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Chicagoland roundup: Affordability to-do list, livability chops, property taxes and more

by Timothy Inklebarger

Chicago aldermen voice concerns to new housing commissioner

Chicago’s newly-appointed commissioner of the Department of Housing, Marisa Novara, heard a number of ideas from city council members on how to address affordable housing at her confirmation hearing, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Novara, a former vice-president of the Metropolitan Planning Council, has said that former Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to preserve or build 40,000 affordable homes fell short of what’s needed. Aldermen encouraged Novara to require construction of family units; prevent developers from paying fees in lieu of including affordable units in their developments; enable more conversions of basement, attic and coach house units; discourage three-flat demolitions that are replaced with single-family homes; and increase income requirements for renovation assistance.

Is our livability our best-kept secret?

SmartAsset.com recently ranked Chicago the seventh top city in the U.S. for livability. The website’s livability index is based on a number of metrics — crime, unemployment, weather, high school graduation rates and walkability among them — and researchers stated that while the average home is valued at $171 per square foot in Chicagoland, their livability index suggests it should be closer to $282. “Chicago is tied with Providence, Rhode Island, for the third-highest walkability score in the top 10 and seventh-highest overall,” the report states. “While Chicago does not score relatively well when it comes to violent crime rate, ranking in the bottom 20 for this metric overall, it does have a high school graduation rate of 85 percent and 676 dining and entertainment establishments per 100,000 residents.”

Roosevelt University creates graduate certificate in real estate development

The Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University is announced it will begin offering a graduate certificate in real estate development beginning in the fall of 2019.

The school said in a press release that it is the first certificate of its kind in the Midwest and can be completed in two semesters. “The certificate program is ideal for students who have experience in commercial real estate, however, students with residential real estate experience will also benefit from the concepts, application, and analysis provided in the courses,” Collete English Dixon, executive director of Roosevelt’s Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate, said in the press release. “It also provides the flexibility for those who complete the program to apply earned credits toward a graduate degree at a later date.”

2018 property taxes up in northern, central Chicago

Property taxes increased to a record $14.9 billion in 2018 in Cook County, up from $14.4 billion the previous year, according to a press release from Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough. Yarbrough said individual taxing districts may receive an increase in property tax revenue due to the 3.7 percent increase.
Property taxes in the north and central areas of the city are increasing, shifting the burden from the South Side, Yarbrough said. There — along with suburban Cook County — property taxes for single-family homes will remain flat. The full 79-page report is available here

Illinois home sales down slightly in May, median home sales make gains

Home sales were slightly down in May 2019 compared to last year, according to data from Illinois Realtors. The statewide median price for the month was slightly up, however, increasing 1.9 percent from May 2018 to $219,000.

“The housing market is showing clear signs of strengthening as we enter the summer months,” said Ed Neaves, president-elect of Illinois Realtors and managing broker of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Snyder Real Estate in Bloomington. “The data suggest healthy buyer demand remains a fixture this year, while at the same time home sellers are still poised to make a modest profit.” The average time for selling a home remained 49 days in May 2019, and available inventory was down 3.3 percent from last year. 

Eleven Chicago agents rank in national NAHREP scoring

The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals released its “Top 250 Latino Agents Award” and has recognized 11 Chicago agents. The list highlights agents “whose hard work and dedication has led them to close an outstanding number of transactions in an effort to increase the rate of sustainable Hispanic homeownership in communities across the country. Congratulations to the following agents: Gaspar Flores, Sr.; Salvador Gonzalez; Maria Castillo; Erika Villegas; Natalia Martinez; Victor Tellez; Uriel Ayala; Joe Castillo; Robert Padron; Roberto Almazan; and Ubaldo Garcia.

Illinois makes top 10 list for commercial real estate development

Illinois has been ranked the eighth state in the U.S. for commercial real estate development, according to a report from the NAIOP Research Foundation. The “Economic Impacts of Commercial Real Estate” report notes that in 2018, the industry created and supported 91,748 jobs and contributed $15.1 billion to Illinois’ economy. Illinois ranked fifth in development of office space and sixth in both warehouse/flex (which includes e-commerce distribution/fulfillment facilities) and retail space.

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