Glenn L. Udell Explains Suburban Housing Boom in Chicago

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Glenn L. Udell is a Partner with Brown, Udell, Pomerantz & Delrahim, Ltd. He joined the firm in 1990 and has assisted in the growth, management and development of the firm ever since. Glenn concentrates his practice in the areas of real estate, corporate transactions, and complex commercial litigation. He represents a broad range of business owners and management including privately-held, public companies, and joint ventures. He assists clients with real estate and commercial business ventures including acquisitions and dispositions, financing and lending, restructuring and workouts, development, construction, and commercial leasing.

Glenn recently spoke to haute Lawyer about the housing boom in suburban areas of Chicago.

Haute Lawyer: To what do you credit this housing uptick in the periphery of Chicago? 

Glenn L. Udell: Many folks who lived in the city of Chicago, dispersed to the suburbs, and there are two main reasons for this. First of all, throughout the pandemic, when many us were forced to work away from our offices, many people realized that they can easily work from home for extended periods of time, especially if their line of work does not involve collaboration or having to interact with other colleagues. Secondly, unfortunately, there has been an increase in crime in the city of Chicago. And the crime has been occurring in areas where they would previously not occur. So, those who wish to get away from the crime, but do not, or cannot leave Chicago, have headed to the suburbs.

The inventory in the suburbs, just so happens to be minimal. So, it’s just supply and demand at that point. There’s a huge demand but not enough supply. So, often you will see houses that would go for sale for $350 thousand, to $1M, will have offers come in within hours and if not, certainly within days.


HL: How does this translate to your line of work, if it does at all?

GU: We don’t do much work with single family homes, but we have seen a huge uptick in clients who try to sell their homes at their dream price, and literally within ten minutes, they will get an offer $25 thousand over their asking price. We are seeing real estate developers aggressively pursue sights in the suburbs that are currently not entitled, or not zoned for residential use. You can only create so much housing in a certain geographical location to the city.

Those houses that are what I would call TOD communities (Transit Oriented Development) that are near any form of public transportation, are also extremely valuable. Because for those who may have to go downtown for work in the city, are near transportation alternatives where they don’t have to drive and that’s just a win-win.


HL: Do you think this will be a continuing trend, or has this rise already peaked?

GU: Personally, I think this will be a continuing trend. I don’t think we will ever go back to pre-COVID in-office work force. Chicago became the city it is today because it has major waterways. If you had the transportation of today, back in 1900, you probably would not have as many people migrate into the city. When people migrated to Chicago, they wanted work near their homes in order to spend time with their families, and so forth. But now that that metric has been taken out of the mix, now that we have the choice to work remotely or work from the office, thing will not go back to pre-COVID times.

On the other hand, Chicago is still a more affordable city than New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston. The price per square-foot and the cost of living in Chicago is so far lower than the aforementioned cities, that despite how fractured the state and city are, you’re still seeing young people come in and keep the market propped up.