Chicago's North Mayfair is "Best Old-House Neighborhood"

North Mayfair Historic Bungalow DistrictBetty White isn't the only one showing us that being old and adorable can get you plenty of attention these days. Chicago's North Mayfair, an idyllic neighborhood on the Northwest side of Chicago that has tried its best to keep from being overrun by the looming developments pervading many of the city's communities, was recently dubbed one of the "51 Best Old House Neighborhoods: 2010" in the U.S. and Canada by This Old House magazine.

We think we know why...
The neighborhood, whose charming tree-lined streets and historic brick bungalows have attracted a mix of long-term residents and newer ones, is located about 11 miles northwest of the Loop. In addition to the cute bungalows and diversity of citizens, the magazine appreciated the neighborhood's "stubborn determination to maintain its historic character through the North Mayfair Improvement Association, founded in 1929," according to Keith Pandolfi and Danielle Blundell for This Old House.

The area submitted a request for historic status in 2004 to the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association (HCBA). An area of the neighborhood was deemed fit for the honor and after nearly two years, North Mayfair Historic Bungalow District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The neighborhood, which also includes the vibrant Gompers Park, is especially appealing for homeowners looking for a restoration project. "Property-tax freezes are available for those looking to restore older homes," the magazine notes. Specifically, homes granted historic status are eligible for the State of Illinois Property Tax Assessment Freeze "when completing major home renovations equal to at least 25 percent of the market value of the property," according to Dream Town, a Chicago-area real estate search engine.

According to Zillow, an online real estate information site with operations based in Seattle, homes in North Mayfair have a Zillow Home Value Index of $249,000 as of Jan. 31, 2010, which is down 11.9 percent from the same time last year. The site also shows that the median list price is $274,900, while the median sale price $310,000.

In 2009, the northwest suburb of Elgin, known for its Queen-Anne-style homes, won the honor in Illinois. The magazine interviewed a homeowner in the city, who said that the great thing about living in Elgin is that "You can buy a starter home, upgrade to a virtual mansion to raise your kids, then empty-nest it down to a bungalow when you retire."

Homes in Elgin have a Zillow Home Value Index of $157,400 as of Feb. 1, 2010, which reflects a decline of 11.0 percent from the same time in 2009.
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