Chicago home sellers should be happy that commercial real estate is in recovery mode

You might not think it matters to the Chicago housing market if developers can get loans from banks to build industrial properties. But all real estate in the city is connected. If the city’s commercial real estate markets are doing well, that means that developers are building again, new stores are opening and, most importantly, Chicago residents are landing jobs in greater numbers.

And when consumers are employed and confident, they’re more likely to make an offer on that home in Ravenswood that you’ve been trying to sell for more than a year.

That’s why I was glad t hear David Harker, an executive vice president with Chicago’s First Industrial Realty Trust, tell me late last month that he’s seeing more activity in industrial real estate in markets across the Midwest, including Chicago.

Harker told me this while I was interviewing him for a story I was writing for Midwest Real Estate News, the trade magazine I edit. Harker told me that more companies were leasing industrial space in the city, suburbs and entire Midwest. He also said that industrial vacancies were falling, more good news.

There is even the hope that the Chicago area might soon see some new industrial construction in the not too distant future. We haven’t seen that since the Great Recession hit the city.

“The overall (national) economy is improving,” Harker told me during our interview. “That means the industrial real estate market is improving, too. That has inspired hte banks to start lending again. Now with things improving, the smaller private companies are able to get financing, too. That makes these companies more bullish, and gets them to think about expanding.”

If you’re selling a home in Chicago today, or even if you’re just considering such a move, you’ll welcome these comments. Sure, it doesn’t directly matter if that car-parts manufacturer leases new space along the Chicago/Indiana border. But the more industrial deals we see — and the more office, retail and multi-family transactions we see, too — the sooner the Chicago housing market will regain its own strength.


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