CHICAGO — A new study shows the effects of the national housing crisis on Chicago neighborhoods: less home ownership and more families renting.
The DePaul University study finds a nearly 12 percent decrease between 2007 and 2011 in the number of city families living in homes they owned.
Meanwhile, the number of households that rented in Chicago was up 10.3 percent between 2007 and 2011, and many such renters found it tough to find affordable space, according to researchers with DePaul's Institute for Housing Studies.
Chicago had 452,238 owner-occupied households in 2011, some 59,000 fewer than in 2007.
About 546,000 Chicago households rented in 2011, an increase of about 52,500 over 2007.
Researchers were interested in comparisons to 2007 because they mark that year as the start of the national housing market crash.
Realtors indicate there are signs the market is coming back in Chicago. But a weak economy, foreclosures, increased difficulty in securing mortgages and a lack of confidence in the housing market contributed to the changes in home ownership, said Geoff Smith, co-author of the study and executive director of the Institute.
Home ownership is important to cities because it can have a stabilizing effect on neighborhoods, Smith said in an interview.
When people own the home they live in, "they tend to be more engaged, more interested" in their communities and more willing to invest locally, Smith said.
Behind the rental stats, the researchers found that lower-income people, some who lost homes they once owned, accounted for much of the increase in demand.
Adjusted for inflation, the city's rents remained flat but household income fell, making rentals, in effect, less affordable, the study said. The majority of low-income renters paid more than 30 percent of their monthly income for rent.
The number of affordable rental units is not keeping up with demand in some areas, particularly in he Loop, Lakeview and Lincoln Park, the researchers say.
Some of the demand for rental units is being met with single-family homes and condos that have been converted from owner-occupied to rental units.
The percentage of single-family home rental properties increased by 21 percent in the city, reflecting, in many cases, distressed land owners renting their properties to cover mortgages, or landlords taking advantage of lower sale prices to add to their rental inventory, Smith said.
In the report, "The State of Rental Housing in Cook County," Smith and co-author Sarah Duda drilled down on the data on some city neighborhoods, comparing census information from 2005-2007 with 2009-2011.
One analysis compared the most recent number of owner-occupied homes by neighborhood and the percentage change with the earlier time period:
Loop and surrounding: 43,087 owner-occupied homes (+ 6.0 percent)
Lakeview/Lincoln Park: 33,297 (-14.7)
West Town/Logan Square: 34,441 (-0.1)
Garfield Park/Humboldt Park: 12,011 (-12.7)
Pilsen/Little Village: 9,081 (-19.2)
Bridgeport/Brighton Park: 23,057 (-3.4)
Bronzeville/Hyde Park: 13,979 (-4.0)
Chatham/Woodlawn/South Shore: 19,182 (-13.8)
Englewood/Auburn Gresham: 21,257 (-14.0)
Chicago Lawn/Gage Park: 39,468 (-3.3)
Beverly/Morgan Park: 29,191 (-6.6)
Roseland/Pullman: 16,270 (-9.8)
South Chicago/Hegewisch: 19,971 (-7.3)
Austin: 11,972 (-16.8)
Portage Park/Belmont Cragin: 25,799 (-8.5)
Irving Park/Albany Park: 25,152 (-5.1)
Jefferson Park/Edison Park: 35,289 (-10.9)
Lincoln Square/North Center: 26,637 (-0.6)
Uptown/Rogers Park: 27,850 (-3.1)