Most housing news coming out of the Chicago area has been positive as of late, and the Chicago area housing market has indeed experienced a healthy recovery process since the economic downturn of 2008. Yet according to the Chicago Tribune, as reported by a Cook County home price index developed by DePaul University, the housing recovery process varies greatly “depending on property type and when it was purchased.” The index reports that while prices for larger multi-family buildings in Cook County have jumped “nearly 31 percent year-over-year for the quarter that ended in June,” there has been no such growth rate for condos, single-family homes, and two-to-four apartment buildings.
Condominiums in the Chicago area have experienced the lowest rate of growth during the housing recovery, down a whopping 11 percent, to put them on par with pre-1997 pricing levels. Single-family homes were actually down 2.6 percent compared with June 2011. Cook County Housing Institute Executive Director Geoff Smith told the Tribune that the data reveals that, “a person who bought their condo or single-family home in 2007 at the peak of the market, they are likely underwater.” The data could also reveal that many people who are buying are investors looking to rent out multi-family homes, not young families taking advantage of the low market and the First Time Homebuyer Credit.
Two-to-four unit buildings, many of which are owner-occupied, according to the Tribune, and many of which are located in low-income neighborhoods that were hit heavily by foreclosures, aren’t showing positive growth signs yet either, but the most stagnant segment of the market are condos. Zeke Morris, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors, “attributes the poor showing for condos to buildings with defaults or restrictive policies that are hampering owner's abilities to sell their units.” And economists aren’t predicting a fast recovery any time soon.