Chicago is considered a high momentum cyclical market. Similar to other HNWI (high net-worth individual) markets in America like San Francisco. Which means it’s real estate market trend mimics the peaks and valleys of a roller coaster ride. Beyond lifestyle and fun, Chicago offers convenient travel to anywhere in the world. And when it comes to intellectual capital in the form of the tall building, Chicago minds are at the top of the pyramid.

If shit hits the fan, which would you rather own? A quality asset in a rock-solid and easily accessible location? Or a paper asset that could even go to zero?

Learn why Chicago luxury real estate is a worthy place to store your wealth.

There’s at least four reasons that favor downtown Chicago real estate as a fit for your portfolio. But first, let’s quickly review our latest insider real estate charts.



Notice in the chart above, that as of this writing, Chicago has not yet entered its next wealth phase. In other words, as of August 2014, this real estate wealth indicator (green shaded area) has not yet triggered.

If you notice San Francisco, however, the exact opposite is true. From a residential real estate perspective, the real estate wealth indicator for San Francisco triggered two years ago in 2012; and the red line remains strong for now.

San Francisco


Nevertheless, regardless of timing real estate, there are four attributes that separate Chicago from most other cities.

Here’s what these four noble truths are:

  1. Ranks in top 5 USA cities for high net-worth individuals (HNWI’s)
  2. Hub for intellectual capital
  3. Get anywhere in the world within 24 hours
  4. Lifestyle and fun

Noble Truth #1

Japan, Germany and the United States are magnates for high net worth (HNWI) and ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI). In fact, 2012 data by research firm WealthInsights revealed that the United States was ranked 1st, Japan 2nd and Germany 3rd for countries with the greatest number of millionaires.

The point to nail down is that Chicago consistently ranks in the top 5 cities in America for number of HNWI’s. Usually, 4th behind New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

That same 2012 WealthInsights research revealed that the United States was also responsible for 6 of the top 20 billionaire cities globally. With Chicago ranked #12 and San Francisco ranked #16.

Candidly, billionaire city global rankings will vary depending on which research firm you ask. Typically, New York City or Moscow rank #1. Meanwhile, London and Hong Kong line-up closely with total number of billionaires.

That begs the question. Where might you wish to own real estate?  Perhaps consider owning assets in areas where the affluent choose to play.

Noble Truth #2

Chicago is a hub for intellectual capital. Most notably real estate. A close second is business and finance. As you know, wealth comes in many forms.

The surgeon or singer who trained their entire life to perfect their craft—that’s wealth.

The bicycle shop owners (Orville and Wilbur Wright) who persisted to win the race in powered man flight—that’s wealth.

The architects, engineers and developers who push the envelope to build structures because of their unique experience—that’s wealth.

These are all shining examples of real wealth. Money simply facilitates the exchange of different forms of wealth.

Wealth is a result of the skills, beliefs and know-how that individuals collectively bring to the table. Which highlights this point: When it comes to modern day wealth through real estate (specifically the tall building), Chicago is second to none. Chicago’s intellectual capital has been sought by developers, cities and nations from around the world.

And here’s the proof.

Currently under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is Kingdom Tower. It will be the tallest building in the world standing at 1000 meters (3,281 feet). Who designed the Tower?

Answer—a Chicago architect by the name of Adrian Smith.

Meanwhile, what about the Burj Khalifa located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates? As of this writing, it is the tallest building in the world standing at 828 meters (2,717 feet). Who do designed the Tower?

Answer—Chicago architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Skidmore has been the breeding ground for many of the world’s finest architects. In fact, Adrian Smith was the architect who designed the Burj Khalifa during his tenure at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.

Currently, Skidmore Owings and Merrill are designing full cities in China and other parts of the world. If you ever have an opportunity to view SOM’s portfolio of design projects under way—it will blow your mind. Some examples are:

  • Baietan Urban Design Master Plan—Guangzhou, China
  • Bahrain National Planning Development Strategy—Bahrain, Bahrain
  • Beijing Bohai Innovation City—Beijing, China
  • Beijing CBD East Expansion—Beijing, China
  • Beijing Dawangjing CBD Concept Master Plan—Beijing, China
  • Cendere Master Plan—Istanbul, Turkey
  • Cayan Tower—Dubai, United Emirates
  • China World Trade Center Phase 3B—Beijing China
  • Chongming Island Master Plan—Shanghai, China
  • Al Hamra Tower—Structural Engineering—Kuwait City, Kuwait
  • For the full scope of projects that SOM is designing around the globe, click this link to boggle your creative mind

So if a developer or a nation is seeking to steal intellectual wealth in the real estate arena, they hire these architects:

  • Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (Chicago, USA)
  • Adrian Smith – Gordon Gill (Chicago, USA)
  • Gensler (San Francisco, USA)
  • Kohn Pedersen Fox (New York City, USA)
  • Robert A.M. Stern (New York City, USA)

You can visit the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s website for thorough details on global real estate projects, skyscrapers and metrics. By the way, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat is headquartered in Chicago.

Clearly, Chicago is at the top of the food chain when it comes to intellectual capital related to real estate. It’s also home to major corporations like Boeing, Walgreens, McDonalds and Kraft Food to name of few.

Notwithstanding the fact, that the Chicago Board of Options Exchange was founded in 1973 and was the first marketplace for trading listed options—it’s no accident that Chicago planted a deeply rooted culture in the finance and business sectors.

Because of top rated universities—and the learned behavior now hard-wired into its DNA code from real estate, finance and the arts—Chicago attracts top professionals from all across the globe.

Which again begs the question. Where would you wish to own real estate? My guess, if you’re wise, you might consider owning assets in areas that attract some of the brightest minds on the planet.

Noble Truth #3

This reason if very simple—convenience. I can testify from personal experience, one can catch a non-stop flight from Chicago to Shanghai in no time at all—14 hours. Likewise, within the day you can travel anywhere on earth from Chicago’s O’Hare airport.

Have you ever experienced the burden of commuting 3 hours from a small city to simply reach the nearest airport; only to barely make your flight?  Who has time for such stress?

Which again begs the question. Where would you wish to own real estate? My guess, if you’re wise, you might consider owning assets in locations that you can reach with ease.

Noble Truth #4

Fun places with recreational activities are desirable places to live. If you’re into boats, restaurants, music festivals, parks, sports, nightclubs and the arts—then Chicago will keep you busy.

Which again begs the question. Where would you wish to own real estate? My guess, if you’re wise, you might consider owning assets in areas that attract folks with finer taste in food and fun.

Considering luxury Chicago real estate? Click to buy Chicago real estate here…