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3 ways Chicagoland homeownership has changed since 2007

by Peter Thomas Ricci

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From plummeting sales to skyrocketing levels of negative equity, the housing crisis affected Chicagoland’s market in a number of ways, but how did the metro area’s homeownership rate fair amidst all that upheaval?

To find out, we consulted new research from Apartment List, which combed through the last seven years of Census Bureau data. Here are the three main things we found:

1. Here is how the overall homeownership rate in Chicago has shifted since 2007, along with several other large metro areas:

Location 2007 Average 2011 Average 2016 Average Change in Rate: 2007 – 2016
Atlanta 66.4% 65.8% 62.5% -3.9%
Boston 64.8% 65.5% 58.5% -6.3%
Chicago 69.0% 67.7% 63.6% -5.4%
Denver 69.6% 63.0% 61.0% -8.6%
Houston 64.5% 61.3% 59.2% -5.3%
Los Angeles 52.3% 50.1% 47.8% -4.5%
Miami 66.6% 64.2% 57.8% -8.9%
New York 53.8% 50.9% 49.6% -4.3%
Philadelphia 73.1% 69.7% 65.4% -7.8%
Phoenix 70.8% 63.3% 62.4% -8.4%
San Francisco 58.0% 56.1% 55.6% -2.4%
Seattle 62.9% 60.7% 56.6% -6.3%

Although Chicagoland’s homeownership rate did drop 5.4 percentage points, falling from 69 percent in 2007 to 63.6 percent, that decline was actually better than many metro areas; in Phoenix, Miami and Denver, for instance, the rate declined more than 8 percentage points.

Also, Chicagoland’s rate of 63.6 percent is above the national rate, which is currently 62.9 percent.


2. The country’s generations were affected in dramatically different ways when it came to homeownership in Chicagoland:

Generation 2007 2011 2014 Change in Rate: 2007-2014
Millennials 44.8% 36.1% 32.4% -12.4%
Gen Xers 69.7% 63.5% 59.9% -9.8%
Young Boomers 75.7% 73.7% 71.5% -4.2%
Old Boomers 79.2% 76.8% 75.5% -3.8%
Silent Generation 78.0% 77.6% 77.9% -0.1%

We have covered the housing woes of Millennials in considerable detail, and Apartment Listing’s analysis shows just how dramatic the housing divide has become between Millennials and older generations. While Millennial homeownership in Chicagoland is down 12.4 percentage points, and is now just 32.4 percent, Older Boomers have seen their homeownership rate fall just 3.8 percentage points to 75.5 percent – meaning that Older Boomers own homes at twice the rate of Millennials.


3. The homeownership divide is similarly pronounced along ethnic lines:

Ethnicity 2007 2011 2014 Change in Rate: 2007-2014
African American 44% 41% 40% -4.2%
Asian 69% 62% 63% -5.7%
Hispanic 59% 53% 52% -7.6%
White 78% 76% 74% -4%

At just 40 percent (down 4.2 percentage points), Chicagoland’s African American community has the lowest rate of homeownership, far below the 74 percent of the area’s white population.

Also notable is that Hispanics saw the largest decline, with their homeownership rate dropping 7.6 percentage points to 52 percent.

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