Hot List: All Eyes Are on These Communities in 2024

Originally posted by atproperties - athome

Certain Chicago neighborhoods and towns need no introduction…think Lincoln Park, Hyde Park, Wrigleyville, Naperville, Oak Park, Evanston, etc. There’s a reason these communities consistently top homebuyers’ wish lists, but the great thing about Chicago is that there are dozens upon dozens of appealing city neighborhoods and just as many pleasing suburbs.

Furthermore, these places are living, breathing “beings” that evolve over time and are constantly being discovered and rediscovered. Over the past couple of years, local market dynamics have shifted the spotlight onto some communities that aren’t as well known, either among longtime Chicagoans or newcomers. Higher housing costs, historically low inventory, hybrid work, a desire for more space and other factors have all contributed to growing interest in neighborhoods and towns where buyers simply get more for their money. Sometimes these communities are adjacent to “the usual suspects,” and sometimes they offer similar qualities but in a different location altogether (and sometimes, as you’ll see below, in a different state).

So, if you’re on the hunt for a home right now, and you’re feeling the need to expand your search parameters, fear not – Chicagoland has plenty of amazing options. Within the city limits, several neighborhoods are emerging as trendy yet affordable hotspots, while the ‘burbs are luring buyers with value, amenities and great transit options.

Read on for five emerging city neighborhoods and suburban towns to keep on your radar.

Image credit: Block Club Chicago

Hermosa

While being Walt Disney’s birthplace put Hermosa on the map, its cultural scene, restaurants, and proximity to hotspots like Wicker Park and Logan Square have ensured this neighborhood continues to grow. If you’re house-hunting in Hermosa, though, you have to act fast; homes are flying off the market in 16 days on average.

With a name that translates to ‘beautiful’ in Spanish, Hermosa is also home to plenty of green spaces, trails and 10 neighborhood parks. Foodies will enjoy exploring Hermosa’s diverse restaurant scene, which includes stops for tacos at Tacotlan, Venezuelan fare at Rice Arepa, Cambodian-inspired sandwiches at Hermosa, and ciders at Right Bee Cider, one of Chicago’s only cideries.

Mount Prospect

Located just 20 miles northwest of Chicago, Mount Prospect is the perfect retreat for people who are searching for low-key suburban life but don’t want to give up the city buzz entirely. Home prices have increased in the past three years by over 25%, while the town has seen a sharp decline in inventory. Despite the tight market, Mount Prospect is gaining favor as a more affordable alternative to Glenview and Park Ridge.

With a vibrant downtown, plenty of shops and restaurants, and easy access to the city, Mount Prospect is suburban living with an urban twist. It’s also a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. With 400 acres of parks and recreation facilities plus an outdoor wave pool, golf courses, skating rinks, tennis courts, and a sled hill, it’s easy to stay active year-round.

Morton Grove

With a tagline of “Incredibly Close, Amazingly Open,” Morton Grove is just 17 miles from downtown Chicago, offering easy access to the Metra for commutes to the city, and proximity to O’Hare International Airport for trips out of town.

Amazingly Open” refers not only to Morton Grove’s reputation as a very welcoming place, but also to the fact that 20% of the town’s land falls in the Cook County Forest Preserve District. That means residents can take advantage of tons of biking and hiking trails, golf, and parks.

Another plus: Morton Grove’s diverse food scene, where locals and visitors can snag anything from Korean BBQ to authentic Italian, Afghan, Filipino, Thai, and more.

Like many Chicagoland communities, Morton Grove has seen a dramatic tightening of for-sale inventory since 2020, with the number of homes on the market at any given time down by over 50%. New-construction condos and townhomes are clustered near the town’s Metra tracks, while neat bungalows, ranches and two-story homes fill the side streets. You’ll also find quite a few larger homes that have been built in the past 20 years. Single-family home prices range from the mid-$300,000s to over $1 million.

Bronzeville

During the Great Migration, this South Side neighborhood became one of the main cultural hubs not only in Chicago but in the U.S. Famed African American artists, writers and musicians like Gwendolyn Brooks and Louis Armstrong helped put Bronzeville on the map, and the neighborhood’s wide boulevards and stately greystones created an impressive feel that remains today.

In recent years, Bronzeville has seen a big increase in new construction as well as historic renovations. Many streets have row after row of new single-family homes and three-flat condo buildings, and buyers are taking advantage of prices for luxury homes that are about half of what comparable structures on the North Side, equidistant from the Loop, would cost. Now major commercial development projects are also underway.

Bronzeville’s cultural heritage lives on through institutions like the South Side Community Art Center, which hosts exhibitions by local artists, and the impressive dining scene, including Cleo’s Southern Cuisine, which recently received a rare perfect rating from famous TikTok food critic Keith Lee. Take a stroll down the Bronzeville Walk of Fame on South King Drive, between 26th and 35th Streets, to learn about Bronzeville’s many celebrated residents.

Highland, Indiana

Currently ranked as one of the most in-demand zip codes in the nation, Highland, Indiana draws residents and visitors with proximity to Chicago, at just 31 miles southeast of the city. The town also offers an abundance of green spaces and a variety of transit options, including the South Shore Line, which recently launched an expansion to better serve Highland and surrounding communities. Another plus: Indiana’s tax burden is 13% less than neighboring Illinois’, yielding a lower cost of living.

Like much of Northwest Indiana, Highland has seen an influx of buyers from Illinois in recent years, driving up home prices by over 20%. Buyers have a variety of housing styles to choose from, including bungalows, ranches, condos and a number of larger, newer homes.

With a population of 23,000, Highland is home to several popular parks, including Wicker Memorial Park which was famously visited by President Coolidge and President Obama. Highland also hosts tons of community events, especially in warmer months. The Midweek Music & Market, Car Cruise, Fourth of July Festival, and Last Call for Summer Festival are all summertime go-tos, as is the Festival of the Trail in October.

Ready to start exploring any of the spots on the list? with an @properties Christie’s International Real Estate agent one of our Chicagoland or Northwest Indiana offices.

Sources: BrokerMetrics/MRED, Chi-Hermosa; BrokerMetrics/MRED, Mount Prospect; BrokerMetrics/MRED, 60653; BrokerMetrics/MRED, Morton Grove;  BrokerMetrics/GNIAR, Highland

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