On May 28, the Cook County Assessor’s Office (CCAO) released specifics on how property valuations would change for the South and West suburbs from the impact of COVID-19. While the CCAO is following the South Tri reassessment schedule, the office intends to produce additional reports on valuation changes for the North suburbs and Chicago “very soon.”
For residential valuations, the CCAO correlated unemployment and home values. Each of Cook County’s 1,319 census tracts has been assigned an estimated unemployment rate based on industry-specific numbers and COVID Employment Reductions. Additionally, the CCAO estimated how much housing prices in each region will decline by using historical data from the Case-Shiller Chicago-area Home Price Index and data from publicly traded single-family home (SFH) Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). Finally, the CCAO applied adjustments to homes in each neighborhood of the South and West Suburbs.
- Single-family homes and condominiums had an adjusted range of -8.0 to -12.2% (or a median of -10.3%)
- Multi-family homes (2 to 6 units) had an adjusted range of -10.0 to -15.2% (or a median of -13.1%)
For commercial valuations, the type (retail, office, industrial, etc.) of property and investor class were analyzed. Think of investor classes as international, national or local. Each investor class will have a desired capitalization (cap) rate to make investment decisions. The neighborhood cap rate was 50 to 150 basis points higher than international (or institutional) investors in January 2020.
Depending upon property type, the CCAO predicted the following:
- Apartment rent collections will lower for April and May.
- Retail rent collections will significantly lower for March, April and May.
- Hotel rent collections will be under pressure for an extended period of time.
- Restaurants and public entertainment will be under pressure for an extended period of time.
- Supermarkets, drug stores, warehouses and technology sector will perform well.
Following the predicted impacted commercial sectors, the CCAO then analyzed publicly-traded REITs. A change of the Estimated Value (EV) was applied to each commercial class. Basis point capitalization rate adjustments were then applied to commercial property types. The cap rate adjustment will be made to all commercial properties that are not vacant.
While these valuation changes are applied to the South and West suburbs, it is important to understand how the CCAO will be using data to make valuation adjustments. Cook County establishes a budget in advance of assessing property values so adjustments in one area will put pressure on other areas to pick up reductions. This uncertainty continues to produce anxiety for owners throughout the county.