Let's get a sense of the average rent prices in Chicago.
Similar to Boston and most major cities around the country, average rent prices in Chicago just keep climbing. While it may not be the most exciting way to begin the search, your budget will become one of the most important factors in looking for an apartment.
Chicago is the 9th most expensive US city to rent in.
That comes as no surprise as rents have been rising steadily for the past 5+ years. I created this graphic with data from Zillow to give you an idea of how rent has been changing over that time period and how it can change throughout a single year.
If there’s a silver lining to take away from this information, it’s that there are times of the year when rent will be more affordable!
But it "should" be more expensive.
Well, I personally don't want to see rent prices go up, but from a pure economics perspective, the real estate market is seriously undervalued (according to economists at UBS). These economists "crunched the numbers for the world’s major financial centers, building a “global real estate bubble index” from a variety of indicators, including deviations in house prices from long-term trends, local incomes, and rents." Source: Quartz
Check out this graphic.
The "public transit access + affordability + space" trifecta is hard to find.
Tip of the cap to the Thrillist team for this one — they culled rent data from real estate listing site Trulia for the median monthly rent per bedroom of Chicago apartments within a mile radius of every “L” stop and put it all on an amazing map. It shows you what you can expect to pay for monthly rent if you want to live within a mile of a CTA stop.
In their own words: "unless you’re rolling in dough, the rent in areas like around The Loop and northern ‘burbs is just too damn high."
And here's a breakdown of the information they pulled together in one easy-to-read infographic:
Most leases begin in the summer – that’s when rent prices are highest.
Winters in Chicago can be harsh, so most people make their moves in the summer. That means that rent prices usually rise with the temperature and top out for leases beginning in July. If you have the opportunity to make an offseason move while it’s not so warm out, you might be able to find a great deal!
Check out rent prices sorted by neighborhood and apartment size.
I created this tool for you to get a feel for Chicago rents by neighborhood, number of bedrooms and median price per bedroom. The data is from Zumper – their big sample size of listings makes for an accurate look at median rents.
You can also check out this map recently provided by local news station WTTW, which combines rent price information from both Domu and Zumper:
Be sure to ask the landlord how much the rent might increase.
If you're thinking about staying at an apartment for more than a year, it's definitely a good idea to ask your landlord what you should expect to pay for rent the next year. These things are pretty hard to predict and can definitely fluctuate like crazy, so try to find out how much the rent changed from last year to get a decent idea of what to expect for a long-term stay.