Residents in Chicago and suburban Cook County can now see the composition of their local housing market thanks to a new interactive map from the Institute for Housing Studies (IHS) at DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business. The tool shows users how housing units are broken down block by block and what share are single-family homes, condominiums and multi-unit buildings. This gives insight into how neighborhood distributions compare to citywide or countywide patterns.

The statistics for the map are drawn from county assessor data but repackaged into an easy-to-use format that allows visitors to examine the communities where they live and work. Understanding housing stock is particularly important in the Chicagoland area, which has diverse housing types concentrated in different communities.

Knowing neighborhood housing stock composition can help researchers determine “the appropriate targeted strategies for stabilizing local housing markets, preserving and creating affordable rental housing, and promoting neighborhood investment,” the IHS explains on its website.  The institute, which is based at the Real Estate Center at DePaul, has a mission to provide data and research to inform housing policy decisions.

Click on the picture above to view the Interactive Map.

The data from the map is helping audiences inside and outside Chicago understand the local housing market and its recovery better, while drawing media attention for the center’s efforts to deepen the understanding of these trends. 

A Washington Post story that focused on the map examined how foreclosures hit harder in Chicago’s urban neighborhoods that have few single-family homes. Those areas, which tend to have more two-to-four unit buildings, are seeing different challenges recovering from the housing crisis. Because such buildings often are part of Chicago’s affordable rental stock, when small apartments have gone through foreclosure, those rentals have disappeared.

“We want to see these two-to-four unit buildings be preserved because it’s a unique part of city’s housing stock, and it’s not really a cost-effective type of property to rebuild,” IHS Executive Director Geoff Smith told the Washington Post.

Different compositions of housing stock also play a part in neighborhood value and recovery from foreclosure. As Smith explained to Chicago’s WBEZ, some neighborhoods aren’t recovering quickly, while hot neighborhoods like Lincoln Park are reaching sale prices beyond their original peak.

“Really, the price increase you’re seeing in these stronger markets are more a function of supply and demand dynamics and access to credit. To the extent that [credit] is available is going to be more abundant in those areas because borrowers have stronger financial conditions,” Smith told WBEZ.

DePaul’s institute regularly reports on housing market conditions and prices, as it did in June with the release of the Cook County House Price Index. More research and publications can be found on the IHS website.​

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