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Property owners really got their kicks in '06
COOK COUNTY | Values jumped in last year before credit crash

Monday, September 08, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County enjoyed a bull market in property values during 2006, the last year before home prices began feeling the impact of a credit crisis, according to a report issued today by the Civic Federation.

The report by the nonpartisan organization estimated the market value of Cook County property rose 14.6 percent in 2006 compared with 2005.

Chicago outpaced the suburbs in 2006, with a 16.5 percent increase.

Based on the latest available numbers, the report is a nostalgic look back at a decade when property owners came to expect generous growth in yearly valuations. Other reviews indicate that home prices in the Chicago market have fallen about 7 to 9 percent over the last 12 months.

The federation's annual study, covering residential and business property, will pick up the housing downturn in its future editions but municipalities need to plan for the impact now, said the group's president, Laurence Msall.

"Many local governments are starting to report significant declines in collections from real estate transfer taxes," he said.

Less revenue from the transfer taxes means fewer homes are being sold.

The federation estimated all Cook County property was worth $666.2 billion in 2006, with Chicago accounting for nearly half the total. Over the last 10 years, the worth of Chicago property has tripled while valuations in suburban Cook have doubled.

The information is used by local governments for financial planning and by bond rating agencies trying to measure the health of the tax base.

The report found that in the suburbs, the greatest percentage gain in valuations came in suburbs south of North Avenue, which saw a 14.9 percent increase in 2006. North Avenue is a boundary for reassessment districts, and suburbs north of it had an 11.5 percent increase.

Copies of the report are available at

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