Single-family housing starts in Chicago could go as high as 5,000 for all of 2013. Although this is still lower than the 18,000 starts and 20,000 starts reached on average in the past, it's to be expected with current market dynamics. The Chicago Tribune explains:

A low inventory of resale homes, held down because many homeowners remain underwater on their mortgages while some just await a bigger profit margin, has pushed up prices on existing homes this year because of strong demand. In August, the median price of homes sold in the Chicago area rose 16 percent from a year ago.

"Builders are a little sensitive," said Chris Hucksteadt, Chicago regional director for Metrostudy, a housing market research firm. "One week you have 10 people walking through your model and the next week you have zero. Any little movement, they panic."