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Chicago Still A Condominium & HOA Town With 12,235 Associations

Despite the tsunami wave of rental apartment construction in recent years, Chicago still is a condo town with the nation’s third largest condominium resale market based on the number of units sold.

Chicago currently has 12,235 condo and homeowner associations containing approximately 305,000 residential units, according to a new comprehensive directory—the 2016 Association Evaluation Report on Illinois Condominiums and Homeowner Associations (HOAs).

“Our team of research experts scoured hundreds of sources to pinpoint and profile every condo and homeowner association throughout Illinois, both large and small,” said Sara Benson, president of Association Evaluation, LLC, a Chicago-based real estate data-analysis firm.

The data was gathered from physical reviews and Google rooftop checks of thousands of condo and HOA properties, and an analysis of the Secretary of State records. The research revealed that Illinois currently has more than 50,000 condo and HOA associations containing nearly 600,000 residential units.

The Community Associations Institute, a respected national organization, lists a total of 18,250 condominium and HOAs in Illinois as of 2015. “Our research team was surprised to learn that thousands of condominium and HOA associations were uncounted in Illinois,” Benson said.

“Apparently, thousands of smaller condo associations and HOAs are not registered with the state of Illinois simply because they are self-managed by untrained volunteer owners,” said Benson, who estimated that up to 80 percent of existing units are self-managed or controlled by developers.

“With 50,000 individual records, Association Evaluation has compiled the most comprehensive database of condo associations and HOAs available in Illinois,” Benson said.

“Our research team exhausted all available resources to obtain this information,” said Michael J. Reilly, chief operations officer of Association Evaluation. “Various quality-control checks were administered to ensure the accuracy of the data. In some cases, on-site physical reviews of the premises were conducted.”

“High-rise condos may create much of Chicago’s world-class downtown and North Lake Shore Drive skyline, but only about 7 percent of the residential units are found in these properties,” observed Benson, who also is a veteran Gold Coast Realtor and president of Benson Stanley Realty.

Nearly 45 percent of the city’s condo associations and HOAs have between 7 and 24 units, and approximately 35 percent are located in 2-flat to six-flat buildings. About 15 percent are found in properties with 25 to 99 units.

An estimated 40 Windy City high-rise condos—including the iconic 758-unit Lake Point Tower and the landmark 703-unit John Hancock Building—contain more than 500 units, and about 5.5 percent of condos are housed in buildings with 100 to 499 units, including the 450-unit Boardwalk Condominium at 4343 N. Clarendon.

The survey revealed that 674 condo associations in Chicago have more than 100 units.

“Most high-rises, and the highest concentration of luxury buildings are located in a half dozen community areas along Lake Michigan—the Loop, the Gold Coast, Near North Side, Lincoln Park, Old Town and Lake View.”

Between 2000 and 2006, rapid growth of new-construction condos occurred along the Chicago River, and in the West Loop and South Loop. In the late 1990s, lofts, created by rehabbing vacated warehouses, were increasingly popular for their high ceilings and brick walls. Earlier, many vintage downtown apartment and office buildings with Old World charm and elegance were converted to condominium ownership.

Other popular condominium neighborhoods include: West Town, Near West Side, Edgewater, Uptown, Rogers Park, West Ridge and Near South Side.

In 2015, some 16,799 condominium and townhome units were sold and closed in Chicago, compared with only 10,611 detached single-family homes, Benson said.

Association Evaluation noted that “HOAs are rampant in the Chicago’s suburbs” where gated townhome and condo communities abound. The directory notes that the sprawling Sun City community, built by Del Webb in far northwest suburban Huntley, encompasses 5,400 units.

Association Evaluation is marketing its condominium and HOA data to condo service providers such as attorneys, property management companies, landscapers, and remodeling and repair tradesmen including roofers, plumbers and contractors.

Prices for the lists—that can be sorted by zip code, city, year of construction, property management company, and number of units in the association—start at $2,500 and will be available March 1st. The file is sent electronically via email. Clients have a choice of either a .csv or .txt file. For more information, call: 844-727-7267 ext. 801.

Association Evaluation also is offering the “Private Association Rating”—or PARScore®, designed to turn guesswork into facts and empowers purchasers, lenders and insurance companies in their decision-making process. Through a proprietary algorithm, PARScore® provides a standardized rating between 400 and 900.

“Financially healthy and well-run associations receive higher ratings while risky associations plagued with low bank balances, non-paying owners, special assessments and lawsuits receive lower ratings,” Benson said.

Launched in 2012, the Association Evaluation LLC team already has more than 50,000 Illinois condominium associations and HOAs in its database, and the company now is branching out to index and rate communities across the nation.

For more information on the PARScore®, visit:, or call 844-PAR-SCORE (844-727-7267), or visit:

For more housing news, visit Don DeBat is co-author of “Escaping Condo Jail,” the ultimate survival guide for condominium living. Visit

“The book is Escaping Condo Jail by Sara Benson and Don DeBat. I would say that anybody thinking about buying a condo, or even anybody serving on a condo board, or anybody who has any connection to a condo, this is must reading—all 600 and something pages. Thanks a lot for a great book!”


Steve Sanders, “Your Money Matters” WGN TV, December 22, 2014

By Don DeBat

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