What’s a medallion worth?

How much is a taxi license in Chicago worth?

In September, a company paid $190,000 for a taxicab medallion now operated by Chicago Carriage Cab Co. — the most anyone has paid in Chicago.

That’s a bargain compared with New York City, where a medallion sells for about $775,000.

“There’s a solid demand for medallions from investors and operators,” says Michael Levine, chief executive officer of Yellow Cab. “You look at a taxicab medallion vs. real estate or the NASDAQ, you do better with a taxicab medallion.

“But there are risks. There’s statutory insurance. If there’s an accident, and two or three people get badly hurt, you could lose your medallion.”

A medallion can be bought with no money down and financing figured on the basis of a 15- to 20-year mortgage, but the loans usually must be repaid in three years, according to Levine. There are banks and finance companies that specialize in medallion loans.

The medallion owner can start making money right away. Then, if they can’t repay the loan — or decide not to — they can surrender their medallion or allow it to be foreclosed on. Usually, it’s then resold at a higher price, Levine says.

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