New Illinois Condominium & HOA Report Reveals 50,000 Associations - Evanston Review
"The state of Illinois currently has more than 50,000 active condominium and homeowner associations containing nearly 600,000 residential units, new comprehensive research by Association Evaluation, LLC has revealed. 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," said Sara Benson, president of Association Evaluation, LLC, a Chicago-based real estate data-analysis firm...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."
CAI's estimates have been used by just about everybody because the Census Bureau can't be bothered asking questions about this, and most state and local governments are happy to just let CIDs proliferate without much oversight, even to the point of not keeping track of how many there are. Sara and her organization have a different methodology than CAI uses, and they came up with a much higher number. I don't know which is more accurate at this point, although of course I want to find out. I'm not clear on the methodology Sara's organization is using, and the Trib article doesn't explain it very well: "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." You have to be careful with Secretary of State searches because they lump all corporations and LLCs together and you have to decide which is an HOA or condo association. Often it is clear, sometimes it is not (see for yourself).
I also don't see any motivation for CAI to understate the numbers. But it does lead me to wonder--if it is true that CAI's numbers for Illinois are low, then are their numbers for other states and their national numbers also understated? For example, in their latest Statistical Review. CAI says there are 333,600 associations nationwide, with 26.7 million units of housing and 66.7 million people. Sara says that CAI's Illinois numbers are way low. CAI finds 18,250 association and Sara says there are 270% more than that. So they claim that CAI only found 36.5% of the association in the state. That is an enormous difference in estimates--if you extrapolate from the claims about Illinois, then do we have close to one million associations in this country? To be continued.