By Mitch Hurst
By Mitch Hurst
How much would you pay for a home with a private beach in Winnetka? In the case of the two home sales that closed within 30 days of each other in the village this summer, that price tag was in excess of $12 million. Both home sellers were represented by Jena Radnay of @properties in Winnetka.
A property at 691 Sheridan Road that includes nearly 100 feet of private beach closed in July for $12.5 million, putting it at the top of the list as the most expensive home sold in Illinois so far in 2023. Another Winnetka home at 445 Sheridan Road is not far behind, closing in August for $12.25 million. That estate sits on 2.24 acres and features 175 feet of private beach—a precious amenity on the North Shore.
“The property at 445 Sheridan Road was a multiple bid situation, and then my 691 Sheridan listing—which closed right before it—was on the market for less than a week,” notes Radnay. “It was fast, and I had multiple interested parties in that as well.”
She says Winnetka lakefront properties are especially in demand because the village has fewer regulations on what property owners can do with that premium Lake Michigan frontage. Adding to the allure is topography that allows for more direct access to the lake.
“Our bluffs are more varied than other parts of the North Shore, which means we don’t have to go down a ravine to get to our beaches,” says Radnay, explaining that the village’s location just 18 miles from Chicago is another huge selling point for buyers in the market for lakefront property. “That’s why I think the Winnetka market offers the highest value.”
While there are some homes with private beaches in Wilmette, she says those lots are harder to find. That means that those looking for lakefront living with a private beach tend to drift north to Winnetka, which has more options. In the case of the two estates that sold this summer, each has its own unique appeal.
“The property at 691 Sheridan was a ‘home run’ because it was fully updated. The pool was done, the beach house was done, and it was a turnkey property,” she says. “The appeal was both its large lot and prime location, which is within walking distance of downtown.”
Radnay says the home was attractive to families with multiple children and also to those who always coveted a house with a private beach. The light and airy beach feel of the interiors and the fact the home was already fully rehabbed only enhanced the allure.
“It’s like a Malibu house off the coast of California. Even the exterior feels like Malibu. It has that total beach vibe that really resonates with buyers,” she says. “That property was something that I haven’t seen on the market in years.”
As unusual as it might sound when discussing properties in the $12 million+ price bracket, another aspect both homes offered is economic value. Radnay says there just aren’t that many houses along the lakefront with private beaches, so $12 million for a property of that caliber can still be a pretty good deal.
The challenge for homebuyers now who are looking for a house with a private beach or even on the lakefront in Winnetka is that they’ve all been scooped up. There’s not a single lakefront property on the market right now on the Private Listing or MLS at press time.
“I think from what I’m seeing, there is still a huge demand because buyers are calling me directly and asking me what other luxury listings I have,” says Radnay. “I just think if people are going to leave the city and trade their penthouse residence for a property on the North Shore, they’re going to want something really special.”