Institute for Housing Studies - DePaul University

Mapping Displacement Pressure in Chicago

Explore how housing affordability pressures may impact displacement risk at the neighborhood level and learn about different strategies to preserve housing affordability in vulnerable communities with higher, more moderate, and lower housing costs. Read the full report »

High-cost neighborhoods with vulnerable populations and rising prices (Dark red)

Neighborhoods in this category include large swaths of west Logan Square, Irving Park, Uptown, the Illinois Medical District, and areas near The 606 in West Town and Humboldt Park as well as parts of Avondale, Edgewater, Portage Park, Bridgeport, Albany Park and the Lower West Side (Pilsen).

Areas in dark red have vulnerable populations and the highest values in the city and are experiencing higher than average recent increases in sales prices. Vulnerable areas that are higher cost but where house prices are not increasing above the area average are included in lighter red. These areas are included in order to give practitioners the ability to evaluate the importance of price changes on affordability pressure in different market contexts.

Assessing vulnerability
  • These areas have a high share of lower-income renters, families, and seniors who are vulnerable to displacement when costs increase.

  • Households already struggle with cost-burden, meaning they spend a substantial amount of their income on housing. Due to already high housing costs, displacement is likely already occurring particularly in areas with rising prices.

  • Some areas have higher shares of public housing or subsidized affordable housing, which could mitigate displacement pressure for renters able to access these units.

Challenges with maintaining affordable housing
  • Turnover of naturally occurring affordable apartments may lead to building improvements that push rents higher. Landlords may also raise rents due to increased demand from higher-income households. Conversions of 2 to 4 unit rental properties to high-cost single family homes also drives the loss of the naturally occurring affordable supply.

  • Mission-driven organizations and developers who build or preserve affordable housing are often unable to compete with market-rate developers who can quickly purchase currently affordable land or buildings with cash. Developable land is limited in this neighborhood type.

Opportunities for preserving affordability

High demand for market-rate housing in these areas creates opportunities for policies leveraging that demand to build and preserve affordable units.

  • Implement policies that create affordable housing as new market-rate housing is built. Policies such as inclusionary zoning can provide some economic integration in a high-cost market and support the production of new affordable units even as the naturally occurring affordable housing stock disappears.

  • Create financing vehicles that support mission-driven developers to acquire and maintain affordable units. Maintain the naturally occurring affordable housing stock by helping mission-driven developers access capital to more competitively acquire and preserve affordable units. By preserving currently affordable units and maintaining existing tenants, potential displacement of vulnerable residents can also be mitigated.


© 2020 Real Estate Center's Institute for Housing Studies. This project was made possible by the generous support of the Polk Bros Foundation, as well as continued support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, and PNC Bank Foundation.