxurious apartment residence is even located in what’s arguably Chicago’s grandest new high-rise residential building. So... are you finally ready to see it?

Well, here you go: The penthouse at 401 North Wabash in Chicago, also known as Trump International Hotel & Tower, came onto the real estate market 208 days ago and is still patiently waiting for its next exclusive, well-to-do tenant. The photos accurately tell the story: it’s spacious and elegant, has enough space for just about anyone wanting to enjoy city life in Chicago, the luxury finishes are enough to impress anyone with a pulse, and the building amenities speak for themselves. The problem: the rent is $22,000 a month! Not quite a living budget that’s attached to your everyday apartment dweller, I’d say.

401 North Wabash #88a - yours for just $22,000 a month

To date, 401 North Wabash #88a remains the most expensive rental on Chicago’s market, with three other properties in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood listed between $15,000 and $20,000. And not surprisingly, the average number of days on the market for those 3 properties is 176 days, with the longest vacancy duration sitting at 336 days.

Of course in every major city, there’s always going to be luxury homebuyers and renters looking for the best condominium residences money can buy; professionals who can seemingly afford just about anything you could ever want. But even when times are good for one specific sector in real estate, Chicago rentals in this case, just remember it’s never going to be easy to close that high-end deal you so desperately crave without hard-work, strong dedication, and some top-notch marketing strategies up your sleeve.

Joe Heath is a graduate of Indiana University and possesses a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from Drexel University. After working in the market research sector and authoring published Market Snapshots for Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, Joe now works as a Web Marketing Specialist and co-owns Real Estate Web Creation with his partner, Ted Guarnero, a 25+ year real estate veteran.

Joe Heath is a Digital Marketing Specialist with Real Estate Web Creation — a boutique agency that offers affordable and effective SEO and website development services to real estate agents, brokers, home builders, and developers.
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