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Residential Living

Featuring homes that attract a variety of price points and style preferences and offering a lakefront view and growing artistic environment, Waukegan offers a great place to call home.

A lifelong Lake County resident and a properties broker, Marty Golden has lived in Waukegan for 20 years. He said what draws many to Waukegan is its proximity to Lake Michigan, the community environment and the opportunity for affordable housing, whether it be a mid-century ranch, Victorian style home, vintage farmhouse or a bungalow.

Another great asset to living in Waukegan, he noted, is the up-and-coming arts and theater district. There’s the smaller community theater, the Three Brothers Theatre as well as the Genesee Theatre, which offers weekly headline acts.

“A lot of people are moving in from other areas that want an up-and-coming arts and theater district, and we offer that in Waukegan with the various art galleries and the Art Wauk, which takes place every third Saturday of the month. It’s been a very positive impact,” he said.

“There’s very creative art displays. You get a chance to meet local artists and see their talented work and actually buy some of it,” he added.

Positive changes that also are bringing residents to Waukegan are the completion of the Waukegan Harbor clean-up, as well as future plans to develop the lakefront. Golden said his hope for future residential growth will be along the lakefront.

Golden explained the city features entry-level price points for first-time home buyers, priced about $119,000. There also are affordable townhomes, which are priced near $129,000 where in other Lake County markets may cost $180,000.

“I’m seeing a trend of younger people, millennials who grew up in Waukegan, graduated, went away to college and are now in the workforce and they desire to purchase their first home in Waukegan where they grew up. I’m seeing a lot of that,” he said.

Golden said he’s also seen a couple higher priced home sales within the past year sold near $390,000 and $425,000, which is unusual for Waukegan.

“It’s encouraging to see some higher dollar ticket items locally,” Golden said. “There is more stability with the market.”
Golden said he and many who come to live in Waukegan choose it as well for the love of the older homes, a historic gem along Sheridan Road. He recalls the first home he bought was a wood-framed Victorian from 1900, and then moved to one of the city’s historic landmarks built in 1853, a Gothic revival. He currently lives in a 1926 Georgian.

“In order for me to duplicate this type of home that I have in another community such as Lake Forest or Lake Bluff, it would cost over $1 million,” Golden said. “And I was able to acquire it in Waukegan at around the $200,000 price point.”

There’s also a large assortment of homes for those who want to renovate. Golden said he knows from personally shopping at the hardware store in Waukegan, many building supplies are often sold out as so many are completing renovations to their homes.

“There is so much renovation going on, which is great. It brings the property values up, and it revitalizes the neighborhoods,” he said.

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