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In A Recession, Chicago Office Properties Expected To Provide More Stability Than Coastal Markets

Jll research

The worries investors have about the overall fiscal health of Chicago and Illinois are well-documented. But JLL said many may be ignoring a reassuring statistic. Chicago office properties have over the long term provided more protection from recessions than many other markets, including coastal ones such as Boston, New York City and San Francisco.

Company researchers measured the ability of each city to withstand a recession by comparing Class-A office net rents from Q2 2007, just before the recession smothered many markets, versus rents at the end of 2009.

“Chicago’s commercial real estate climate remained the most [unfazed], while other cities tend to be more cyclical and more susceptible to change in economics, particularly coastal cities,” JLL said.

In that time period, most new development ground to a halt, but in Chicago net rents actually ticked up 3.1%, much like the office sectors in Dallas and Atlanta, where net rents rose 1.6% and 0.3%, respectively. Landlords on both coasts saw something very different. In Boston and San Francisco, net rents fell more than 26%, and New York City saw a 15.2% decline.

“Despite the negative press that has surrounded [Chicago], paired with local government uncertainty, the health of net rental rates remained unchanged throughout one of the worst recessions the country has experienced,” the company noted.