Economists use all kinds of metrics to measure the economic health of a region. And in every aspect, the Rockford-area economy is better off than in January 2010 when the jobless rate in the city of Rockford hit 19 percent. Still, one curious statistic highlights how in one respect Rockford has yet to recover from the Great Recession.
Last year marked the ninth straight year that there were more permits taken out in the city of Rockford to tear down houses than there were to build new ones.
Dennis Sweeney, head of the Home Builders Association of the Greater Rockford Area, cautioned not to read too much into the data.
“The reality is that those demolitions may have done more to the shore up the property tax base in those neighborhoods than the new building permits did in their neighborhoods. I believe the mayor’s first estimate was that there were 3,000 derelict properties identified that needed to come down, and that was over a year ago.”
The rate of demolitions likely was going to rise no matter what happened in the economy. The fact that so many people lost their jobs from 2007 to 2012 probably accelerated the trend. Still, thriving communities typically see more homes going up than coming down.