The developers of the proposed 16-story rental apartment building on Sherman Avenue say they see strong demand for new high-end rental housing in Evanston.

Albion Residential, as part of its planned development application to the city, provided data from the real estate research firm CoStar showing that despite more than doubling the number of premium-quality 4-star and 5-star rental apartment units in Evanston over the past decade, the rental vacancy rate citywide now stands at just 5.5 percent and rents have risen 3.5 percent over the past 12 months.

With most of the new construction happening at the high end, vacancy rates for those properties are higher than the citywide average at 9.9 percent.

Vacancy levels in mid-priced 3-star buildings are extremely low, at 2.8 percent, and vacancies in the less-desirable 1- and 2-star buildings average 4.6 percent.

Among the seven high-end properties shown in the chart above that the developers included as being most comparable to their project, the average vacancy rate is just under 6.8 percent.

At the regional level, despite adding about 7,700 rental apartment units in 2017, effective rents in the Chicago area are expected to climb 4.5 percent this year because of an increasing number of jobs and declining home ownership rates.

A rendering of the proposed Albion Evanston development at 1450 Sherman Ave.

Developers are also encouraged by the high prices owners are getting when they sell apartment buildings in Evanston — which CoStar says are well above the metro area’s median price per unit.

For the 6,725 rental units tracked by CoStar in Evanston’s 196 largest apartment buildings — about 45 percent of all rental units in the city — rents vary widely by the quality of the property.

For 4- and 5-star buildings the effective monthly rent averages $2,342, for 3-star buildings it averages $1,405 and for 1- and 2-star buildings it averages $1,264. Across all quality levels in those buildings, the average rent per unit is $1,662.

The average rent for all rental units in Evanston — including the 55 percent not tracked by CoStar — is $1,200 a month, according to the Census Bureau.

The large new buildings that have added to Evanston’s supply of premium quality rental properties over the past decade, as shown in the chart at the top of this story, are:

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. If you notice, Amli and The
    If you notice, Amli and The Main have the highest occupancy and neither have enough PARKING so they languish. E2, I believe, was intended as CONDO, didn’t sell but has enough PATKING and it rents. Someone who can afford $2500 to $3500 for a two or three bedroom likely has a car or, at least, RENTS a car on weekends and needs a spot sometimes. When these buildings make the inevitable conversion to condominiums, the need for PARKING will increase. And it will way too late to add parking.

    1. Parking

      Hi R.,

      The chart show the vacancy rate, not the occupancy rate. You’re saying they have “the highest occupancy” when you mean they have the highest vacancy.

      Parking does not seem to be the issue.

      Two years ago an Evanston Now story reported that AMLI had 1.44 parking spaces per unit but was only using 1.09. So it would not appear that a lack of parking is the problem leading to a comparatively high vacancy rate there.

      And, E2 is only using about half its parking and has gotten the city to agree to let them rent out at least a quarter of its spaces to the general public.

      — Bill


      1. Parking is a problem

        People may want parking on site. I don’t think people want to walk several blocks to get to their car or find a way to lug their shopping purchases back to their building. This is a major turnoff for people who use their car.

      2. Occupancy vs Vacancy – who cares?

        Bill – thanks for the clarification and facts about development and parking in Evanston. Seems like some people will just spout off an opinion without knowledge and grasp of the facts to support their viewpoint. Couple of issues that people don’t appear to focus on is the changing living patterns and lifestyles of younger generations. Some older people are stuck in the past and analyze today’s world from their distant and increasingly blurred lens. Many younger people want a more urbanized and flexible lifestyle – think renting and Uber and Zipcar – Evanston is an attractive place to live, and not just for married couples with kids. The other issue is Evanston’s tax base. In order to keep Evanston more affordable, and alleviate the growing tax burden (and it’s growing, and will continue to grow) we need to expand our tax base. Else, everyone is going to be paying even more than you currently pay, and from an equity perspective, many people can’t afford to pay any more money. TP

        1. We need more not less high rises

          Face it, with the pension burden, bad decisions by the Council [Research Park mis-management, regulations and delays that keep new business from coming to Evanston and old business leaving], zoning and other decisions/delays that causes business to give up on Evanston, high taxes, give a ways and special deals to businesses, gifts to business the Council picks as ‘winners’ [aka political donors and voters], so called ‘arts’ and theaters everywhere and at ‘special deals’—we need all the new taxpayers we can get—so high rises and high density is needed.

          It is [not] funny that the city envisions all the residents of new buildings as not having/depending on cars yet keeping large business [including chains] which mean residents have to travel [car or public transportation] outside of Evanston to shop—thus less tax revenue  and jobs for residents—Target on Howard and other business south west are not exceptions—they are hard and time consuming to get to without a car [except of course for all those who rob these stores].  Thus it is easier to take the CTA to Target at Wilson or just go to the Loop.  Nice going Council and Preservationists.

  2. Differing Opinions

    I would just like people to be aware that I (and probably others) have differing opinions from the comments here on but they have not been published.

    1. Truth

      In fact, the person who submitted the comment above has had numerous comments published on Evanston Now in recent days under a different pseudonym.

      The fact that she needs to comply with our comment guidelnes to have a comment published seems to have escaped her.

      — Bill

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