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Real estate slump hits city budget

Continuing weakness in the real estate market means Evanston is likely to come up short on real estate transfer tax collections this fiscal year.

Transactions

City officials projected they’d raise $3.7 million from the tax when they adopted the budget in February, but tax collections through the end of July have totaled $1.176 million — nearly 25 percent short of the pace needed to reach that goal.

The transfer tax accounts for about 4 percent of the city’s general fund budget.

The number of properties sold in town each month has declined dramatically since the middle of last year. Last month 116 properties changed hands, compared to 174 in July 2007.

The average selling price, as calculated from transfer tax data, appears to have declined about 5.5 percent — based on months when no major commercial transactions occurred in the city.

Average price

The averages can show dramatic monthly swings when large commercial properties change hands.

That happened in January when the $101 million sale of the Park Evanston rental high-rise closed, and to a lesser extent last month when two office buildings in the Research Park area sold for a total of more than $19 million.

Only three single-family homes sold for more than $1 million last month:

  • 2520 Hurd Ave. sold for $1.49 million.
  • 741 Judson Ave. sold for $1.07 million.
  • 2441 Marcy Ave. sold for $1.06 million.

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