The Chicago real estate market underwent a lot of changes in 2012. While the country has seen home prices rise on a whole, Chicago has struggled to gain its footing. But we’re getting there.
Low mortgage rates and a stabilized economy have resulted in an increase in housing demand in Chicago. But there are a few other ongoing narratives that seem to factor in, and certainly will in the coming year.
First, in terms of the rental market, the future is now. The strength of the rental market has spurred an apartment construction boom, especially in downtown Chicago. Chicago is definitely in the midst of a mid- and high-rise development renaissance. There were just under 1,200 apartments available for rent at the end of 2012, while there are 3,018 units either under construction or slated to be finished by 2013-2014.
Second, the popular “Clybourn Corridor” is expanding. As the local economy continues to strengthen and consumer confidence grows, local builders have targeted the area just south of the Clybourn Corridor for expansion. Chicago-based Structured Development LLC has an agreement from Milwaukee’s Roundy’s Supermarket Inc. to add an 80,000-square-foot Mariano’s in a development that would include 360,000 feet of retail space and nearly 300 apartments units. Dick’s Sporting Goods and ArcLight Cinema theaters are also in talks to join the project. Not bad for an area once marked by the towers of the Cabrini-Green Housing Project.
Finally, Google is planting its flag in Chicago. Techies, alderman and residents rejoiced when Google announced that the company would be relocating Motorola Mobility Inc. from Libertyville to the Merchandise Mart. 3,000 workers, mostly highly skilled engineers, will be situated in 572,000 square feet of prime office space. Google has locked up the top four floors of the Merchandise Mart when they signed a 15-year lease. This bold move signals a significant shift in the local economy and may be a preview of what’s to come in 2013.