Real Estate

Chicagoland's Real Estate Shift: Cook County Down, Kendall Up

Chicago's population drops by 3%, yet Kendall County grows, signaling shifting real estate opportunities.

By Tal Alexander

5/16, 18:58 EDT

Key Takeaway

  • Chicago metro sees a 3% population drop, with Cook County losing 188,000 people or 3.6%, indicating potential real estate market challenges.
  • Kendall County's southwest suburbs show promise with Yorkville leading at a 14.7% population increase, suggesting areas of growth for real estate investment.
  • Despite overall declines, select municipalities like Wonder Lake and Plainfield experience significant growth, highlighting localized opportunities in the Chicagoland real estate market.

Chicago's Population Shift: A Tale of Two Realities

The Chicago metro area is experiencing a significant demographic shift, characterized by a widespread population decline with notable exceptions in certain suburbs, hinting at potential real estate opportunities. According to the Chicago Tribune, the city saw a 3 percent drop in population from 2020 to 2023, losing 81,900 residents. This trend extended to Cook County, which lost 188,000 people, or 3.6 percent of its population, during the same period. Despite these figures, Chicago remains the third-largest city in the U.S. by population. However, the narrative changes when looking at the southwest suburbs of Kendall County, where a burgeoning population growth suggests a contrasting economic vitality.

Kendall County: A Beacon of Growth

In stark contrast to the broader Chicago area, Kendall County's municipalities, with the exception of Aurora, have witnessed significant population increases. Yorkville leads this growth with a 14.7 percent increase, adding 3,160 people to reach a population of 24,700. Other municipalities like Montgomery, Oswego, and Plainfield also saw substantial growth rates of 8.2, 7.1, and 5.7 percent, respectively. This demographic trend not only highlights the uneven nature of population changes within the Chicago metro but also points to Kendall County as a potential hotspot for real estate development and investment.

The Real Estate Implications of Population Dynamics

The population decline in Cook County and the growth in Kendall County and select other suburbs underscore a shifting real estate landscape. Traditionally, population growth has been a key driver for real estate demand, suggesting that areas like Kendall County may soon experience a real estate boom. This is supported by the broader analysis from multiple sources, which speculate on the potential for increased real estate activity in areas showing demographic growth. The contrast between the declining urban core and burgeoning suburbs may prompt developers and investors to recalibrate their strategies, focusing on areas with growing populations.

A Diverging Path Forward

The demographic and real estate trends in the Chicago metro area present a complex picture. On one hand, the population decline in Cook County and much of Chicago could signal challenges for urban real estate markets, potentially leading to decreased demand for housing and commercial spaces. On the other hand, the growth observed in Kendall County and select suburbs suggests emerging opportunities for development and investment in residential and commercial real estate. This divergence invites a nuanced understanding of market dynamics, where location-specific factors play a critical role in shaping real estate strategies.