Although my last post provided 3 different sets of data that suggest that Chicago housing prices will continue to decline the local employment numbers actually paint the opposite picture. A while back I wrote about how employment in Chicago is a primary driver of housing demand. Surprisingly, a few months later the numbers continue to look encouraging. As you can see in the chart below the trend through April (the most recent month available) is still up.
On a year over year basis April employment is up 1.5% over April of the previous year. Although the growth rate has slowed in Chicago employment is still growing – to the tune of almost 70,000 people in the last year. All those workers need a place to live, which may explain why home prices haven’t declined more than they have. Of course, those 70,000 people are spread out over a large area that includes all the surrounding suburbs and Joliet but it’s still a large number. The question is whether or not those extra workers are going to absorb the excess inventory that is on the market right now.