On Thursday, August 20 during the Fall Member Outreach & Annual Business Meeting event, we were joined by Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist and senior vice president of research, who shared his insights for a special economic update focused on the Chicagoland area. Here’s what he had to say:
Unemployment Rates in Illinois Remain High
As of June 2020, the Illinois unemployment rate was at 14.6%, one of the highest rates in the United States. This is potentially a result of the stricter lockdown enforcements that we had during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Total payroll jobs are down 9.5% from last year, compared to a nationwide decline of only 7.5%. But, possibly as a result of the stimulus package, personal wealth has increased in Chicago over the past few months.
Spending Activity Has Decreased
Although we saw an increase in personal wealth, with the closure of stores, restaurants, bars and entertainment, spending has decreased significantly and consumers are saving money as opposed to spending it.
Rent is Still Being Paid
Broadly speaking, most people in Chicago are still paying rent. In April of this year, 85% of renters paid their rent, which is only down about 5% in comparison to April 2019; this rate has only continued to increase since April.
Home Sales are Bouncing Back
In March and April when the pandemic began, home sales declined as a result of the lockdown. Since then, there has been an increase in sales; pending sales in June shot up significantly, showing a higher rate than even a year ago.
Shift to Suburban Living
As more people are looking at an unknown timeline of working from home, homebuyers nationwide are looking to the suburbs for homes, as commutes to work are becoming less frequent.
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