Chicago Exurbs See a Bust After a Long Boom

Growth and development in Chicago’s suburbs and exurbs has stalled since the housing downturn. According to Census Bureau, Chicago’s surrounding areas were some of the fastest growing in the country until 2009/2010, and after which they’ve claimed the title of holding Illinois’ top foreclosure rates.

Many of Chicago’s far-flung housing developments were the hardest hit by the housing downturn, resulting in several stalled subdivision developments. According to Prof. Thomas Lys, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, “places that were verging on becoming part of the Chicago area have reverted to rural status and are likely to stay that way for at least another generation.”

The draw of cheap land, rampant growth and land speculation has been tempered by rising fuel costs, foreclosure rates and deflated property values. In the wake of this change, near ghost towns of exurb subdivisions have been left. Many of which have been subdivided and contain (horizontal) infrastructure, but lack counterparting vertical structures. Once a sure thing, these missing rooftops have offset projected school populations, negatively impacted newly bonded and constructed facilities and resulted in a shrinking tax base forcing some districts to shutter classes, negotiate contract concessions and reduce operating budgets.

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