Chicago lags behind other major U.S. cities in 2019 homebuilding

Only about 18,000 new housing units -- or 19 units per 10,000 people -- were built in the Chicago area last year

TRD CHICAGO /
Apr.April 03, 2020 01:00 PM
(Credit: iStock)

(Credit: iStock)

Even with the Downtown apartment boom, Chicago fell behind other other major U.S. cities in homebuilding last year.

In 2019, Chicago built the smallest share of new housing units among the country’s 10 biggest metropolitan areas and its pace of housing construction was half of the nation’s, according to a recent Construction Coverage study cited in a Crain’s report.

Nineteen housing units were built for every 10,000 people in the Chicago area last year, compared to the nationwide rate of nearly 42 housing units per 10,000 people.

Population loss was behind Chicago’s poor performance, an expert told Crain’s.

The Chicago area was the only top-10 metro that lost population between 2013 and 2018, with a 0.4 percent decline in that six-year period, the study determined.

Builders have a hard time developing competitively-priced homes due to slow growth in the resale price of existing homes, partly caused by population loss and high property taxes, according to the report.

About 18,000 new housing units were built in the Chicago area in 2019. In Miami, a city that’s two-thirds the size of Chicago, almost 21,000 units were built.

In the 10 largest U.S. metros, Los Angeles had the second-smallest rate of new construction after Chicago, while Houston (about 88 new units per 10,000 people) and Dallas (83 units) had the highest.

[Crain’s] — Brianna Kelly


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