HIGHLAND PARK, IL — More homes sold last year in Highland Park than than at any time on record, with four homes selling for $3 million or more.

In December 2020, the median closing price of homes in Highland Park reached nearly $550,000, and up 17 percent year-on-year to its highest level in more than two years.

Homes sold faster last month than at any time since February 2018, according to Realtor.com data, spending an average of 79 days on the market.

According to the North Shore-Barrington Association of Realtors, more units were sold in Highland Park in 2020 than at any point since at least 1980.

A total of 599 residential units changed hands in Highland Park last year, up by more than 56 percent from the previous year, according to data from the association. The number of annual home sales in the city surpassed 500 in 1986 for the only time during the previous four decades where data is available.

In Highwood, the 19 sales that closed in 2020 was fewer than the city’s the average for the past decade.

Area realtors say buyers have been moving from Chicago — especially high-rises — to the north suburbs in search of more room and an increased sense of safety, according to North Shore-Barrington Association of Realtors CEO Jeff Lesky.

“They want to have space between themselves and their neighbors. They want to have space to build their home theater. They want to have space to have their home office. Stuff like that, which was not an issue, a year ago,” Lesky said.

As buyers and sellers shunned in-person visits, the pandemic accelerated ongoing trends toward online shopping for real estate, with livestreamed virtual tours and fully electronic document signing now commonplace.

“The necessity of doing the shopping by driving people around to 10, 12, 15 different places is long gone,” Lesky said. “But you can even conduct the financing process, conduct the signing of closing documents, everything else, and take ownership of the home — without having to go somewhere to do it.”

Lesky said a combination of high demand driven by low interest rates and a low supply of available homes has made for a highly competitive market across the North Shore.

“If you’re going to go out there and sell your home and it’s priced correctly, you’re going to get a number of offers,” he said. “You’re going to get a lot of action quickly.”

Most Expensive Homes Sold In 2020

Highland Park’s most expensive residential sales of the year was that of the 25-acre horse farm and mansion at 2000 Ridge Road.

The house hit the market with a $17.5 million price tag in 2013, after being owned by a tent-rental magnate for more than three decades. In July, a software CEO purchased it for $4.8 million.

The $4.8 million sale of a 25-acre property at 2000 Ridge Road was the most expensive of 2020 in Highland Park. (Realtor.com)

Its new owner, rather than applying for permits to subdivide the property for new development, has sought permission from the city to erect a wooden barn for entertaining guests and indicated plans to continue agricultural activities at the site.

The horse farm sold in July had been first listed for $17.5 million in May 2013. (Realtor.com)

The city’s second-priciest sale of 2020 was a 13,000-square-foot contemporary design just north of Moraine Park. It was was sold by the CEO of a Lake County manufacturing company to a trustcontrolled by a health care executive and a heavy metal musician.

The $4.5 million purchase of 30 Riparian Road in September was the priciest residential real estate transaction of 2020 in Highland Park. (Realtor.com)

Built in 2001, the lakefront mansion was purchased in June 2006 for $5.75 million and listed for nearly $7 million in August 2019. Three price cuts and more than a year later, it was sold for $4.5 million in September.

RELATED: CEO Loses $1.25 Million On Sale Of Highland Park Lakefront Estate

The third-priciest purchase of 2020 was September’s $3.75 million sale of 12 Cliff Road, a new construction four-bedroom built in 2016 on the site of the original Fort Sheridan pumping station at Highland Park’s northmost point.

After a half-decade on the market, a lakefront property at 12 Cliff Road sold in September for $3.75 million, becoming the Highland Park’s second most expensive sale of the year. (Realtor.com)

The 6,500-square-foot brick and stone home was first listed in September 2015 for nearly $5.3 million. Over the next five years, the price was reduced seven times before the home was purchased in by a trust that conceals the identity of its beneficiary.

The fourth home in Highland Park sold above the $3 million mark was a six-bedroom French Normandy-style home built in 2003 on a 1.33-acre parcel west of Sheridan Road at Rosewood Beach.

A 9,500-square-foot mansion overlooking a ravine at 143 Cary Ave. sold for $3 million in December. (Realtor.com)

The property was first listed in February 2016 with a $4.45 million price tag. An offer was accepted in October and it sold for $3 million in December.

RELATED: Most Expensive Home Sales Of 2019 In Highland Park, Highwood

Highwood’s most expensive home sale of the year was a 2003-built home along the Fort Sheridan parade ground. The four-bedroom, 2,680-square-foot house at 944 Leonard Wood West sold in November for $635,000.

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