Housing Databases and Market Analysis

Housing is critical to the wellbeing of any community. Not only does it meet the basic need of shelter, it helps determine who is or is not a resident.  Whether your community is concerned about meeting the needs of current residents or interested in attracting new residents, understanding your housing stock and future demand is the basis for a housing strategy.

Few communities have an accurate inventory of their existing housing stock.  CGS staff will tap multiple sources to produce a comprehensive inventory of existing housing, whether for the entire community or a smaller study area.  The inventory can include data on number and type of units, sales prices or rental rates, ownership characteristics, exterior condition, and other items as needed.  This information can be combined with detailed demographics of the residents to provide insights into residential patterns and relationships to schools, social services, park space, traffic patterns, public transit and other community needs. The data base can be regularly updated and be a corner stone of community planning for years to come. To see a sample citywide database, go here. (http://www.cgs.niu.edu/Reports/DeKalb-Housing-Study-Year-2.pdf)

Estimating future housing needs or the potential for additional housing requires understanding the housing market.  A market analysis can include looking at trends in population and employment, potential for new attractions that bring residents, affordability issues, the mix of rental and for sale housing, specialized markets such as senior housing, second homes, young professionals, empty nesters, and others. Estimating future housing demand is an inexact science so we utilize multiple approaches to arrive at a most reasonable estimate.  We will explain the basis for each approach, allowing you to adjust plans as new events and information become available, increasing the flexibility and useful life of the document.




For additional information about Growing Communities Initiative, please contact:

Mim Evans
Research Associate
Center for Governmental Studies, NIU

Norman Walzer
Senior Research Scholar
Center for Governmental Studies, NIU