An inside look at Chicago real estate

Chicago Rent Gets You More Than Other Big Cities

Living in a big city often means having to pay a lot more for a lot less of everything. Or at least that’s what many think when it comes to finding a great place to rent. However, not all great cities are created equal when it comes to affordability and space.

We decided to see if Chicago rent was as expensive as they say, and compared what we found to three other popular cities.

Chicago VS. San Francisco

A 2 bed, 2 bath in Lakeview might run you about $1,950 a month, but this price tag comes with recent renovations to a sturdy brick building that still holds its character, exceptional views of the lake, and lavishly modern amenities.

  • Lakeview Apartment Living Room 2
  • Lakeview Apartment Kitchen
  • Lakeview Apartment Living Room
  • Lakeview Apartment Dining Room
  • Dream Town Lakeview Apartment Bedroom
  • Lakeview Apartment Bathroom 2
  • Lakeview Apartment Walk-in Closet
  • Lakeview Apartment Workout Room
  • Lakeview Apartment Bathroom
  • Lakeview Apartment View
  • Lakeview Apartment View

Then we looked at some apartments in San Francisco. We found on average that searching for 2 bedrooms with a minimum price of $1,000/month, we came across a lot of results that had only 1 bathroom and sat at around the 700-800 square-foot range. The average price? A bit above $2,000/month.


While you envision living here…

For the price you’ll get something more like this:

Chicago VS. New York

We a ton of neighborhoods that vary in price range, and yes that can have an effect on the quality of living, but that also means that there’s a lot of middle ground when it comes to Chicago rent.

Take this 3 bed 2 bath Irving Park apartment for example. For less than $1,800 a month you can live near transit, dining, and shopping in 1,550 square-feet of hardwood floors, floor to ceiling windows, and in-unit laundry.

  • Dream Town Irving Park Apartment Kitchen
  • Dream Town Irving Park Apartment Bathroom
  • Dream Town Irving Park Apartment Closet
  • Dream Town Irving Park Apartment Bathroom 2
  • Dream Town Irving Park Apartment Living Room
  • Dream Town Irving Park Apartment Exterior

And sure, you’ve always wanted to live out your dreams of residing in the Big Apple. We did too, until we realized that we didn’t have to sacrifice money and space just to be in an awesome city.

But we went out and looked at apartments anyway. We found a lot of options in that $1,000 minimum price range in Brooklyn, which is sort of like Wicker Park…sort of. We did find some places for less than $1,800/month. Mostly 2 bed, 1 bath, but what made us the most nervous was the lack of information surrounding square-footage.

So on the one hand; you’ve got an Irving Park apartment that looks beautiful, has two beds and baths, and covers over 1,200 square-feet. On the other you’ve got an apartment that’s probably as cramped as a subway train. With one less bathroom.

Chicago VS. Boston

Now, just for fun, we pushed the limits to our criteria. When we upped our price range and chose location over some other amenities, we still found something that isn’t exactly out of the question in affordability. We went to the Loop, the central hub for most of the city. And still we were able to find something that didn’t make us feel claustrophobic, or like nice things are reserved solely for the extremely wealthy.

  • Dream Town Loop Apartment Living Room
  • Dream Town Loop Apartment Kitchen
  • Dream Town Loop Apartment Dining Room
  • Dream Town Loop Apartment Bedroom
  • Dream Town Loop Apartment Bathroom
  • Dream Town Loop Apartment Room
  • Dream Town Loop Apartment Exterior

Yes, the rent is a little higher at $2,400/month. Yes, it only has 1.5 bathrooms. But Sometimes you’re willing to make small – half-bathroom sized – sacrifices for a bit more luxury and location. Though you’re still getting about 1,250 square-feet.

Now compare this Loop unit to what we often found in Boston. For 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms over 1,000 square-feet, we’re looking at around $2,700/month, and that’s the low end. Sure, there isn’t a whole lot differentiating the two, but when you realize you literally have everything at your door in the Loop, well it’s sort of a moot point.

So while it’s never cheap to live in style, it certainly won’t cost you and arm and a leg and perhaps a few other precious body parts when looking for a great place to call home in Chicago. Sure, San Francisco has the great weather, New York has the cramped allure of being trendy and Boston has a lot of history, but when it comes to living, nothing compares to sweet home Chicago.