Let’s talk about some exciting things going right in the world of Chicago real estate! Sure you can read tons of news articles about all that is wrong in the third largest city in the country. But I find so often that there is a lot of positivity buried beneath all that negative news and commentary. And I for one see a lot of positive indicators right now, and on top of that, my team and I are busier than ever! From Millennials finally hitting the market, to corporate relocation, here are my top four reasons to be excited for a strong 2019.
1) The trickle down effect of corporate relocation to the city
2018 saw the relocation of four huge corporations to downtown Chicago: McDonald’s to the West Loop, ConAgra to the Merchandise Mart, GE Healthcare, and Gogo to the West Loop. McDonald’s move alone effected 2,000 employees, many of whom will buy real estate closer to downtown versus the suburbs. Additionally, new and better jobs will be created for urban dwellers. According to PayScale, Gogo’s average salary is approximately $90K. With so much daily professional traffic, the subsidiary businesses around the West Loop and Merchandise Mart -- restaurants, pharmacies, etc. will only continue to grow and flourish.
2) Millennials are finally starting to buy
Even with 2018’s lackluster market, Millennial home ownership increased 5.3%. On top of that, 41% of Chicagoland Millennials already own real estate--which is on par with national averages all according to Realtor.com. In fact, in one West Loop zip code, nearly 75% of residents are Millennial! That’s the highest concentration of Millennials in the country. And while a large percent currently rent, projections show that almost half will purchase within the next few years. And, this trend shows no signs of stopping since Millennials will continue to head to Chicago after graduating. As this article alludes to, Chicago is THE Midwest hub for Big 10 graduates. We’ve waited so long for Millennials to buy real estate, and I’m cautiously optimistic that the time is now.
3) Mortgage rates aren’t as bad as everyone said
As of the writing of this post, conventional rates were around 3.87% for a 5-year ARM, and conventional 30-year loans were at a fixed rate of 4.45% according to Freddie Mac. This is actually lower than where we were last year. Coupled with the modest home value increases we have seen in Chicago the past few years, affordability is there for buyers.
4) More people are applying for mortgages nationwide
The first week of January in 2019 we saw the highest amounts of new mortgage applicants since 2010. Buyers were prepping for the spring market, and happy to see the lower interest rates, which increasing housing affordability, and will add to the amount of buyers out there in the field.
While there will always be factors out of our control, good jobs + vibrant neighborhoods + increased affordability is a great equation for a strong real estate market. All we need now is some nice weather, and we will be ready to take this market by storm!