Rents are declining in Chicago — fast. It doesn’t have to do with inflation or a pending recession, rather it’s seasonality. At High Fidelity Property Management, we typically see an annual trend of decline by as much as 15-20% from the high-water mark in June to the bottom in February.


  • No Chicago resident —in their right mind — moves in the winter. Well, there are some people who intentionally seek out February leases knowing it’s the best rate they will get.
  • Most of the people relocating to Chicago usually do so in between school seasons (families with kids) or after college concludes in May (graduates beginning new careers). There are also the currently enrolled college students who need their living situation squared away before the fall semester starts.
  •  Three- and four-bedroom apartments fall off the market faster than studios, one beds and two beds after Labor Day.

Here are three ways apartment investors can decrease vacancy, maximize rents, and avoid concessions:

  1. Control lease expirations to maximize the peak leasing season. As we go into the off season, consider untraditional lease terms — like 15 or 18 months — to ensure they expire in May or June.
  2. Send renewal notices sooner rather than later. Renewals are sent anywhere between 60 and 120 days depending on how long someone has occupied the unit. Offer renewals as soon as possible. Study the market and get reliable data (comps) to help guide pricing decisions. If going to market, survey that particular area or building to make sure you’re in line with pricing.
  3. Good residents are worth keeping — even at lower renewals. Work toward keeping good residents who pay on time and don’t cause a lot of problems. Even a 4-6% increase is better than an 8.33% gross annual leasing fee. Not to mention the turnover cost that ranges anywhere between 3-5% of the gross rents and, if you go vacant, that adds another 8.33%!

We currently have 1,000 units under management across Chicago and implement these best practices for our owners.

To chat further about leasing strategies and property management, please email me at