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14th Annual Trends Workshop

If it’s January, it must be time for the Annual Trends Workshop. With 105 people in attendance, this year’s event was bigger than ever. So it’s a good thing that we were able to host it in our beautiful new venue on the Loyola University Campus – McCormick Lounge. The space is large and airy with unimpeded views across Lake Michigan. It will be especially nice in the warmer months when the days are longer.

The Trends Workshop would not have been possible without our sponsors. This year, we had fifteen, as follows:

Gold Sponsors:

  • Cagan Management Group, Inc.
  • CIC
  • Loyola University

Silver Sponsors:

  • Independent Recycling Services
  • Three Corners Development
  • Bank Financial
  • Meridian Capital Group

Bronze Sponsors:

  • Apartment Investment Advisors
  • BAO Joint Ventures
  • CheckMate Realty & Development, Inc.
  • Guaranteed Rate
  • Marcus & Millichap
  • MLC Properties and Management
  • Xfinity Communities
  • Winnemac Properties

For the main event, attendees divided into fifteen tables. Each table was asked to predict what the world would look like two years down the road, responding to seven questions that all dealt with the economy and the Rogers Park real estate market:

  • The closing value of the Dow Jones index.
  • The unemployment rate for the State of Illinois.
  • The average interest rate on an apartment building in Rogers Park.
  • The average price/SF of a condo unit in Rogers Park.
  • Typical marketing time for a condo unit in Rogers Park.
  • The average apartment rent in Rogers Park.
  • The average price per unit for an apartment building in Rogers Park.

As always, we had two “tie-breaker” questions. The first was to predict the split between Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives after the 2018 elections. The second was to come up with how many more (or fewer) wins the Cubs would have during their 2018-2019 season than the combined total of White Sox/Bears wins.

Approximately 6-7 minutes was given for discussion of each of the seven questions at the end of which results were collected and displayed on an overhead projector. When all of the questions had been discussed and all the results tabulated, Team Leaders from each table came to the front of the room to go over the results. As usual, there were a variety of opinions, reflecting the level of optimism or pessimism about the state of the market among the attendees.

Generally speaking, most of the Team Leaders were optimistic about the future of Rogers Park. But opinions on the future of the national economy were more divided. There was widespread agreement that the recent election of Donald Trump as US President would be consequential for the US economy. Not everyone agreed what impact his new administration would have.

Another big concern of many attendees was the “state of the State.” Gridlock in Springfield – with two consecutive years of no state budget and more of the same ahead – was widely viewed as harmful to Illinois and Chicago. Most attendees felt that the state would be performing better were it not for the impass between Governor Bruce Rauner and State Representative Michael Madigan. There was little optimism that this situation would change anytime soon.

Despite these challenges, attendees still felt bullish on Rogers Park which was widely seen as being “on a roll” and likely to see more appreciation in property values and further increases in rent. Most people believed that Rogers Park will continue to do well as the Lakefront neighborhoods to the south get ever more expensive. Rogers Park will continue to offer the best value for renters who want to live on the North Side Lakefront, but who have been priced out of every other neighborhood between downtown and Devon.

To wrap up, event MC – Mike Glasser – announced the winner of the Trends Workshop from two years earlier. Steve Cain’s team was declared this year’s winner, but only because Jay Fahn edged him out in the bonus question, was not there to collect the prize. Steve was happy to be declared winner and walk off with the honor.

Whether you’re an economic optimist or pessimist, there’s plenty to like about the Trends Workshop. What’s not to like about being part of a great group of people while enjoying outstanding food and drink in a first-rate venue? The Annual Trends Workshop continues to be our signature event, and just keeps getting better year by year.



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  • PO BOX 608492, Chicago, IL 60660
  • (773) 491-1235