Market for MLS-listed downtown rentals shows continued strength

About a year ago the inventory of MLS-listed downtown Chicago rentals reached stasis and we stopped tracking it on a weekly basis. A correspondent’s suggestion that the market for MLS-listed rentals was a lot softer this year than at the same time last year prompted us to do an updated tally.

The data don’t lend any support to the notion that this market segment is weaker this year than last. As of two days ago there were 738 MLS-listed rentals in the 14 downtown ZIP codes that we’d been tracking. Last year at this time there were 743 units listed. Two years ago there were 1,050, and 3 years ago there were 1,625.

If anything, the numbers seem to reflect a stronger market this year than last, since current listings include units in managed buildings that had not been represented in the MLS in prior years. There is also anecdotal evidence that a significant number of owners, under water on their mortgages, placed their units in the rental market in the interim and for-sale inventory remains well below year-ago levels.

The aggregated numbers mask significant differences among ZIP Codes:

60601 New East Side – 60 vs 33 last year
60610 Gold Coast, Near North Side, Old Town – 126 vs 83 last year
60611 Gold Coast, Streeterville –178 vs 206 last year
60605 South Loop – 78 vs 95 last year
60622 Bucktown, Wicker Park, East Village, Ukrainian Village – 70 vs 81 last year

It should come as no surprise that SoNo East and 1225 Old Town, both of which opened last year and rented 100s of units, apparently had an impact on the demand for MLS-listed rentals in 60610.

We’ll be tracking the listings with greater regularity, and you can see the data, by date and ZIP code, in this Google Docs spreadsheet.

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