RRMA Frequently Asked Questions - Metropolitan Planning Council

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RRMA Frequently Asked Questions

Regional Rental Market Analysis Fact Sheet

What Geographic Area is Encompassed in the Regional Rental Market Analysis?

The study is collecting data from throughout the Chicago six-county region: Cook, Kane, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties.

How Does This Study Assess the Supply of Rental Housing?

The supply-side analysis starts with tax assessor data, which distinguishes the buildings that are renter-occupied from those that are owner-occupied. Information about rent levels, size of unit, and vacancy rates will be collect-ed by surveying approximately 30,000 buildings, including condominium rentals, renter-occupied single-family homes, 2-6 unit buildings, and buildings with more than 6 units. A field research component will supplement the survey with information about physical conditions of the buildings.

More qualitative questions will be answered through focus groups and "key informant" interviews. These dis-cussions will focus on what barriers hinder development of rental housing, how experiences, attitudes and per-ceptions of property managers affect the supply of housing, and what incentives might reverse some of these challenges.

How is the Sample Selected For Surveying?

A sampling structure has been developed that will gather information on 13 submarkets and three building types. The submarkets are Kane, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties, as well as five regions of Cook County and three regions of Chicago. The three building types are small multifamily buildings (2-6 units), large multifamily buildings (more than 6 units), and single-family or condominium rentals.

Will Survey Responses Be Made Public?

While the summarized information collected from the surveys will become public later this year, the answers provided by a particular respondent will be entirely confidential. Names or property addresses will not be con-nected with the information provided.

How Does the Study estimate Demand for Rental Housing?

The study estimates aggregate demand by updating population counts and projections from the U.S. Census and the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC). The project is also collecting information about spe-cific concentrations of demand by pulling together existing lists and databases. This piece will consider specific populations competing for affordable housing, including people who are lower-income wage earners, TANF or SSI recipients, CHA relocatees, on Section 8 waiting lists, or homeless.

Focus groups and key informant interviews will be used to probe demand for housing through the experiences, attitudes and perceptions of renters. Responses will document how renters find housing, what networks are uti-lized, and other factors that influence a household’s access to housing and decision-making process.

How is the Study Defining "Affordable"?

The study uses both HUD’s "fair market rent" (FMR) for the Chicago region and different median incomes, rental submarkets and wages paid throughout the region. The Regional Rental Market Analysis is interested in understanding the availability of rental housing options for people whose incomes are at and below the region’s median income, as well as for families interested in living closer to their places of employment. HUD assess-ments indicate that a household paying more than 30% of a month’s income for rent and utilities qualifies as "rent burdened." Consequently, the study broadly defines affordable rent levels as those which fall within 30% of the area median of these submarkets.

Who is Interested in this Research?

There are numerous stakeholders awaiting the results of the analysis, including property managers, tenants, building owners, realtors, developers, social service providers, fair housing advocates, community-based hous-ing groups, tenant organizations and various industry associations. In addition, policymakers at the municipal, state, and federal level are looking to this study to describe the state of the rental market.

Given the Fluidity in the Housing Market, What is the Shelf Life of This Survey?

While the initial data collection (quantitative and qualitative) will provide a snapshot of the current housing market, the third phase of the research will involve a five to ten year rental market forecast that synthesizes information collected on rents, vacancies, and landlord and tenant experiences and attitudes with trend data on fair housing, economic development, and other indicators. In addition, the new data will be collected in such a way that it can be updated in the future.

Who is MPC and What is its Role in this Study?

Founded in 1934, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group of business and civic leaders committed to serving the public interest through the promotion and implementation of sensible planning and development policies necessary for a world-class Chicago region. MPC conducts policy analysis, outreach and advocacy in partnership with public officials and community leaders to improve equity of oppor-tunity and quality of life throughout metropolitan Chicago.

MPC is the project manager for the Regional Rental Market Analysis. With regionwide relationships that bridge the public and private sectors and a long track record of policy leadership, MPC was asked to act as facilitator, identifying the resources, overseeing the research, administering contracts, and communicating with stake-holders.

What Policy Recommendations are the Metropolitan Planning Council Proposing Related to this Study?

The Regional Rental Market Analysis is a fact-finding project, seeking updated baseline information about the supply and demand for rental housing. In its role as the neutral project manager, MPC’s only policy agenda is to encourage regional decision makers from all sectors (government, development, and non-profit) to utilize this objective data as they refine and establish programs, budgets and other strategies to promote an array of quality housing options necessary for the growing diversity of people residing in metropolitan Chicago.

How was the Research Team Selected?

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the Washington-based Urban Institute (UI) were selected through a national search overseen by MPC. A Request for Proposals (RFP) was distributed to more than 200 potential contractors around the country. The RFP encouraged applicants to create teams, bringing together the necessary skills and expertise. Proposals were reviewed by a panel of technical advisors, which assessed the respondents’ capacity and understanding of the project. This panel, an ongoing accountability tool, consists of representatives from IHDA, DOH, HUD, CHA, two academic researchers and a market researcher. To supplement the UIC/UI proposal with a field component, Applied Real Estate Analysis (AREA) joined the research team.

What is the Expertise of the Research Team?

The research team includes members with broad research experience, first-hand knowledge of local market con-ditions, and expertise in government policy, real estate, and community development. UIC team members have experience in real estate finance, economic forecasting, data collection and analysis, geographic information sys-tems, and housing and community development policy. UI’s expertise encompasses a full range of social and economic policy. AREA comes to the table with experience in conducting housing market analysis and under-standing market dynamics within neighborhoods.

For More Information or Discussion

Contact Project Manager Samantha DeKoven (sdekoven@metro-planning. org) or Housing Director Robin Snyderman (rsnyderman@metroplanning.org) at MPC.




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