The Chicago real estate market is appealing for many real estate investors. Whether you are a millennial or a 20-year-old investor, the Chicago real estate market seems to be able to find you a fit. Considered to be the most beautiful city in the United States, Chicago offers attractions bringing not only nationals but also internationals into it. Additionally, the city enjoys the third largest economy in the United States with a metropolitan gross domestic product of $590 billion. It is a large economy mainly because it has successfully attracted many of the technology and transportation sectors to it. Consequently, the city has witnessed a strong market for real estate, given the high demand for rental properties. Below, we summarize what is up with the Chicago real estate market and further present any real estate investment recommendations.
Chicago is ranked as the 3rd most populous city in the United States with a population of about 2.7 million. Despite the growing population of Chicago, property prices have been going down. Hence why, a lot of prices of real estate properties are priced below the income level. Additionally, the growing young demographics have come to constitute a big chunk of the real estate market. About 18% of the population is between the ages of 20 and 29 years and 17% between 30 and 39 years. This young population proposes indicators about the trends in the real estate market: more renting and/or investing in single family homes and small houses.
The advancements across technology, transportation, and communications have further attracted tourists and visitors into the city. Chicago has become a home for residents and many visitors and tourists as well. Total visitation in 2016, yet another record year, reached 54 million, witnessing a 5% increase from the previous year. In 2016, according to Condé Nast Traveler, Chicago is rated as the nation’s number two to visit. Consequently, more demand for Airbnb and other short-term lodging has been apparent. If you are looking to make quick cash, renting your investment property on Airbnb is appealing amidst a boom in the number of visitors. This is also true since visitors and tourists now prefer Airbnb to hotels. In fact, the occupancy rates for hotels have been slowing down ever since the establishment of Airbnb and other lodging services. Tourists choose Airbnb over hotels because it is cheaper, is more convenient, and often offers the opportunity to get further immersed in the culture if you choose to live with the landlords.
The unemployment rate has plummeted to 4.2% in 2017, from 6% last year. Although unemployment is declining, many continue to believe the city is undergoing a sluggish job growth and a declining labor force participation. According to Chicago Tribune, there were about 100,000 fewer people in the labor force in the Chicago metro area in April 2017 compared with a year earlier. The labor force participation rate has further dropped to 64% from 66% last year. Manufacturing, construction, and retail trade have, in particular, witnessed job loss in recent years. Economists expect more job cuts within the manufacturing industries. Although turbulent for homebuyers, this is good for real estate investors. Since more people will opt for rental properties rather than buying their own home, given the slow job market growth, real estate investors will expect gains when renting out their investment properties. The Chicago real estate market is promising and fruitful for investors looking to rent out their income property, whether through Airbnb or the traditional means.
Furthermore, while many argue that the job market and the labor force participation are slowing down, others continue to emphasize growth across certain sectors. Healthcare and the financial sector have, in particular, been growing substantially. In fact, for the past year, the city added over 10,000 jobs, most of them in financial activities, educational and health services, and leisure and hospitality. Although there have been job cuts, these high-paying jobs are now replacing many low-paying jobs. The income of the general population will shift from low to high levels, impacting real estate investment in the long run.
Having explained the drivers of the Chicago real estate market and the trends that the city has been undergoing, we further present you with a list of the top neighborhoods to invest in. Following is a list of the top areas to buy investment properties in the Chicago real estate market and some information about each of them:
1. West Town: Although prices in West Town have witnessed an increase of 12%, the neighborhood remains attractive for homebuyers and real estate investors alike. The median resale price of homes is within the higher brackets of $790,000. What makes the town more desirable in the Chicago real estate is that fact that the neighborhood enjoys a livability score of 77 out of 100. Indeed, the neighborhood’s attractions and amenities make up for the increasing property prices.
2. Logan Square: Logan Square is at an advantage given the rising neighboring neighborhoods, such as Bucktown and Wicker, that have positively impacted it. Although Logan Square is less busy than other neighboring areas, it remains to enjoy an array of amenities and attractions. What further encourages citizens to move to Logan Square is the slow and steady increase of 3% in property prices over the last couple of years. With a rate less than the city’s overall growth, many citizens are seeking out the opportunity to invest here.
3. Jefferson Park: The neighborhood is characterized as a buyer’s market given the wide range of amenities available. This is not to neglect its position as a transportation hub, which has greatly contributed to the increase in demand for real estate. Not only is the neighborhood attractive for its facilities and as a transportation hub, but also for the low property prices that it enjoys, as compared to other neighboring areas. We expect prices to catch up to the city and national average, so take advantage of investing in a rental property in Jefferson Park today.
4. Mount Greenwood: The neighborhood is located about 14 miles away from the Westside of Loop, and is in close proximity to Morgan and Beverley. Not only does it enjoy very low crime and foreclosures rates, Mount Greenwood also has a slower property price increase rate. The median single-family house price is $220,000, which is only 7.7% higher than that of 2016.
5. Uptown: Uptown is a more expensive town as compared to other neighborhoods. With a median single-family house price reaching $850,000 this year, the neighborhood certainly classifies as one of the few areas with the highest property price increase over the past three years.
The Chicago real estate market today poses a good potential for a lot of investors. Whether you are looking to invest in Uptown, Mount Greenwood, or Jefferson Park, it’s important that you thoroughly assess the neighborhood and ensure your goals align with your selection prior to your purchase. Mashvisor’s investment property calculator can help in this regard. In the meantime, we recommend that you book a visit to get a visual understanding of Chicago real estate market.