Real estate developments point to a stabilizing market in Chicago

Numerous reports, studies and announcements related to residential and commercial real estate in Chicago point to a stabilizing market and hint at some exciting things coming to the bustling city.

A recent report in August from the Regional Economics Laboratory at the University of Illinois forecast that prices in Chicago and the rest of the state of Illinois for the third quarter should stay the same as they were for the third quarter of 2011. While to some this may not seem like something to celebrate, after years of decline, this is good news for the Chicago housing market and points to the possibility of stabilization.

More signs of a stabilizing market can be found in another recent report, from Appraisal Research Counselors, on the second quarter analysis of downtown residential neighborhoods. Through the analysis of 65 downtown condo buildings, the report revealed that average sales prices per square foot stayed about the same as in 2011.

The ARC report additionally revealed that the inventory of unsold downtown condos in the second quarter was lower than it had been at any time since ARC started documenting this 15 years ago. The count for unsold condos is now at 1,229, compared with a high in the first quarter of 2008, at 8,222 unsold downtown condos.

Significant developments continue to be reported in the commercial real estate sector as well. As commercial real estate is linked to residential, contributing to neighborhood quality, cost of living and overall condition of living, these commercial developments could be further signs of the stabilizing Chicago housing market.

An article in the Credit Union Times revealed that the Federal Reserve Board's most recent analysis showed that in almost all 12 of its districts, commercial real estate market conditions have either remained the same or demonstrated improvement in recent weeks.

The 12 districts that make up the Fed include Chicago, as well as the Midwest cities of Cleveland, Kansas City and St. Louis.

According to the Credit Union Times report about the Fed's Beige Book analysis, "Chicago's report was mixed: office vacancy rates remained high, restraining demand for new office construction, but office leasing demand improved modestly and industrial construction picked up."

Another portion of the Fed's Beige Book revealed that Chicago is among the several districts (along with Cleveland, Atlanta, Dallas and San Francisco) that are experiencing an increased demand for capital spending loans and that loan pricing overall is competitive.