DeKalb’s property values increasing

By Bryan Malenius

Despite a sluggish economy, property values in DeKalb and DeKalb County are on the rise.

John Lewis, a senior research associate at the Center for Governmental studies, said the sudden surge in DeKalb’s housing market is due to the relatively low cost of owning a home.

“I think it’s really interesting that we’ve got 60 percent of the people moving into DeKalb because of the relatively low cost of home ownership,” Lewis said.

According to the survey data, the second biggest attraction to people buying a home in DeKalb is the quality of the county’s schools.

“In general the school system in DeKalb County is quite good,” Lewis said.

Additionally, Lewis said the median value of a home has jumped significantly over the last four years.

“If you take a look at the home values from 1980 to 1990, housing values did not increase at the rate of inflation,” he said. “But starting about 1988 you see the housing market cycle reversed itself.”

Lewis attributed the sluggish numbers in the early 1980s to the sky-high interest rates.

“Since 1988 we’ve seen home values increase at a rate of 10 to 15 percent a year,” he said. “That means the value of a home in DeKalb County is doubling every six to 10 years.”

Lewis said a lot of the growth is occurring in homes with a $100,000 to $130,000 price tag.

“Now DeKalb County is no McHenry or DuPage County, but our growth is strong,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of new jobs coming to the area.”

Lewis also said the migration to DeKalb is the result of the strong quality of life the area has to offer.

“I think you’ll see people looking for quality of life and housing values citing those two areas as their reason for moving here as an alternative to living in Chicago or the west suburbs,” he said.