Near West Side

http://regionalhousingsolutions.webitects.com/community/near-west-side

Submarkets (What is a submarket?)

40% of Near West Side is in Submarket 3.
Higher density urban, high income, young, high home prices and rents
30% of Near West Side is in Submarket 7.
High population growth, newest housing stock
26% of Near West Side is in Submarket 1.
Higher density urban, high foreclosure and vacancy, low income
4% of Near West Side is in Submarket 5.
Suburban 1960-79 housing stock, moderate but declining incomes, lower cost stock

Areas with a similar combination of these submarkets:

  1. Edgewater
  2. Evanston
  3. Hyde Park
  4. Lake View
  5. Lincoln Park
  6. Lincoln Square
  7. Logan Square
  8. Loop
  9. Near North Side
  10. North Center
  11. Oak Park
  12. Uptown
  13. West Town

Want to find housing data for your community? Download U.S. Census housing data and use the Homes for a Changing Region data guide to analyze it.


Issues + strategies

Most communities have multiple submarkets within their boundaries. The issues facing each submarket as well as strategies tailored to address them are outlined below.

Submarkets with primary focus
Issue 1 3 5 7
Accessibility and visitability

Submarket 7

Improving accessibility and visitability can prepare communities for a growing senior population. A growing senior population raises concerns about whether submarket 7 communities are prepared as accessible and visitable places to live. As new housing is built or current housing is rehabilitated, attention should be given to make sure that housing will address the present and future needs of this population. Some submarket 7 exurban neighborhoods were built without important pedestrian infrastructure, like sidewalks and crosswalks. Figuring out how to retrofit such infrastructure into existing neighborhoods would also improve accessibility, as well as position communities to remain attractive as market preferences change.

Strategies (expand all)

Age-friendly neighborhoods Communities should create local amenities that will appeal to people of all ages, from young families to seniors.
Communities should create local amenities that will appeal to people of all ages, from young families to seniors. A community can best meet its social and economic demands by having a healthy balance of people from all age groups. Nevertheless, municipalities need to plan for amenities that can attract and retain residents. Neighborhood parks, public spaces and community art spaces such as Karcher Artspace Lofts in Waukegan and those created by Batavia, are only a few of the central elements of an age-friendly community. For seniors that want to live independently in the community, having access to services is vital. Municipalities should think about the development of senior housing/services complexes strategically, and ideally should locate them near transit stations and commercial areas. Such developments can be helped by specific transit oriented development ordinances like Chicago’s, which allow increased residential density and reduced parking requirements. Sunset Woods in Highland Park and Thomas Place in Glenview are great examples of developments that came to fruition because of strong collaboration between developers and municipalities. The Northwest Suburban Housing Collaborative’s Handyman Program is an innovative senior service program that connects seniors to low-cost maintenance services and helps them to live independently in their homes. Read more about age-friendly policies.
Value of housing planning Municipalities should invest in long-term planning to identify policies and tools that prepare its housing stock for the future.
Municipalities should invest in long-term planning to identify policies and tools that prepare its housing stock for the future. Via planning tools like the Homes for a Changing Region Toolkit, municipalities can better understand current and future housing needs in their communities and develop strategies to move toward a more “balanced” housing stock. Around the region, communities have been drawing on the principles of accessibility and sustainability to create healthier and safer housing.
Attracting investment

Submarket 5

Communities will need to develop creative strategies to attract additional investment and development. Incentivizing infill can be difficult in mostly built-out areas. Many financial institutions do not provide mortgage products for homes at lower price points, limiting the ability to attract new families into some neighborhoods. Rehab may be needed in some areas, but homeowners may not be able to tap into equity loans because of poor market conditions. High property tax rates in some communities prohibit investment and limit affordability.

Strategies (expand all)

Approach to rehabilitation Municipal rehab programs can help certain residents address issues of deferred property maintenance.
Municipal rehab programs can help certain residents address issues of deferred property maintenance. Municipalities in Cluster 5 may consider developing rehab grant or loan programs for certain income-qualified homeowners. Many municipalities around the region have developed these programs, some with the support of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding (Oak Park, Evanston) and others through their own municipal sources (East Dundee). Neighborhood Lending Services, Inc. (NLS) offers fixed rate home improvement loans in certain areas of the region. Municipalities in these areas should assist NHS with marketing to residents. Municipalities may also want to consider partnering with local banks to explore the development of a rehab financing product for their residents. Read more about the many different models of rehabilitation programs in the region.
Land banking Land banks can be used as a strategic tool to acquire problem vacant properties and convert them into assets.
Land banks can be used as a strategic tool to acquire problem vacant properties and convert them into assets. Land banks are governmental entities or nonprofit corporations that focus on the conversion of vacant, abandoned and tax delinquent properties into productive use and have proved to be a useful tool to help reinvent and revitalize neighborhoods. Most vacant and abandoned properties have many legal and financial barriers, such as years of back taxes and clouded title that make it difficult to attract investors. Land banks have the ability to hold land tax-free and clear title and/or extinguish back taxes, which can be essential when trying to attract buyers and investment. Land banks can work in partnership with municipalities to advance community-based goals. There are two successful examples of land banks in Illinois, in both the south suburbs and Cook County, and other areas of the region struggling with issues of vacancy and blight might consider the use of land banking as a tool in their community. The Center for Community Progress is a good starting point to learning about land banking. Learn more about strategies to deal with vacant property.
Placemaking and marketing strategies Communities should develop strategies to create greater neighborhood identity in order to encourage additional private sector investment.
Communities should develop strategies to create greater neighborhood identity in order to encourage additional private sector investment. Municipalities can make a concerted effort to enhance neighborhood character in Submarket 5 through strategic public investments such as neighborhood branding/signage, streetlights, sidewalks, etc. Public sector investment will likely signal to the private market a commitment to an area and make it more attractive for additional resources. Learn about placemaking strategies.
Review regulations affecting real estate development To better compete for private market real estate investments, communities can preemptively inventory and update development regulations.
To better compete for private market real estate investments, communities can preemptively inventory and update development regulations. Development regulations protect community health, character, and safety, but can also sometimes be outdated or create unintended barriers to private investment. Some regulations are especially onerous and limit developer interest in investment, while others prohibit forms of development the community may wish to allow. For instance, density limitations may prohibit condo buildings in communities’ historic downtowns. Large minimum lot sizes may prevent the development of starter homes or housing for older community residents. Similarly, point-of-sale requirements may excessively extend home sale transaction timelines. Communities should audit and potentially refresh existing regulations to ensure that they are not creating unintended or unnecessary barriers to development. Assistance may be available through the Urban Land Institute or local associations of realtors to help evaluate perceptions among private market actors of the difficulty of working in the community.
Attracting younger families

Submarket 7

Exurban communities have an opportunity to attract younger families by striking the right balance between affordable homes and amenities. Younger families generally need affordable starter home price points in order to become new homebuyers. Additionally, providing amenities such as walkable neighborhoods, parks, and open spaces can help to meet the preferences of younger generations, such as increased interest in biking and walking and more compact home environments.

Strategies (expand all)

Age-friendly neighborhoods Communities should create local amenities that will appeal to people of all ages, from young families to seniors.
Communities should create local amenities that will appeal to people of all ages, from young families to seniors. A community can best meet its social and economic demands by having a healthy balance of people from all age groups. Nevertheless, municipalities need to plan for amenities that can attract and retain residents. Neighborhood parks, public spaces and community art spaces such as Karcher Artspace Lofts in Waukegan and those created by Batavia, are only a few of the central elements of an age-friendly community. Read more about age-friendly policies.
Inclusionary zoning Communities can use strong markets to create affordable housing.
Communities can use strong markets to create affordable housing. Inclusionary zoning efforts naturally work well in strong markets, leveraging the construction of new market rate units to add affordable units. Many communities in the region have adopted inclusionary zoning ordinances, including Chicago (ARO), Evanston, Highland Park, and Lake Forest.

Affordable requirements ordinance (ARO): Chicago adopted a new inclusionary housing ordinance in 2015. A number of stakeholders identified potential positives and negatives in the ARO. Yet, because the ordinance is so new, it remains to be seen how market rate developers will comply. Monitoring its implementation will help other communities understand whether it will serve as a model.
Land trusts Land trusts can provide affordable housing in perpetuity by owning land and leasing it to those who live in houses built on that land.
Land trusts can provide affordable housing in perpetuity by owning land and leasing it to those who live in houses built on that land. Land trusts, like those operating in Chicago and the North Shore, are often an effective tool in helping preserve currently affordable units due to a land trust’s unique ownership structure. When a land trust sells a unit to an owner, they only sell the improvements (i.e. the home), but not the land underneath. As a result, a household can purchase a home for substantially less than what it would ordinarily cost.
Repurpose and redevelop property Communities should evaluate existing zoning and take stock of existing infrastructure when making decisions about redevelopment.
Communities should evaluate existing zoning and take stock of existing infrastructure when making decisions about redevelopment. Overdeveloped and vacant retail areas can be rezoned for mixed-use developments or housing. When adding multi-family units near transit, municipalities should consider lower parking requirements to relieve congestion and encourage walkability. Mundelein’s Downtown Design Guidelines, Glenview’s Downtown Development Code, and Libertyville’s payment in lieu of required parking policy are all great examples of how to create a more efficient built environment.
Rethink unfinished planned unit developments The time is right to explore the future of stalled developments.
The time is right to explore the future of stalled developments. As stalled planned unit developments come back online, more diverse housing options should be included. Now that the market is recovering in many exurban areas of this submarket, municipalities should put some thought into planned unit developments that were never completed due to the housing downturn. Municipalities should consider supporting more diverse housing types to be built in these developments, including small-lot single family housing as well as multi-generational housing. HomeTown Aurora and Georgetown in Batavia are examples of developments that offer varied housing options.
Code issues

Submarket 1

Striking a balance between code enforcement to protect health and safety and the reality of existing building conditions can be challenging. Many properties in Submarket 1 are more than 75 years old and not in compliance with regulations that ensure the health and safety of residents, including children who may be exposed to lead paint. Finding the right balance for addressing code issues is key for local leaders in these communities. Too aggressive enforcement can lead to vacancy and reduce neighborhood stability because building owners cannot afford to make all required repairs. Too lenient enforcement can lead to households living in unsafe or unsanitary conditions. The results of either approach compound over time and can serve as a deterrent to future permitted, market-driven rehabilitation.

Strategies (expand all)

Approach to rehabilitation Municipal rehab programs can help residents address issues of deferred property maintenance.
Municipal rehab programs can help residents address issues of deferred property maintenance. Municipalities, counties, and non-profits have developed many different models for how to operate local rehabilitation programs. The key to success is choosing a structure that matches the size and scope of the code issues in the targeted community and matches the financial condition of building owners. Read more about the many different models of rehabilitation programs in the region. In this market, grants may be the best approach.
Rental unit monitoring and regulation Effective municipal regulation, coupled with pro-active strategies and incentives, can improve rental housing quality and reduce problems.
Effective municipal regulation, coupled with pro-active strategies and incentives, can improve rental housing quality and reduce problems. Renters make up the largest group of households in Submarket 1. Due to challenges with the age and physical condition of buildings in Submarket 1 neighborhoods, communities may have concerns about the quality of the existing rental stock. Rental unit monitoring and regulation can help ensure good management of local apartments. In order to maximize their authority under state law, municipalities need to review the structure of their existing rental unit monitoring and regulations. Municipalities may want to consider implementing a performance-based rental regulation ordinance such as the one in place in the Village of Addison. Municipalities may also want to point owners of multifamily rental property to the abundance of resources at the Community Investment Corporation (CIC) for financing, energy efficiency, and property management training. Learn about best practice rental regulation strategies.

Submarket 5

Finding a balance between too aggressive and too lenient code enforcement can be difficult. In some parts of Submarket 5, where the market is weaker, communities struggle to find the right balance in addressing code issues. Too aggressive enforcement can lead to vacancy and reduced neighborhood stability because building owners cannot afford to make all the repairs. Burdensome point of sale requirements may deter new investment in the community, and challenges with staff capacity can often result in long waiting periods to complete required inspections. On the other hand, too lenient enforcement can lead to deteriorating property conditions and households living in unsafe or unsanitary homes. The results of either approach compound over time and can serve as a deterrent to future market-driven rehabilitation.

Strategies (expand all)

High priority property maintenance liens Municipalities should utilize priority liens to recover costs incurred for securing and maintaining abandoned residential property.
Municipalities should utilize priority liens to recover costs incurred for securing and maintaining abandoned residential property. Illinois law allows for priority liens for securing and maintaining abandoned residential property. The law applies to any type of permanent dwelling unit that has been unoccupied for at least 90 days and for which the municipality attempted to contact the owner(s) or the owner’s agent(s) but was unable to reach anyone. It covers the removal of weeds, trees, bushes, grass, garbage, debris, or graffiti, and securing or enclosing the property. Liens obtained under this law are superior to all other liens, except taxes. Under this law, municipalities recover their expenses after taxes are paid but before the mortgage is recovered. Thus, municipalities will recover even when the value of the property is less than the value of the mortgage. If municipalities are maintaining vacant property in their community, they should be sure to go through the necessary steps to file a high priority lien on the property. The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and Business and Professional People for the Public Interest’s (BPI) publication on Vacant Building Ordinances provides detailed information and step-by-step guidance on this process. Learn more about strategies to deal with vacant property.
Rental unit monitoring and regulation Effective municipal regulation, coupled with pro-active strategies and incentives, can improve rental housing quality and reduce problems.
Effective municipal regulation, coupled with pro-active strategies and incentives, can improve rental housing quality and reduce problems. With the number of rental properties in this Submarket, municipalities need to review the structure of their rental unit monitoring and regulation efforts to make sure that they are maximizing authority under state law while effectively maintaining the quality of the local rental stock. Municipalities may want to consider implementing a performance-based rental regulation ordinance such as the one in place in the Village of Addison. Municipalities may also want to point owners of multifamily rental properties to the abundance of resources at the Community Investment Corporation (CIC) for financing, energy efficiency, and property management training. Learn about best practice rental regulation strategies.
Strategic code enforcement on vacant properties Code enforcement departments should create targeted intervention strategies based on certain property characteristics.
Code enforcement departments should create targeted intervention strategies based on certain property characteristics. Maintenance of vacant and abandoned property is important in order to not deter additional investment in a neighborhood. Some municipalities have reported that boarding vacant properties actually discourages neighborhood investment and the best strategy is to make a property appear occupied. Code enforcement departments should maintain vacant property to the best of their ability and issue priority property maintenance liens as necessary. Even sending a notice to a property owner that a priority lien will be issued may encourage an owner to pay past fines or start taking an interest in the property. However, it is important for code enforcement departments to also make a plan when it is clear that the owner of a property is no longer being responsive. Outlining a strategy to identify properties that may need more aggressive intervention is important. At a certain point when the owner is no longer responding it may be more cost efficient in the long run to intervene with a more aggressive strategy. Communities must be willing to utilize the full arsenal of enforcement tools, including demolition or declaration of abandonment, if necessary. Learn more about strategies to deal with vacant property.
Utilize demolition, fast-track, and abandonment authority More aggressive strategies may be needed when owners become unresponsive.
More aggressive strategies may be needed when owners become unresponsive. When it is clear an owner of a vacant property is no longer being responsive, municipalities should consider more aggressive strategies. The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and BPI’s publication on Vacant Building Ordinances provides detailed information and step-by-step guidance on abandonment, fast track demolition, and declaration of abandonment. Some south suburban municipalities have used their abandonment authority to take control of problem properties and then partner with the South Suburban Land Bank to transfer ownership of these properties to responsible owners. The Village of Lansing has been using abandonment petitions to gain control of vacant properties, reduce strain on municipal resources, and attract investment. Learn more about strategies to deal with vacant properties.
Community resistance

Submarket 3

Community resistance can stymy new housing options. Despite the higher incomes for some submarket 3 households, developers do not report frequent community resistance issues relative to other submarkets. Some believe this is because of the greater mix of ages and incomes present in submarket 3. Others feel this is because many submarket 3 communities have a natural constituency of non-profits, community organizations, and residents who will support new development, including for low-and moderate-income households. A few mentioned the value of strong political leadership in setting the tone for a desire for balanced housing types and acceptance of people from across the income spectrum. That said, resistance in submarket 3 is less than in other areas, but not absent. Some projects do run into resistance due to concerns about parking, traffic, density, height, and income of occupants.

Strategies (expand all)

Community education Targeted efforts to build support for diversity of housing stock and people can help address community resistance.
Targeted efforts to build support for diversity of housing stock and people can help address community resistance. Many groups, including elected officials, government staff, non-profits, and citizens, have explored ways to build community support for new housing types and greater local diversity. Utilizing these models in submarket 3 can help address community resistance issues. Read more about the many different best practices.
Value of housing planning Using tools like Homes for a Changing Region can be valuable.
Using tools like Homes for a Changing Region can be valuable. In the midst of a strong market, it can be hard to find space to step back and think about over-arching issues. Yet, communities that undertake local housing planning, such as that done through Homes for a Changing Region, benefit from a clear vision of the types of housing needed by the community and can be less reactive to new proposals.
Foreclosure

Submarket 1

Although filings have slowed down, foreclosures are still more common in Submarket 1 communities than elsewhere in the region. In Illinois, foreclosure is a long process, generally taking many months—if not years—from the initial filing to the final disposition of the foreclosed property. In many instances, properties stand empty for long periods after residents are evicted but before the foreclosure is resolved. Long-term vacancy accelerates physical deterioration as property security and maintenance decline. Blighted foreclosures threaten community safety and quality of life by triggering declines in nearby property values and increased incidences of arson, vandalism, and other crimes.

Strategies (expand all)

Dealing with foreclosure Local supports can help families and individuals impacted by foreclosure.
Local supports can help families and individuals impacted by foreclosure. Foreclosure continues to be an issue throughout Submarket 1 communities. Local officials, non-profits, and community institutions should become acquainted with local HUD-certified housing counseling agencies in order to connect residents with counseling resources, including mortgage delinquency and foreclosure prevention options. Housing Action Illinois can introduce communities to available counseling programs and services for owners. Renters are also adversely affected by foreclosure, often suffering deteriorating building conditions and ultimately eviction. To protect renters, communities may wish to explore local rules similar to the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance to establish rights for tenants during foreclosure.
High priority property maintenance liens Municipalities should utilize priority liens to recover costs incurred for securing and maintaining abandoned residential property.
Municipalities should utilize priority liens to recover costs incurred for securing and maintaining abandoned residential property. Illinois law allows for priority liens for securing and maintaining abandoned residential property. The law applies to any type of permanent dwelling unit that has been unoccupied for at least 90 days and for which the municipality attempted to contact the owner(s) or the owner’s agent(s) but was unable to reach anyone. It covers the removal of weeds, trees, bushes, grass, garbage, debris, or graffiti, and securing or enclosing the property. Liens obtained under this law are superior to all other liens, except taxes. Under this law, municipalities recover their expenses after taxes are paid but before the mortgage is recovered. Thus, municipalities will recover even when the value of the property is less than the value of the mortgage. If municipalities are maintaining vacant property in their community, they should be sure to go through the necessary steps to file a high priority lien on the property. The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and Business and Professional People for the Public Interest’s (BPI) publication on Vacant Building Ordinances provides detailed information and step-by-step guidance on this process. Learn more about strategies to deal with vacant property.
Housing counseling Local supports can help families and individuals impacted by foreclosure.
Local supports can help families and individuals impacted by foreclosure. Foreclosure continues to be an issue throughout Submarket 1 communities. Local officials, non-profits, and community institutions should become acquainted with local HUD-certified housing counseling agencies in order to connect residents with counseling resources, including mortgage delinquency and foreclosure prevention options. Housing Action Illinois can introduce communities to available counseling programs and services for owners. Renters are also adversely affected by foreclosure, often suffering deteriorating building conditions and ultimately eviction. To protect renters, communities may wish to explore local rules similar to the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance to establish rights for tenants during foreclosure.
Land banking Land banks can be used as a strategic tool to acquire problem vacant properties and convert them into assets.
Land banks can be used as a strategic tool to acquire problem vacant properties and convert them into assets. Land banks are governmental entities or nonprofit corporations that focus on the conversion of vacant, abandoned and tax delinquent properties into productive use and have proved to be a useful tool to help reinvent and revitalize neighborhoods. Most vacant and abandoned properties have many legal and financial barriers, such as years of back taxes and clouded title that make it difficult to attract investors. Land banks have the ability to hold land tax-free and clear title and/or extinguish back taxes, which can be essential when trying to attract buyers and investment. Land banks can work in partnership with municipalities to advance community-based goals. There are two successful examples of land banks in Illinois, in both the south suburbs and Cook County, and other areas of the region struggling with issues of vacancy and blight might consider the use of land banking as a tool in their community. The Center for Community Progress is a good starting point to learning about land banking. Learn more about strategies to deal with vacant property.
Resource targeting Targeting resources can increase their impact.
Targeting resources can increase their impact. Submarket 1 neighborhoods often attract funding to address local issues because of evidence of distress, like more foreclosures and high levels of cost-burden. To ensure those resources maximize impact, communities, program operators, and funders should explore how to work closely in targeting those resources, as was done by Evanston with its Neighborhood Stabilization Program or Chicago with its Micro-Market Recovery Program.
Strategic code enforcement on vacant properties Code enforcement departments should create targeted intervention strategies based on property characteristics.
Code enforcement departments should create targeted intervention strategies based on property characteristics. Maintenance of vacant and abandoned property is important to stem blight and preserve the potential for additional investment in a neighborhood. Some communities have reported that boarding vacant properties actually discourages neighborhood investment, and the best strategy is to make a property appear occupied where possible. Suburban municipalities with Submarket 1 neighborhoods should maintain vacant property to the best of their ability and issue priority property maintenance liens as necessary. Even sending a notice to a property owner that a priority lien will be issued may encourage an owner to pay past fines or start taking an interest in the property. However, it is important for municipalities to develop a code enforcement plan when it is clear that the property has been abandoned. Outlining a strategy to identify properties that may need more aggressive intervention is important and may be more cost efficient in the long run.
Utilize demolition, fast-track, and abandonment authority More aggressive strategies may be needed when owners become unresponsive.
More aggressive strategies may be needed when owners become unresponsive. When it is clear an owner of a vacant property is no longer being responsive, municipalities should consider more aggressive strategies. The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and BPI’s publication on Vacant Building Ordinances provides detailed information and step-by-step guidance on abandonment, fast track demolition, and declaration of abandonment. Some south suburban municipalities have used their abandonment authority to take control of problem properties and then partner with the South Suburban Land Bank to transfer ownership of these properties to responsible owners. The Village of Lansing has been using abandonment petitions to gain control of vacant properties, reduce strain on municipal resources, and attract investment. Learn more about strategies to deal with vacant properties.
Growing senior population

Submarket 1

As local homeowners age, there is a need for appropriate senior housing as well as a pipeline of purchasers for the family homes they are leaving behind. Older adults in Submarket 1 may have trouble accessing reasonably priced housing appropriate for their changing needs, like accommodations for limited mobility. Retrofitting resources along with additional local housing options for seniors are critical to keeping these long-tenured residents in the community. At the same time, developing a pipeline of new owners to take over vacated housing is also important, creating a potential matchmaking role for elected officials, nonprofits, and other institutional actors in Submarket 1.

Strategies (expand all)

Meeting the needs of aging residents As the region ages, it is critical for communities to address the housing needs of older adults.
As the region ages, it is critical for communities to address the housing needs of older adults. Many homeowners in Submarket 1 are aging and in need of high quality housing options that fit their current stage in life. Inside the City of Chicago, low-income seniors who wish to age in place in their longtime homes can secure home modification assistance through the Small Accessible Repairs for Seniors (SARFS) program, which provides grab bars, lever faucets, door repairs, and wheelchair ramps for qualified owners. Federally subsidized apartment buildings limited to seniors can also offer important options for older residents on a fixed income. Finally, communities should also allow diverse living arrangements, including “Families of choice” (groups of individuals who are not biologically related but live together and share a kitchen), multigenerational housing, and housing options for older adults and caregivers to live together. Learn more strategies for creating age-friendly neighborhoods.
Growth creates opportunities

Submarket 7

Growth creates an opportunity to create a more “balanced” housing stock, which can better accommodate households of various sizes and income levels. Whether in the core of the region or at the edges, submarket 7 is growing. That growth creates opportunities. In newly developed communities, new construction creates the chance to create complete communities from the start, with a balanced housing supply that will be resilient to changing housing demand. At the core, this means understanding whether the housing that is being added creates opportunities from across the income spectrum. A more “balanced” housing stock can better accommodate households of various sizes and income levels. While most of the housing stock in the exurban areas of this submarket consists of newer single-family homes, communities can take a new approach that encourages a greater mix of housing types. In Chicago’s downtown core, the City can evaluate the opportunities that new development has created for households across the income spectrum in order to forge a path forward that increases housing equity.

Strategies (expand all)

Community education Targeted efforts to build support for diversity of housing stock and people can help address community resistance.
Targeted efforts to build support for diversity of housing stock and people can help address community resistance. Many groups, including elected officials, government staff, non-profits, and citizens, have explored ways to build community support for new housing types and greater local diversity. Utilizing these models in submarket 7 can help address community resistance issues. Read more about the many different best practices.
Inclusionary zoning Communities can use strong markets to create affordable housing.
Communities can use strong markets to create affordable housing. Inclusionary zoning efforts naturally work well in strong markets, leveraging the construction of new market rate units to add affordable units. Many communities in the region have adopted inclusionary zoning ordinances, including Chicago (ARO), Evanston, Highland Park, and Lake Forest.

Affordable requirements ordinance (ARO): Chicago adopted a new inclusionary housing ordinance in 2015. A number of stakeholders identified potential positives and negatives in the ARO. Yet, because the ordinance is so new, it remains to be seen how market rate developers will comply. Monitoring its implementation will help other communities understand whether it will serve as a model.
Land trusts Land trusts can provide affordable housing in perpetuity by owning land and leasing it to those who live in houses built on that land.
Land trusts can provide affordable housing in perpetuity by owning land and leasing it to those who live in houses built on that land. Land trusts, like those operating in Chicago and the North Shore, are often an effective tool in helping preserve currently affordable units due to a land trust’s unique ownership structure. When a land trust sells a unit to an owner, they only sell the improvements (i.e. the home), but not the land underneath. As a result, a household can purchase a home for substantially less than what it would ordinarily cost.
Repurpose and redevelop property Communities should evaluate existing zoning and take stock of existing infrastructure when making decisions about redevelopment.
Communities should evaluate existing zoning and take stock of existing infrastructure when making decisions about redevelopment. Overdeveloped and vacant retail areas can be rezoned for mixed-use developments or housing. When adding multi-family units near transit, municipalities should consider lower parking requirements to relieve congestion and encourage walkability. Mundelein’s Downtown Design Guidelines, Glenview’s Downtown Development Code, and Libertyville’s payment in lieu of required parking policy are all great examples of how to create a more efficient built environment.
Rethink unfinished planned unit developments The time is right to explore the future of stalled developments.
The time is right to explore the future of stalled developments. As stalled planned unit developments come back online, more diverse housing options should be included. Now that the market is recovering in many exurban areas of this submarket, municipalities should put some thought into planned unit developments that were never completed due to the housing downturn. Municipalities should consider supporting more diverse housing types to be built in these developments, including small-lot single family housing as well as multi-generational housing. HomeTown Aurora and Georgetown in Batavia are examples of developments that offer varied housing options.
Value of housing planning Municipalities should invest in long-term planning to identify policies and tools that prepare its housing stock for the future.
Municipalities should invest in long-term planning to identify policies and tools that prepare its housing stock for the future. Via planning tools like the Homes for a Changing Region Toolkit, municipalities can better understand current and future housing needs in their communities and develop strategies to move toward a more “balanced” housing stock. Around the region, communities have been drawing on the principles of accessibility and sustainability to create healthier and safer housing.
Legacy of disinvestment

Submarket 1

Long-term flight of residents and capital from communities can create barriers to reinvestment. Many communities in Submarket 1 suffer from the long-term loss of businesses and residents, resulting in local populations considerably lower than peak levels reached in the 20th century. Over time, this supply-demand mismatch—exacerbated by related issues like high rates of foreclosure and the historical legacy of racially discriminatory real estate practices—contributed to widespread vacancy and disinvestment in Submarket 1. Prolonged disinvestment drives property abandonment, resulting in demolition in many cases. While demolition may represent an immediate benefit to surrounding residents, high rates of demolition can also create new challenges by disrupting the fabric of the neighborhood.

Strategies (expand all)

Adaptive reuse Opportunities exist to reimagine obsolete buildings as housing or other community amenities.
Opportunities exist to reimagine obsolete buildings as housing or other community amenities. The presence of large older industrial or commercial buildings lends itself adaptive reuse. Recent regional examples of adaptive reuse for housing include the Karcher Artspace Lofts, Goldblatt’s Senior Living, Pullman Wheelworks, and Town Hall Apartments. Adaptive reuse helps to preserve the architectural heritage of communities while providing new uses in unused spaces.
Affirmative marketing Since Submarket 1 communities may suffer from unfounded reputation issues, efforts to showcase the community's assets may help attract new residents and investment.
Since Submarket 1 communities may suffer from unfounded reputation issues, efforts to showcase the community's assets may help attract new residents and investment. However, any marketing campaign must be based in frank self-assessment of existing assets and market realities. The “Why Berwyn?” campaign provides a good example of an asset-based approach to community marketing.
Dealing with foreclosure Local supports can help families and individuals impacted by foreclosure.
Local supports can help families and individuals impacted by foreclosure. Foreclosure continues to be an issue throughout Submarket 1 communities. Local officials, non-profits, and community institutions should become acquainted with local HUD-certified housing counseling agencies in order to connect residents with counseling resources, including mortgage delinquency and foreclosure prevention options. Housing Action Illinois can introduce communities to available counseling programs and services for owners. Renters are also adversely affected by foreclosure, often suffering deteriorating building conditions and ultimately eviction. To protect renters, communities may wish to explore local rules similar to the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance to establish rights for tenants during foreclosure.
Resource targeting Targeting resources can increase their impact.
Targeting resources can increase their impact. Submarket 1 neighborhoods often attract funding to address local issues because of evidence of distress, like more foreclosures and high levels of cost-burden. To ensure those resources maximize impact, communities, program operators, and funders should explore how to work closely in targeting those resources, as was done by Evanston with its Neighborhood Stabilization Program or Chicago with its Micro-Market Recovery Program.
Value of housing planning Planning can help communities address their unique set of assets and challenges.
Planning can help communities address their unique set of assets and challenges. The particular issues that Submarket 1 communities face can be addressed through comprehensive planning, as well as individualized local housing plans, such as through Homes for a Changing Region. These plans may include market analysis to help guide communities toward market-feasible development.
Potential for rapid neighborhood change

Submarket 1

Submarket 1 communities closest to the Chicago central business district with access to rail transit are most vulnerable to rapid redevelopment. Communities in Submarket 1 are primarily located within the City of Chicago, with relatively high levels of access to transportation options. As developer interest in the Chicago city center continues unabated, there is some possibility that outside investors will seek to gain ownership of a large share of properties in some Submarket 1 areas for higher end redevelopment. Developer interest in these communities will likely be highest for those closest to the central business district with access to CTA rail transit.

Strategies (expand all)

Land trusts Communities facing rapid redevelopment may benefit from land trusts that provide affordable housing in perpetuity.
Communities facing rapid redevelopment may benefit from land trusts that provide affordable housing in perpetuity. Land trusts, like those operating in Chicago and the North Shore, are often an effective tool in helping preserve currently affordable units due to a land trust’s unique ownership structure. When a land trust sells a unit to an owner, they only sell the improvements (i.e. the home), but not the land underneath.
Preservation and expansion of affordable housing Subsidized housing resources can help provide individual and community stability, as well as meet economic goals.
Subsidized housing resources can help provide individual and community stability, as well as meet economic goals. Households stably housed in affordable developments have more financial resources available for investment in things like healthy food, prescriptions, and education. While individual subsidized households do not have high disposable incomes, in aggregate, they represent spending power that may be attractive to certain type of retail developments. Adding more affordable housing may, therefore, increase “rooftops” in the community and help jumpstart some forms of commercial development. In addition, new or recently rehabilitated affordable housing creates visible community investment, which may both assure potential developers and build community pride. For example, in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) has transformed hundreds of public housing units at the end of their useful life into the mixed-income Woodlawn Park, spurring the development of new market rate homes in the community.
Promoting market feasible development

Submarket 1

To overcome multiple challenges in Submarket 1, leaders should use realistic, market-based assessments of private market development potential. While Submarket 1 communities struggle with disinvestment and lack of private market interest, there are still interim steps that local elected officials, non-profits, and institutions can take to attract and shape development in the community. However, these steps require strategies based in market realities, and may include encouraging the development of new affordable housing resources in the community.

Strategies (expand all)

Affirmative marketing Since Submarket 1 communities may suffer from unfounded reputation issues, efforts to showcase the community's assets may help attract new residents and investment.
Since Submarket 1 communities may suffer from unfounded reputation issues, efforts to showcase the community's assets may help attract new residents and investment. However, any marketing campaign must be based in frank self-assessment of existing assets and market realities. The “Why Berwyn?” campaign provides a good example of an asset-based approach to community marketing.
Preservation and expansion of affordable housing Subsidized housing resources can help provide individual and community stability, as well as meet economic goals.
Subsidized housing resources can help provide individual and community stability, as well as meet economic goals. Households stably housed in affordable developments have more financial resources available for investment in things like healthy food, prescriptions, and education. While individual subsidized households do not have high disposable incomes, in aggregate, they represent spending power that may be attractive to certain type of retail developments. Adding more affordable housing may, therefore, increase “rooftops” in the community and help jumpstart some forms of commercial development. In addition, new or recently rehabilitated affordable housing creates visible community investment, which may both assure potential developers and build community pride. For example, in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) has transformed hundreds of public housing units at the end of their useful life into the mixed-income Woodlawn Park, spurring the development of new market rate homes in the community.
Value of housing planning Planning can help communities address their unique set of assets and challenges.
Planning can help communities address their unique set of assets and challenges. The particular issues that Submarket 1 communities face can be addressed through comprehensive planning, as well as individualized local housing plans, such as through Homes for a Changing Region. These plans may include market analysis to help guide communities toward market-feasible development.
Proximity

Submarket 5

Communities may have an opportunity to build off of nearby assets. Submarket 5 spans a wide geography across the region, and in many areas there is bordering proximity to assets such as strong school districts and transit lines. Communities within submarket 5 should closely evaluate the relationship of their submarket to other submarkets and assets to take advantage of potential opportunities to attract investment.

Strategies (expand all)

Value of housing planning Using tools like Homes for a Changing Region can be valuable.
Using tools like Homes for a Changing Region can be valuable. In order to determine which strategies to pursue most actively, Submarket 5 communities must establish a market feasible vision for future development. Homes for a Changing Region is a very valuable tool that can help communities identify how to plan for the future of the local housing market and identify which strategies to prioritize.
Rehabilitation challenges

Submarket 1

In certain communities, the cost of renovation may exceed the value of the home or available rehab resources. Some properties in Submarket 1 are in very poor physical condition, making it difficult to renovate them with limited public sector resources, and unfeasible with private sector resources. Banks struggle to underwrite renovation loans when the cost to bring a property up to a reasonable level of repair exceeds the potential sale price for the renovated home. For this reason, low values at sale for homes across Submarket 1 constrain the potential of rehabilitation for particular homes.

Strategies (expand all)

Approach to rehabilitation Municipal rehab programs can help residents address issues of deferred property maintenance.
Municipal rehab programs can help residents address issues of deferred property maintenance. Municipalities, counties, and non-profits have developed many different models for how to operate local rehabilitation programs. The key to success is choosing a structure that matches the size and scope of the code issues in the targeted community and matches the financial condition of building owners. Read more about the many different models of rehabilitation programs in the region. In this market, grants may be the best approach.

Submarket 5

Rehab programs may be underutilized. In response to deferred maintenance and code issues, many communities operate housing rehabilitation programs. These programs are not always heavily used, in part, because the cost of bringing the house up to code exceeds the funding available.

Strategies (expand all)

Approach to rehabilitation Municipal rehab programs can help certain residents address issues of deferred property maintenance.
Municipal rehab programs can help certain residents address issues of deferred property maintenance. Municipalities in Cluster 5 may consider developing rehab grant or loan programs for certain income-qualified homeowners. Many municipalities around the region have developed these programs, some with the support of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding (Oak Park, Evanston) and others through their own municipal sources (East Dundee). Neighborhood Lending Services, Inc. (NLS) offers fixed rate home improvement loans in certain areas of the region. Municipalities in these areas should assist NHS with marketing to residents. Municipalities may also want to consider partnering with local banks to explore the development of a rehab financing product for their residents. Read more about the many different models of rehabilitation programs in the region.
Reputation

Submarket 1

Negative perceptions about community conditions can constrain redevelopment potential. Communities in Submarket 1 suffer from negative reputation issues, whether real or perceived, with the quality of the built environment, performance of local schools, proximity to amenities, and public safety.

Strategies (expand all)

Affirmative marketing Since Submarket 1 communities may suffer from unfounded reputation issues, efforts to showcase the community's assets may help attract new residents and investment.
Since Submarket 1 communities may suffer from unfounded reputation issues, efforts to showcase the community's assets may help attract new residents and investment. However, any marketing campaign must be based in frank self-assessment of existing assets and market realities. The “Why Berwyn?” campaign provides a good example of an asset-based approach to community marketing.
Very strong market

Submarket 3

Strong markets come with benefits and issues. Submarket 3 neighborhoods are among the strongest housing markets in the region. Such strength allows the market to address housing issues that many other areas struggle with, including an older housing stock. Yet, that strong demand makes it challenging to preserve housing opportunities for current residents. Price and rent increases can drive out existing residents. Demand for smaller rental units is strong enough relative to sales prices that developers are de-converting condominiums into apartments. Demand for single-family homes is so much stronger than rentals that developers tear down multiple rental units to build a smaller number of single-family homes. Market specialists think that demand will not abate in the near future since these areas are often close-in with good job and transit access and a form attractive to many households.

Strategies (expand all)

Affordability through reduced parking Reducing parking requirements can help to keep housing costs attainable.
Reducing parking requirements can help to keep housing costs attainable. For communities looking to preserve affordability or help create new housing at more affordable prices, reducing or eliminating parking requirements can help. Higher sales prices or rents must support every additional parking space required by a municipality. The more parking required, the more expensive the development. In Chicago, the Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance (TOD) reduces or eliminates parking requirements near transit while density bonuses for developers who take advantage of the provisions. Many believe that this requirement has helped amplify the rental development boom in strong markets like Logan Square and the West Loop, opening up previously undevelopable parcels for action. In Libertyville, developers can cash-out their parking requirements, paying the village a fee in lieu of parking not provided on-site.
Inclusionary zoning Communities can use strong markets to create affordable housing.
Communities can use strong markets to create affordable housing. Inclusionary zoning efforts naturally work well in strong markets, leveraging the construction of new market rate units to add affordable units. Many communities in the region have adopted inclusionary zoning ordinances, including Chicago (ARO), Evanston, Highland Park, and Lake Forest.

Affordable requirements ordinance (ARO): Chicago adopted a new inclusionary housing ordinance in 2015. A number of stakeholders identified potential positives and negatives in the ARO. Yet, because the ordinance is so new, it remains to be seen how market rate developers will comply. Monitoring its implementation will help other communities understand whether it will serve as a model.
Land trusts Land trusts can provide affordable housing in perpetuity by owning land and leasing it to those who live in houses built on that land.
Land trusts can provide affordable housing in perpetuity by owning land and leasing it to those who live in houses built on that land. Land trusts, like those operating in Chicago and the North Shore, are often an effective tool in helping preserve currently affordable units due to a land trust’s unique ownership structure. When a land trust sells a unit to an owner, they only sell the improvements (i.e. the home), but not the land underneath. As a result, a household can purchase a home for substantially less than what it would ordinarily cost.
Preservation and expansion of affordable housing Preserving affordable housing options can help existing residents stay in changing neighborhoods.
Preserving affordable housing options can help existing residents stay in changing neighborhoods. Dedicated programs designed to preserve lower cost units can help ensure that even as a neighborhood changes, existing residents have an opportunity to remain. For example, Chicago passed the Single-room Occupancy Preservation Ordinance in 2014, which helps non-profits compete with private firms to preserve a targeted unit type. Similarly, the work in Albany Park highlights the value of targeted work by local non-profits to preserve units in areas on the cusp of rapid change.
Weak market demand

Submarket 5

Declining home values put homeowners at risk. Homeowners in Submarket 5 may be particularly challenged due to declining housing values, which puts residents in this submarket the most at risk of having underwater mortgages.

Strategies (expand all)

Housing counseling Communities should familiarize themselves with any HUD certified housing counseling agencies in their area and market their services to residents.
Communities should familiarize themselves with any HUD certified housing counseling agencies in their area and market their services to residents. Housing Action Illinois provides information about housing counseling agencies across the region, which provide an array of housing programs and services. Residents can get access to financial management and budget counseling, mortgage delinquency and default counseling, pre-purchase education, one-on-one homeownership counseling, rental information, fair housing guidance, rehabilitation programs, reverse mortgage counseling, homeless prevention support, predatory lending education, and foreclosure prevention options.
Placemaking and marketing strategies Communities should develop strategies to create greater neighborhood identity in order to encourage additional private sector investment.
Communities should develop strategies to create greater neighborhood identity in order to encourage additional private sector investment. Municipalities can make a concerted effort to enhance neighborhood character in Submarket 5 through strategic public investments such as neighborhood branding/signage, streetlights, sidewalks, etc. Public sector investment will likely signal to the private market a commitment to an area and make it more attractive for additional resources. Learn about placemaking strategies.
Refinancing resources Municipalities should market IHDA's I-REFI program to homeowners who may be underwater on their mortgage.
Municipalities should market IHDA's I-REFI program to homeowners who may be underwater on their mortgage. For homeowners with underwater mortgages, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is offering a new program designed to help homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments but owe more than their home is worth due to declining property values in their community. Through the new I-REFI program, IHDA offers underwater homeowners up to $50,000 in federal assistance to reduce the balance owed on their mortgage and refinance into a new affordable loan based on the current market value of their home. This program may be of particular relevance in Submarket 5 municipalities and should be marketed to residents.

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