The Chicago-area home vacancy rate has dropped to 3.6 percent in the second quarter, down from 4.3 percent in the first quarter, but don’t let that fool you. Numbers are still high and home vacancies are still apparent across the country.
According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure fillings in the Chicago area fell 29.3 percent in the first half of 2011, but this mainly reflects processing delays rather than a real improvement in the housing market. This means foreclosures will still be in the market for a while and all those vacancies will remain.
“As long as we continue to see 70,000 to 80,000 foreclosures annually in the Chicago region, it’ll continue to have a negative impact on home values, which is ultimately what determines whether or not people choose homeownership as option,” said Tom Feltner, vice-president of policy and communications at local advocacy group Woodstock Institute.
Homeownership rates have been falling locally and nationally for about four years. While numbers may be up from 1998, see chart, people are very deterred from the housing market right now.
In the Chicago area, the local homeownership rate actually rose to 68.4 percent, but is still down from 69.8 percent a year ago. While nationwide the homeownership rate is at 65.9 percent, it too is still down from 66.9 percent in 2010.
Distressed properties also drive down property values, creating more uncertainty, as stated by ChicagoRealEstateData.com