With renting in Chicago on the rise and downtown apartment rents surpassing their pre-recession peak, it’s clear that more Chicagoans are choosing to rent versus rather than buy a home.
The economic downturn has driven people away from condos, and with construction underway on five new apartment projects that will offer 1,700 new units to satisfy the ever-increasing demand, it’s important that you, as a renter, know how to navigate the shifting Chicago real estate market.
The most important fact for you to internalize as you look for a new place to rent may come as a bit of a shock to your system. Ever hear the old adage that says the most important factor in the cost of real estate is “location, location, location?” Do yourself a favor and forget it.
Seriously. Wipe it from your memory.
New data from a study conducted by Lucid Realty suggests that the correlation between rental rates and location is minimal, at best. Common wisdom when it comes to Chicago’s real estate market says that the farther west you go in a given area, the cheaper your rent will be. But after comparing rents and square footage for properties in Lakeview versus properties in Roscoe Village, Lucid Realty found that rents drift down only about $.25 per square foot the more you head west. That’s not really a huge margin when you consider the credence many people give this theory.
So what does this mean for you?
You’ve now got to zero in on the factors that really do make a difference in rental rates—amenities and the single-most important influencer of rent, square footage. And truthfully speaking, if you shop around hard enough, you’ll be able to find an affordable place in any neighborhood you deem to be “better” than where you are now. It’s all up to you and your ability to apartment hunt and negotiate.
Currently, the top five Chicago neighborhoods for renting include Lincoln Park, Lakeview, South Loop, Gold Coast and River North.
And don’t think that just because you’re looking to rent, rather than buy, means you don’t need (or can’t ask for) the help of a licensed Chicago real estate agent. Check out the rental properties listed on ChicagoApartmentRentals.com and get in touch with a qualified broker who will help you find the perfect rental.