Marcus & Millichap, a respected investment real estate brokerage firm, recently released its Q4 Apartment Research Market Report for the Chicago metro area. The summary:
The release of pent-up demand and tempered hiring by employers this year will keep the Chicago apartment market on track to post a vacancy rate less than the level recorded at the start of the recession. Renter demand remains strong across the entire market, and especially in city submarkets such as the Loop and the Gold Coast. However, absorption may moderate over the next several months amid lingering concerns over the U.S. and local economies, forcing many prospective renters to defer decisions regarding rental housing. Still, demand at less than full potential will remain sufficient to put downward pressure on the vacancy rate due to limited construction. Projects slated for completion this year will represent one of the lowest annual totals on record, providing owners of existing properties with an opportunity to further strengthen operations before a new construction cycle be¬gins. New rentals will likely emerge in the city submarkets, but lengthy approval and building processes will spread deliveries over an extended timeline, minimizing the likelihood of a supply glut hitting the market all at once.
The Oak Park and Joliet sub-markets tied for the highest apartment vacancy rate among 14 reported suburban areas. Oak Park's 2011 vacancy rate decreased by 110 basis points over the previous year, but still stood at 5.3%. Year-over-year rental increases in Oak Park were a scant 0.8%, tying it with West Lake County for the lowest increases in 14 reported sub-markets.
The full report is freely available by registering at the firm's website.