CHICAGO RENTAL BUBBLE ABOUT TO BURST?

The Chicago rental market has been on an upward swing since 2010. Downtown Class A rents are up 36% (on a per square foot basis) since 2009 according to Appraisal Research Counselors. But is the end near? I don’t know about you, but every time I speak with someone in multi-family or read an article regarding an apartment sale, I am feeling reminiscent of the 2005 and 2006 sales market. Before I go into a rant regarding the current state of the market, let us back up and discuss the rental market in Chicago over the past decade.

Rental prices sharply declined toward the tail end of the first decade in the 2000s for several reasons. When the economy was still ticking along rental prices remained flat or only saw nominal increases (in some cases decreases) due to the fact that mortgages were not only easy to come by, but cheap to get. Factor in increasing property values and the ability to gain quick equity and everyone and their dog was buying a condo. It made more sense to buy at the time and home ownership in Chicago was at an all time high (71.2% in 2006). Less renters and more buyers meant lower or flat rents and more vacancy in rental buildings. Once the economy started to soften at the end of 2007 and then drastically so in 2008 and 2009, we saw rents decline even further. The other item to remember is during the 2000s very little new construction apartment buildings were built. ALL developers were focused on condo buildings. In addition, some existing supply of apartment buildings were converted into condos (10 E. Ontario, 440 N. Wabash…think American Invsco and Crescent Heights). Now the year is the end of 2009 and 2010. People either 1) cannot afford to buy, 2) cannot get a mortgage or 3) are still hungover from the crash of the market and are afraid to buy. These people then are forced to rent. Remember what I just said about no new construction of apartment buildings in the past 10 years? Remember what I just said about apartment buildings converted into condos? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happened – supply on apartments were low but demand was now high. Home ownership was dropping for the first time in decades and therefore rents started spiking.

Rent prices in 2007 and 2008 were quite low in Chicago. The rent increases of 2009 and 2010 and even 2011 were simply making up for lost time. Recovering back to where they should have been had the mortgage market not been flooded with such toxic mortgages that ended up contributing to not only the decline in rental prices but the collapse of the entire financial system. But then something strange happened…rents continued to increase and developers took note. Developers could not get a construction loan to save their lives to build a condo building, but if they wanted to build a 500 unit apartment building backed by secure rents…it was like stealing candy from a baby. Financial institutions could not wait to lend money to developers and developers could not wait to get back in the game.

Why would developers want to become landlords you ask? Are they not in the condo game? Don’t they want to sell? Well, here is a secret – developers are not in the landlord business. They have ZERO interest in being so. Once developers saw the increase in rents and what institutional investors were paying for these apartment buildings they knew they could build a building, with cheap money, partially fill it and then sell it off. Guess what – that is what almost all have done in Chicago. EnV (161 W. Kinzie), 111 W. Wacker, North Water Apartments…just to name a few, were all flipped for a big profit. Developers simply went back to what they knew how to do: build and sell.

The Chicago market LOVED it. After all there had not been any high end rental buildings built in quite some time and renters craved new construction. Each building that opened up after the next had better amenities and better finishes. Renters hopped from building to building and had no problem paying the exorbitant rents. Prices were increasing double digits year after year. Then more developers rushed in and we are sitting where we are today. The question we must now ask ourselves is “Is this market sustainable?”

Is this market sustainable? That is a good question to ask don’t you think? This was a question asked to developers in 2005 in which nearly 100% responded with “Yes….” and then gave some bullshit answer derived from misconstrued facts and skewed data. But, what about now? Will we see a market crash in rentals like we did before? Well…lets check out some facts.

Here is a list provided by Appraisal Research Counselors of new rental units added in downtown Chicago. Keep in mind we are only talking about downtown Chicago and only talking about top tier buildings.

2013: 2,750 units     2014: 2,000 units    2015: 3,100 units and projected in 2016 an additional 3,500 units and in 20017 an additional 4,500. 

This is only downtown Chicago. This does not count north side markets and this certainly does not count any suburbs.

Rents have continued to increase even as new supply has come on the market. There are many reasons for this. Millennials continue to rent as opposed to buy. Baby boomers are coming into the city and renting second homes or selling their home in the burbs and making their rental in the city their primary residence. Job growth in Chicago is steady (it is doing well, but not amazingly well) and lets face it, people love new construction. Home ownership has declined back to 1999 levels in the city of Chicago as well. These are all great factors and reasons why the market has done well, but this is not the only data that we should consider. The most important item to consider is the following: VACANCY. Vacancy is the ultimate determining factor. During the real estate boom of the 2000s the major factor that would have let you known the market was cooling off way ahead of a decline in prices was market time and number of homes on the market. We saw market time increase and number of homes on the market start to increase 1 year before pricing actually peaked. 1 full year…it goes to show you how slow the real estate market is to react to change. There are many reasons for this but the main reason is because most investors and many of us brokers in sales love to have blinders on and simply focus on only the good and not the bad. No one likes the bear in the room.

So, here is a fun fact for you. Apartment occupancy rates on a national level decreased for the first time since 2009 last quarter. Specifically in Chicago Class A (top tier luxury rental buildings) occupancy rates went from 94.2% in the 3rd quarter of 2014 to 93.7% in 2015. This may not seem like much of a change, only half a percent but it is drastic. In 2006 for instance, due to many apartment buildings being converted to condos, occupancy was at 97%. In 2007 and 2008 we saw occupancy dip to 91%. We are really only dealing with a small percentage range of occupancy between the lowest occupancy we’ve seen in a while and the highest. Therefore, a half a percent year over year is something to take note of.

So we have looked at occupancy and we saw it decline a nominal amount. What else should we be considering? Well, let us consider new units projected. Perhaps, if not many new units are coming online then the market will be fine.

Well, in 2016 and 2017 a total of 8,000 new units will be coming to market. This is more than 2013, 2014, and 2015.

During this winter I’ve seen more buildings offer concessions than I have in several years. I’ve seen rent prices at some buildings in downtown down 20% from their summer prices PLUS 1 month or 2 month concessions offered. Some will say “but prices always decrease in the winter.” While this may be true; what I would like to note is the amount prices have decreased this winter is more than years prior and the level of concessions have increased more than years prior.

Continue to bear with me here!

Restaurant Theory:  Pretend a new hot restaurant has opened up. During the “Hot” time of 6:30pm to 9:30pm getting a table is impossible. But you really want to try this restaurant so you go at an off peak time, maybe 5pm or 4pm or 10pm. You walk in and you notice how crowded the restaurant is during that off-peak time. You think wow, this restaurant is doing very well! Once that restaurant starts to loose its luster and is no longer as desirable any more, the first sign would be 4pm diners will stop dining. People will no longer wait until 10pm to eat dinner or want to start at 4pm because either 1) They don’t feel that inconvenient time is worth it or 2) They’re able to snag  reservations during peak times. Now, if you were just looking at the number of tables full between 6:30pm and 9:30pm you might think that restaurant is doing very well. You might think that the sky is the limit and this restaurant needs to expand! But what you’ve failed to realize is that there is already a sign right in front of you that demand is starting to taper off and that would be the fact that less diners are there during the less desirable times. If you only looked at the peak times then your understanding of the restaurant would be mistaken.

Obviously the rental market is very different from the restaurant business, but basic observations of supply and demand can be looked at in the same way. It is important to understand the leading indicators in the rental market. These leading indicators are occupancy rates (vacancy rates) and rent prices and concessions during the slow months of the year.

My Thoughts

If you’ve made it this far thank you for reading through my long winded blog. I’ll keep my thoughts short. The rental market party is over, plain and simply. It may take another 3 quarters for us to start to see price adjustments in the downtown market, but we will see price adjustments eventually. As occupancy rates continue to slide, especially among buildings that are now owned by institutional investors, they will have no choice but to lower rents or increase concessions to attract renters. I believe this will be most prevalent at the end of 2016 / beginning of 2017 as we head into next winter and see the new 2016 supply hit the market. Overall, I do not see a CRASH in rental pricing, but I do see a decrease on the horizon and I would not be surprised if we see rents decrease in Class A buildings by 10% over the next 2 years.

Competing Against Multiple Offers in Chicago’s Spring Market!

Competing against multiple offers is nothing new, but for inexperienced agents and new buyers it can be quite a challenge, especially as the competition heats up to snag some of Chicago’s most desirable listings. Multiple offers will continue to dominate the spring market especially in Chicago’s most desirable areas. Crain’s recently posted an article “Four things you might need to do to get that house.” While the article gave a few ideas, I thought I would give my own opinion on their suggestions and provide you with the advise I provide my clients when competing against multiple offers or when trying to get a property taken off the market before multiple offers can be submitted!

Let us pretend you’ve found the perfect home and you are seeing the property the first day it is on the market. Let us say that day is Tuesday. The agent informs you they are planning an open house for the weekend and expect to wait until then to review all offers. This is not just a sales tactic, but it is now becoming more common place in Chicago. So if this is your scenario, what can you do?

Price: Don’t BS on the price. Have your agent evaluate comps in the area to make sure the asking price is fair. When you submit your offer you better be submitting at list price OR HIGHER! Have your agent guide you so you don’t overpay for the property.

Earnest Money: Earnest Money is typically turned over in two stages: Initial stage, when the offer is accepted and the final stage, once inspection and attorney review are complete. INCREASE YOUR EARNEST MONEY! A greater amount of initial earnest money and a greater amount of final earnest money shows you are serious and have confidence in your current financial situation and in the property as a whole.

Shorten Attorney Review and Inspection Periods: The Inspection and Attorney review period can range anywhere from 5 to 10 business days or whatever the buyer and seller agree upon. Shorten these days if you can. 5 Days at the absolute most if you are in a multiple offer situation or trying to snag the property off the market.

Quick Deadline: If your offer is strong with the above points then put the nail in the coffin and don’t allow them to wait until the weekend. Give a 12hour deadline in your offer. Tell them its a take it or leave it situation.

Other items to consider:

Flexible Closing Date: Many sellers want a quick close date, but some may want some flexibility so give them that in your offer. Offer to close quickly but mention you can extend the closing if needed.  You never know the seller’s situation…they may need more time to find their next home.

Quick Mortgage Contingency: If you have a mortgage contingency in your contract, end it is as soon as possible. The quicker you can get a clear to close the quicker the contract “goes hard” and is ready to close. Move up your mortgage contingency date (Commitment Date) to the soonest date your lender says is possible.

Escalation Clause: This is one of my favorites. This is a very simplistic way of explaining it, but the clause is quite simple….”Our Highest & Best offer is $2,000 above the price of any other offer you receive up to $500,000 with proof of other offer.” It is called an escalation clause because as other offers come in your price escalates up to a certain point. If you ever bid for things on eBay you may remember there are similar systems in place on that auction site that allow you to do something similar.

 

Paul Blackburn is an Illinois licensed realtor and broker with @properties in Chicago. For information about buying or selling in Chicago he can be reached at Paul@PKBlackburn.com

NEW GOLD COAST CONDO BUILDING AT WALTON & STATE. No. 9 Walton

A new luxury condo project is planned for the vacant space at State & Walton, adjacent to Walton on the Park. The most recent new construction developments in the near north side have mostly been made up of 3 Bedroom and larger units. The new development at Walton and State will offer 1 Bedrooms with 1,500 square feet all the way up to the penthouse unit which will have a total of 11,000 square feet.

Information on the new development at Walton and State is now being released. One Bedroom homes are starting around $1.4 million. Two Bedrooms will start around $1.85 million and Three Bedrooms will start at $2.5 million. However, please keep in mind this pricing is for the smaller floor plans of the respective bedroom count. Pricing will range roughly from $900 to $1,200 per square foot.

Each unit will have generous outdoor space. One of the best aesthetic features of the facade of the building is the fact that the balconies, for the most part, are recessed into the building and not overhanging. There is a wide array of layouts to choose from with varying square footages.

What Amenities will No. 9 Walton have?

The 4th Floor will house an indoor pool and spa, complete with a hot tub, steam room and sauna. The 5th floor will feature an open air atrium looking down onto the pool as well as a fitness center and small lounge. The 6th floor will feature a dog run, pilates studio and yoga studio. The 7th floor will feature a private dining / party space, outdoor terrace, full bar and kitchen along with a wine room.

Completion is expected in early of 2017.  This development is one of several new developments recently approved and started such as 4 E. Elm, 400 W. Huron and 100 W. Huron.

 

For more information on this development please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Paul Blackburn is an Illinois licensed Realtor and Broker with @properties in Chicago’s Gold Coast office. He can be reached at anytime at Paul@PKBlackburn.com

Chicago Condos Still Selling Fast!

Buyer demand, in Chicago’s “hottest” neighborhoods, has continued this spring and will likely continue throughout the summer and fall. Inventory levels remain low throughout Chicago’s best neighborhoods such as Streeterville, River North, Gold Coast, West Loop, South Loop, Lincoln Park, Lakeview…need I go on?

We are seeing many first time buyers enter the market, but they are not the same first time buyers we saw years ago. The last real estate crash scared many away from buying for a significant period of time. Therefore, we are seeing many first time buyers that have established families and excellent income levels. Many think when we say the “first time buyer market” is hot, we are only talking about cheaper condos priced between $100,000 and $300,000. This is no longer the case. Many first time buyers are now couples with children who are purchasing larger units throughout the city at, and even well above, $500,000.

In-Town buyers are back again in full force as well. What we thought may have just been a fad when interest rates were at 3.5%, second home buyers continue to pick up property in Chicago. To clarify, what I mean by “In-Town” buyers are people who have their primary residence elsewhere and are purchasing a home in the city to use on the weekends and holidays, etc. These buyers are not just purchasing small studios, but instead are purchasing everything from high level, large One Bedroom condos (think Trump or The Pinnacle where 1 Beds sell for $525,000 on up) and even single family homes!

If you follow national on the real estate market you will see random stats such as new home starts are skyrocketing but at the same time builders confidence level is decreasing. Some stats are showing that there are less first time home buyers than a year ago. I can see this being true, but after all we had so many people sit on the fence for several years that it would only make sense we would see one year (last year) with an abnormally high amount of first time home buyers. We can’t compare every year to last year! Though, economists always love to do that.

In conclusion, what should you take away from this? The condo market in Chicago is very healthy. Supply is low, demand is high across the board from various types of buyers and buyers that are interested in various types of products. This means the market is healthy; it is as simple as that.

MY ADVICE TO FIRST TIME BUYERS IN CHICAGO

First Time Home Buyers always have a lot of questions. Listed below are some of the most common questions and concerns I hear working with home buyers in Chicago.

What Neighborhood in Chicago is the best investment?

Chicago is extremely diverse with so many different neighborhoods each offering their own “feel.” The old saying is real estate is “Location, Location, Location.” This saying continues to be very true, but not just for your pocket book. If you are buying a home to live in, then YOU need to enjoy the location. Try not to get too wrapped up in “How much will this area appreciate in the coming years” but instead focus on “What will I enjoy about this neighborhood while I live  here?” Many buyers don’t give themselves enough credit. The things in a neighborhood that you love or hate, are likely the same things that the next buyer will love or hate as well. Focus on what you will love about the neighborhood first and then focus on what appreciation you may see in the future. After all, if you don’t like the location, then are you really getting your money’s worth?

How much space do I really need in Chicago?

Do you want a two bedroom or a one bedroom? What is more important to you: Space or Quality? Sure, it is great to have both but if price remains the same quality will decrease as space increases. Many people may say “One Bedrooms are not good for resale” In some areas this may be true, but overall I do not find this to be the case. Instead, you need to ask yourself the question “OK, this is only a One Bedroom but what do I like about it over some of the Two Bedrooms I have seen?” Chances are the quality is better, the living room space may be larger, the view may be better. Are these things important to you?

Transportation

How close are you to Transportation? Do you use the CTA or no? While that six block walk to the red line may seem wonderful in the summer time, it will feel like hell in the winter time so keep that in mind. If you are the kind of person that doesn’t mind walking a mile to the train in the freezing cold then your options can be much broader. If you are like me a despise walking even two minutes in the cold then your options will need to be more constrained.

Stay within your means

You may love the amazing condo that is pushing your budget but what good is it if you can’t afford to furnish it properly or enjoy the wonderful restaurants and bars down the street. Be conservative with your budget. Sometimes you can spend less money on a purchase and then some money on great renovations or furnishings and end up with a place that is perfect for you.

Drink Bourbon but Offer Your Clients Scotch

It is the Holiday Season yet once again. No matter what religion you are or what you believe in this is a time for remembering all those who are around you on a daily basis. We send out greeting cards, buy gifts for those we love, buy gifts for those who support our business and so on. More importantly, this is the time to show everyone that you care, especially your clients.

I am reminded of one of my favorite lines from a more recent holiday movie, The Family Man. Nicholas Cage says to his boss in his former life “You drink Bourbon but you offer your clients Scotch.” Not only this Holiday Season, but all year round I encourage everyone, in ever line of business to always treat their clients just slightly better than they would treat themselves. When a buying a bottle of wine don’t buy something you’d drink on an average night…buy something one step up. When sending a gift basket don’t get the one on sale, splurge a bit for the one that has something extra special. Because at the end of the day it is our clients that are the reason we are in business. Without our clients our business would cease to exist.

HOME FORECLOSURES JUMP 18% IN ILLINOIS – OH NO!

So last week several newspapers reported (Crains, Chicago Tribune…the list goes on) that home foreclosures in Illinois jumped 17.6% from the previous month. Sounds bad doesn’t it? Well, it really isn’t all that bad. RealtyTrac who follows foreclosures like a hawk states that this is more than likely due to paperwork issues being resolved within the banks.

So what we really want to do is look at year over year data and look at filing data. A filing for foreclosure is when the bank actually files the paperwork with the court. Basically what they are doing is exercising their right in the mortgage documents to accelerate the mortgage (make it all due in full) and obtain possession of the property so they can sell it to regain the amount owed. The actual process of filing for foreclosure from the time you miss a payment can vary by bank. You’re technically in default once you miss a single payment. However, banks are currently taking anywhere from 3.5 to 6 months to file foreclosure on your property and those are the banks that have their stuff in order. The actual filings then include the following: default notices, auction sale notices and actual bank repossessions.

OK – So Lets look at filings for August year over year. This August, 2011, One in every 424 housing units in the state received a filing. This rate is down almost 26% from last August. So when we sit back and not panic and look at the actual data….we realize it could be a lot worse!

RENT PRICES CONTINUE TO INCREASE IN LAKEVIEW

If you read my blog a couple months ago you might remember that I said rent prices in Lakeview increased by over 15% from the same time period the previous year (March 1st to May 15th). Since some time has passed I decided to run numbers again and here is what I found out….

I used the Month of June to pull data. June 1st to June 30th. Here it is:

June 2010: 177 Units rented during this time with an average price of $1,672.06

June 2011: 216 Units rented during this time with an average price of $1,895.78

This is an increase of roughly 13.3%. Not as high as the 15%+ we saw a couple months ago but still very high. Typically we will see June rents higher than earlier months as we are starting to see less supply on the market and more renters in the market. From March 1st to May 15th of this year the average rent was $1,797.15.

With apartments being snatched up left and right what can you do to make sure you get the place you really want?

1 – Check your Credit! The first thing a landlord wants to know is how good your credit is. If you have bad credit, then you better start putting together a battle plan. Get a Co-Signer, save some money so you can pay a few months in advance to show good faith, etc.

2 – Have Paystubs / Proof of Employment in order! Most landlords will require that you provide proof of employment which can come in multiple forms but the most common are paystubs. Get these items in order before you apply for a place so as soon as you see a place you like you can jump on it!

3 – Be Willing to Move in ASAP! Right now Landlords have the luxury of not having to worry about their place being vacant. Which means if it is empty on July 1st they will more than likely not take a tenant any later than a July 15th move in. You may have to move in a couple weeks earlier than you truly need in order to secure the place.

4 – Be Up Front about Pets! If you have a Dog or a Cat know that this will limit your options. While many people may love dogs, they may not trust their owners and may not want them in their rental property. The best thing to do is to make sure you are up front about the type of pet that you have and explain it right away in the application process. Landlords do not like to be blind-sided and if they are, they will automatically start thinking the applicant is dishonest.

5 – Be able to turn over $$$ right away! Typically once a lease is signed First Months rent AND Security Deposit, along with any additional fees are turned over right away. Make sure you are in a position to do this. Unless checks are turned over the lease can be thrown away, so make sure you have the money ready to go so you don’t lose the place you love.

RENT PRICES SKYROCKET IN LAKEVIEW/BOYSTOWN

We all have read or at least heard the stories regarding residential rent prices going up, but by how much? In one of my last blogs I reported that the downtown rental market saw an increase of just over 13% from the same time last year (February through April). However, many of my recent Lakeview clients have started to become frustrated with the lack of good inventory on the market. So, I decided to run my own numbers for Lakeview and this is what I found:

2010 from March 1st to May 15th: 384 Units Rented with an Average Price of $1,554.31

2011 from March 1st to May 15th: 468 units Rented with an Average price of $1,797.15

This is a year over year increase of a whopping 15.6%, a significant difference from the increase downtown. However, what about other areas such as Lincoln Park? Then what about areas further north such as Uptown and Edgewater? Everyone says that Uptown and Edgewater are cheaper to live in than Lakeview but are the same things happening to prices up there?

First, lets start south in LINCOLN PARK:

2010 from March 1st to May 15th: 273 units rented with an Average Price of $1,831.95

2011 from March 1st to May 15th: 304 units rented with an Average Price of $2,053.52

This is a year over year increase of 12.1%

If we head north to UPTOWN:

2010 from March 1st to May 15th: 87 unit rented with an Average Price of $1,393.36

2011 from March 1st to May 15th: 126 units rented with an Average Price of $1,393.40

Virtually no change at all! While more units were put on the MLS for rent, rents remained stable.

Again, if we head even further North to EDGEWATER:

2010 from March 1st to May 15th: 73 units rented with an Average Price of $1,158.22

2011 from March 1st to May 15th: 109 units rented with an Average Price of $1,188.86

This is a 2.6% increase from the same time last year. A very modest increase, something that can be expected in a healthy economy.

So the question is, why are certain areas seeing rent increases and others not? Well, I believe there several factors.

Areas such as Lincoln Park and Lakeview are very desirable. As incomes start to increase again for those who have jobs, these are the first areas people want to live in and move to. For those who are new to Chicago, these are the areas where all the restaurants and bars are. These are the areas where many Chicago transplants may have friends and family living. It is a natural area to look for a place to rent if you are new to Chicago, if you are moving out from your parents home, etc.

What I believe is fueling the demand and increase in the # of rentals for Edgewater and Uptown are area residents who want to get more for their money. Uptown and Edgewater have nowhere near the amount of bars and restaurants that Lincoln Park and Lakeview do, however, they do offer very nice communities and a much great value for the dollar. I believe throughout the year and into 2012 we will see a steady increase in rent prices in Edgewater and Uptown, however, nothing in double digits. Furthermore, I believe we will see continued growth in rent prices in Lincoln Park and Lakeview, however, we are starting to near a ceiling. 15.6% growth in Lakeview is simply not sustainable, especially when there are neighboring communities, along the same transportation routes for a fraction of the cost.

The last contributing factor are the sales prices are condos in these areas. Areas such as Uptown and Edgewater saw a great decrease in prices over recent years, while Lincoln Park and Lakeview simply did not. Therefore, rents have more room to increase in Lakeview and Lincoln Park because housing did not decline to levels that entice renters to give up their flexibility and buy a home. However, in Uptown and Edgewater there are many properties that have declined in price 20%, 30%, and even more in price and the perceived value of buying in these areas versus renting are greater. 


WATERVIEW TOWER – 111 W. Wacker Might be Apartments?

Photo by Stephen J. Serio - Crain's Chicago Business

All those who know downtown Chicago know the above building. The site that was once to be a 90 story luxury tower comprised of luxurious residents and the ever so sought after Shangri-la Hotel has been left only partially started. It has been an eyesore in the downtown landscape for more than 2 years. Several attempts to convert the building to a hotel and office space have failed and there is a new developer that is trying to step up to the plate to see if they can turn their plan for the building into Reality.

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Related Midwest has signed a LOI (Letter of Intent) to enter into a joint venture agreement with the current owners of the property (the original developer’s creditors). Related has a plan for the 111 W. Wacker site that is now “all the rage.” Related would like to turn this site into apartments. The location is fantastic for such a building that it would appear to be a no brainer right? What is holding them back?

Two basic items: Financing and Construction. Converting any existing structure away from its original use can be very expensive. Related may look at the costs to convert this half started structure to apartments and simply walk away. Only research will tell. Secondly, financing can be a concern. While financing has opened up in the past 18 months, and especially so for apartment developers, it is still difficult to come by. Related, however, has an excellent track record and should have no problem obtaining financing. But, we have all heard that before.

What is shocking to me, are the amount of developers moving into apartments. Do you remember the boom times when every developer started building condos? Thousands were coming on-line…well we are seeing something similar here. Crain’s reports that three apartment buildings in the greater downtown area are currently under construction with another 11 in the planning stages. If all 14 projects are able to obtain financing and come to fruition, these buildings would mean that more than 5100 new apartments will hit the market. That is a relatively large number I think. I wonder if the current demand will be sustainable in order to absorb the massive influx of supply.

Since the beginning of 2009 more than 4000 units have alrady hit the market and demand has still outpaced supply. However, what is the tipping point and when will it tip? The big money doesn’t appear to see any end in site. 1 W. Superior place just sold for $320 Million, which equates to $396,000 per unit. The property was last sold in 2007 for $218 Million. Not a bad return in only 4 years huh?