Since 2008, the US has to deal with an economical slowdown. The unemployment rate has never been so high and neither have the number of foreclosures. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the Chicago metropolitan area, during the first half of 2009, has lost 164,000 jobs, compared with just 49,000 jobs lost in 2008, and 43,500 lost in 2007. It is well known that the job market drives the demand for apartments and houses. It should not be surprising, then, that this situation has had two negative consequences on the local rental market:
- The overall vacancy rates have increased in Chicago (5% in the second half of 2007; 7% in 2008; 2% in the second quarter of 2009).
- The rent rates have fallen of 1.5% since the beginning of 2009. This trend is expected to continue in 2010.
If the real estate market trend is rather bad for the local economy, however, it is rather a good opportunity for expatriates who will benefit from a larger offer with reduced prices. If you wish to buy, the trend is the same: prices are decreasing.
Nevertheless, renting is much more expensive than in Europe, for instance. So be prepared to pay twice or sometimes three times what you paid in your home country.
The average quality of the accommodations is rather good, with lots of new buildings downtown and in the south Loop.