Skip to main content

See also:

Changes in Chicago's real estate

Chicago experienced many changes in the real estate market in the last sixty years. As in the early days of rapid development and land speculation, these changes had a profound effect on the city, especially in the central city area. Some of these changes challenged the city and forced lawmakers to make difficult decisions. As construction resumed, skyscrapers popped up everywhere, but this trend didn’t continue.

The vastness of Chicago
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Beginning in the 1940s, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) constructed housing projects to provide low-cost housing for impoverished Chicagoans who had migrated from southern states in search of jobs and a better life. They came from rural areas and were often unprepared for city life. These housing developments eventually became overwhelmed with crime, drugs and deteriorated with neglect. Nearly all were demolished by 2011. Residents of these projects eventually found safer housing. newsone.com>NewsOneOriginal

Recovery from the construction slowdown during WWII and the freeze on office building in the Loop, a new age in skyscraper building began with the Prudential Building in 1955. A flurry of new developments replaced distressed areas. New building projects, sixty-seven total buildings, altered the downtown area after 1960 and into the 21st Century. aviewoncities>Chicago>ChicagoAttractions

In the late 1900s, Chicago’s population growth decreased, and the cycles of boom and bust slowed with this decline in population. The elaborate overbuilding of office buildings continued in spite of double-digit vacancy rates. Many of these nearly empty buildings were later converted into residential units.

The housing market continued to experience growth as the city prospered in 2000, and the population increased for the first time since 1950. Interest rates remained low encouraging investment in real estate. High-rise apartment buildings, condominiums, townhouses and single-family units were constructed throughout the city. When economic recession plagued the nation in 2008, Chicago’s real estate market also suffered setbacks.