Downtown Chicago apartment rents bounce back after pandemic

Net rents rose almost 35 percent from 2020’s third quarter and some of the most expensive units have hit all-time highs

(Getty)
(Getty)

The downtown Chicago apartment market has bounced back from the losses suffered in 2020 as buildings fill up and rents approach or exceed record highs. The improvement comes as more professionals return to their offices downtown, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

Occupancy increased in the second quarter by 3,300 units in downtown Chicago in the second quarter, typically the number for a full year.

Figures from Integra show that absorption in the second quarter exceeded 3,300 units in downtown Chicago, which is typically the amount absorbed in a full year.

Ron DeVries, senior managing director for Integra Realty Resources in Chicago, forecasts downtown Chicago this year will have the highest rate of absorption since at least 1999, at 6,500 units.

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That’s a stark contrast to 2020, which saw apartment buildings empty out as the Covid-19 pandemic eliminated the need for many to live close to work. In the fourth quarter of 2020, downtown apartment occupancy dropped to 86.5 percent — the lowest rate in more than 20 years.

With the turnaround, power has shifted back to the landlords, who were offering some months rent free to attract potential tenants. Net rents rose almost 35 percent from 2020’s third quarter and some of the most expensive units have hit an all-time high.

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[Crain’s Chicago Business] — Victoria Pruitt