More people renting than ever

It’s no secret, while home ownership still represents the majority of American households, renting homes has grown over the last few years. This article, from the Chicago Tribune, gives specific details on the national trend (…). The evidence throughout the Chicago area is also true as major residential apartment buildings have gone up in the city and suburbs. Many homeowners are still underwater on their homes, especially in the condo and town home market, and owners find renting as a good option to pay expenses while waiting for the market to heal. Other home buyers have found investments in homes, condos, and town homes as a way to park cash and make some steady income on the side.

Apartment vacancies at all time low

An interesting article from CNBC says apartment vacancies are at an all time low – less than 5%. Of course this is US statistics and doesn’t mean the Chicago area is in the same situation. The link:
I attended a presentation yesterday from someone from the National Association of Home Builders and it was mentioned there will be over 4,000 apartment units added to Chicago and the suburbs in 2015. This should help with rents but it seems the appetite for rentals is still at an all time high.

Home ownership at 20 year low

According to the Commerce Department, home ownership slipped to 63.9%. The peak was 69.4% in 2004. On the flip side, household formation grew to 1.7MM units from 356,000 during the same 4th quarter period of 2013. This growth was fueled by renters but also means good news for home builders. The vacancy rate stands at 7%, the lowest level since 1993.

Chicago area rents rise 5.9% in 2014

There still is strong demand for rental properties across the country. Like all real estate, there are pockets (including Chicago) which are stronger than others. Of course investors have noticed this too. Article is from CNBC and Trulia who does the tracking:
Longer term predictions are for rents to stagnate or decrease in 2015.