A look at the property investment potential in Chicago and its up-and-coming Hyde Park neighbourhood in the city’s South Side

Chicago Fundamentals

Well known for its striking architecture, Chicago is one of the largest cities in the US. Set on the picturesque Lake Michigan among acres of national parks and forests, it is a desirable place to reside as well. Nevertheless, the city remains one of the most undervalued Global Financial Cities by UBS, with the Case-Shiller condo index still showing property prices as being 17% below their 2007 peak levels.

The third-most populous US city, Chicago is home to 2.7 million people, while its metropolitan area has an estimated population of 9.55 million as of May 2016. The bustling city has a growing tech scene, with total tech employment jumping 34.9% in the five years to July 2016. Employment in the government sector, the fourth largest employment sector in Chicago, is also looking positive – gaining 11,400 jobs, an increase of 2.1%, during the three months ending in April 2016. As at 2015, 36 Fortune 500 companies were headquartered in Chicago, while last year the city was named the best in the US to invest in startups by PitchBook, a Seattle-based research firm.

Downtown Chicago will see major development in new properties with 8,700 apartments expected to be delivered in the next two years. Demand has shifted out towards more affordable suburban districts, driving landlords to implement moderate rent hikes. The suburban occupancy rate remains at over 96%.

Investing in Hyde Park

One of the suburbs which has benefitted from this ripple effect is Hyde Park, a neighbourhood on Chicago’s South Side.

Just a 15-minute journey by car to The Loop, the area is also well connected via Hyde Park Metro station, which is just 2 stops (4 minutes) from the University of Chicago and 6 stops (15 minutes) from Downtown Chicago. The area itself is easy to get around with a walk score of 85/100 and a bike score of 95/100.

Hyde Park is also a very self-sufficient neighbourhood. Characterised by historic architecture, a diverse population and plenty of green space, the area also hosts a premier arts, culture, retail and dining scene. Hyde Park is also home to the University of Chicago (UChicago), which Times Higher Education ranked 10th in their 2016 list of top universities in the world.

Hyde Park offers a variety of housing options and boasts great affordability relative to the rest of the Chicago, making it particularly attractive to potential investors and residents alike. In the last year, median home sales have increased by 5% in the area.

Those looking to live in Hyde Park will be joining a burgeoning neighbourhood with big plans for regeneration. Recent announcements include the USD500 million Obama Presidential Library, 53rd Street’s revitalisation and a Tiger Woods-designed golf course in nearby Jackson Park. These investments have sparked global interest and are expected to bring an economic boost to the city.

Hyde Park

UChicago’s development is also underway as it seeks to grow its student base through offering a wider variety of courses and degrees. It has also committed to investing USD750 million in the local area in the three years from January 2016. Part of the planned spend in the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between the UChicago and the City of Chicago includes the revitalisation of 53rd Street, which will bring a range of restaurants, retail, accommodation and leisure offerings to Hyde Park, further driving economic growth, local and international tourism and employment opportunities in the area.

Some 81% of the current population have white collar jobs and are well-educated, with 73% of the population holding a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. UChicago is also a major employer in the area. The university and its medical centre employs more than 17,000 people, many of whom live in the community. More than 60% of the institution’s faculty live in Hyde Park, as well as students, which makes for a highly educated demographic of residents. Additionally, the expanding UChicago hospital – which is currently adding a trauma centre, more beds and an overhauled cancer treatment facility – will create further demand for rental accommodation as job opportunities arise. As of October 2016, 65% of properties in Hyde Park were renter occupied, demonstrating strong demand.

As at October 2016, the population of Hyde Park is expected to increase by 2.4% in the next five years. Coupled with the planned development already underway and a limited supply of new residential property, pressure on real estate prices is only set to increase.

Stay tuned for IP Global's new boutique development located in the heart of Hyde Park, within easy walking distance of public transport and retail offerings and in close proximity to the University of Chicago.