Thoughts on Home Ownership - Winnetka and the North Shore IL

Real Estate Agent with Baird & Warner Real Estate

When I think back on the first home my parents bought in 1955 I’m impressed that they accomplished it. They had just emigrated here in 1951 and somehow managed to secure jobs and buy a house (shown above.) Did they even get a mortgage back then?


I can’t tell you the details of their purchase because I don’t know them (except for the price which was $15,000), but I know that this scenario still happens today. Yes, it’s harder, more time-consuming, and exponentially more expensive, but buying a home is still considered the American dream. And whether born here or a new resident, people strive mightily to have their own “patch of grass.”


Buying a home has changed in more ways than lending practices or prices. In general, modern real estate as it’s practiced today really got going after World War II but has been most documented since the 1960s. From 1966 to 1982 the home ownership rate rose slightly, peaked then dropped until 1986 when it started rising again in 1994.


From 1994 until the real estate crash of 2008 (the good old days) is the period when people understood that a home could be more than just a place to live - it could be an investment. Buy low, wait a few years, sell higher. And so it went for over a decade until something bad happened. The snake whipped around and bit its own tail.


Home Ownership


Slowly at first but then like a snowball home prices tumbled to unimaginable lows. Many who used their homes as cash cows or over-mortgaged themselves now faced short selling or foreclosure. Suddenly the American Dream tasted somewhat bitter.


Nationally, housing has been slowly recovering and is currently at the 2007 level. Locally, that’s not the case. North Shore housing saw an increase in sales in 2017, but since then sales have been steadily declining.


The North Shore, the city of Chicago, Cook County, and the state of Illinois have all seen population declines as residents flee high taxes and corruption. Property taxes have recently been reassessed with the majority of homeowners seeing higher assessments. This is akin to a boxer taking a gut punch - it hurts but we’ll deal with it. Not fatal or bout ending but many have decided to call it quits here.


Not everybody will own their own homes - many by choice and others by circumstance. But Buy a houseaside from owning a home, a place to call home needn’t always be owned. The same sense of self-worth, pride, and security can be found in a rental - after all, it’s still your home. With homelessness across the country at record levels, I hope we can all appreciate that we even have a place to live.


A home may not be the investment that it was a few decades ago, but a place to call your own will always be the gold standard. There are some very smart people who make the case that owning is not beneficial - but I'm not buying it. No pun intended.













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Margaret Goss is a full-time real estate agent since 1998 practicing in the North Shore communities of Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Northfield, Glenview, and Evanston.

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Margaret Goss - Winnetka and North Shore Real Estate Broker
Specializing in homes for sale in Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Northfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Northbrook, and Evanston.

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  1. Barbara Todaro 06/04/2019 04:03 AM
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Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

I always tell my clients to buy a home to live in and plan on keeping it for a long time. Do not use it as if it was a stock market portfolio... buy the home and if the market tanks you don't care because it is your home and you are not moving anyway...Endre

Jun 03, 2019 11:18 PM #1
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, Margaret Goss good post.... and the brief statement that's the key to this topic was: 

"...a place to call your own will always be the gold standard."

whether you own it or rent it, it's called home and must be respected as such.....

Jun 04, 2019 03:59 AM #2
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Margaret - a home of one's own is something that may be more difficult today than in the past but it remains a dream..a goal.  And for those fortunate to be able to participate a reality ---- truly a dream come true.  

Jun 04, 2019 08:30 AM #3
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Margaret Goss - Great story!  It makes me think back to my parents and my inlaws.  I am very familiar with the area because my husband has relatives there.  In fact, my inlaws came from Chicago and moved to Southern California in 1952. They lived with my husband's grandmother while their home was being built. It was less than $20,000 in 1953 and is now worth over $681k.

To me, all real estate is local. For instance, the inlaws had a successful business and built a home on a hill in a suburb of LA in 1961 for $55,000.  In 1960, Beverly Hills average price was about $65,000. Those homes are now going for $3 million plus.  The home in the suburb is going for about $984,000. A serious difference in price!

Jun 04, 2019 11:37 AM #4
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Can you believe the difference in the price of homes now, compared to when your parents purchased, Margaret?! You know, thing are relative, as is the housing market/economy/inflation, etc. but, just the thought of all you got for that price is mind-blowing! 

Kudos to your family for recognizing the importance of making the American Dream come true for them. Many of my favorite clients of all time are immigrants - it just warms my heart, seeing them so excited to begin a new chapter in their lives here. 

Jun 04, 2019 03:05 PM #5
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Debe Maxwell, CRS - it's great to help people achieve that dream and for some reason, it really resonates when the buyers are immigrants.

Jun 04, 2019 03:24 PM #6
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Well there are no guarantees in real estate ...or in Life Margaret Goss  and "it depends" working with flippers, investors, luxury and first time buyers there are all different reasons to buy....and enjoy.

Jun 05, 2019 02:24 AM #7
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Margaret Goss

Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate
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