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Area Ranks Low for Healthy Housing

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 8:51 a.m. CST

By Sally Deneen

The good news is homes in Chicagoland have fewer signs of rats, siding problems and room heaters without flues compared to the national average, according to a national report.

But the bad news is that homes in the metro area are likelier than national average "to suffer issues with water leaks from outside, heating and plumbing equipment breakdown, and are more likely to lack kitchen facilities."

A report by the National Center for Healthy Housing states that homes outside the central city are likelier than the national average to have sewage disposal breakdowns and foundation problems.

Rental homes are more likely to have problems with broken plaster or peeling paint, water leaks from the outside, and a lack of adequate kitchen facilities, according to the report.

"Owner-occupied homes have a higher chance of having issues with water leaks from the outside, heating equipment breakdowns, and lack of adequate kitchen facilities, compared to the national average," the report stated.

Put it all together and metro Chicago ranks 29th out of 45 metro areas in the healthy housing report, a drop from its prior rank of 11th.

San Jose, by contrast, is deemed to have the healthiest housing among metro areas, up from its prior rank of 8th. The Silicon Valley city also ranks first among central cities, although even it leaves some room for improvement."Central city properties and rental units were more likely to have exposed wiring," the report states, "while homes outside the central city were more likely to have problems with rats and flush toilet breakdowns."

The best housing conditions among the nation's metro areas are found in Indianapolis, Greater Tampa/St. Petersburg, Greater Anaheim/Santa Ana, Calif., and Phoenix. Worst metro areas happen to be in the South: Memphis; Birmingham, Ala.; San Antonio, Texas; and Oklahoma City.

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