In the Chicago multi-family real estate market, endless information seems to be available in regards to Downtown rents and trends, however, the South Side is often overlooked leaving the majority its owners in the dark. Having up-to-date information is a key factor when it comes to the sale and/or management of apartment buildings, so I decided to get to the bottom of what’s happening in the South Side market.

My first step was to talk to those who know the goings on first-hand; so I sent a survey to thousands of multi-family owners in South Shore, Woodlawn, Washington Park, Bronzeville, Hyde Park, Grand Crossing, Chatham, Auburn Gresham, Englewood and several other surrounding neighborhoods. I also spoke directly to many owners to find out their thoughts on the current rental market as well as their predictions on where it’s heading.

The majority of owners felt the rental market is as strong as it’s ever been; citing their current physical and economic vacancies to be as low as they can remember. Finding and keeping quality tenants was also a common response, and although many have been able to push rents higher than years past, most reiterated the importance of keeping a good tenant over an unknown tenant at a greater rental rate.

In what appears to be a “strong and improving” rental market in all areas of Chicago, this carries a relative meaning from neighborhood to neighborhood. In many Downtown and North Side neighborhoods, “strong and improving” means a measurable increase in rental rates. What I took from conversations with South Side owners, “strong and improving” means more qualified and better tenants, which has made a positive impact on economic vacancy and management issues. That said, many owners also felt desirable South Side renters were willing to pay a premium for higher quality finishes in units as well as improved common areas. The supply of quality South Side buildings has certainly grown over the past few years, and the demand from quality tenants has grown right alongside it.

Superior management remains the key factor in success on the South Side. Owners harped on the importance of keeping a clean and well-maintained building, as well as physically having a management presence to ensure successful renting for years to come.

Below are the results of our survey:

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Noah Birk, Broker

Kiser Group Disclaimer: Nothing in property management or leasing is one size fits all. The above is meant to be an overview of the South Side rental market from multiple angles and not a definitive playbook on unit pricing.

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