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2220 Apartments for rent in Chicago, IL

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Last updated September 21 at 1:43PM
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City Guide
Chicago
Basic Tips on Chicago Living

Everyone knows you don’t put ketchup on a Chicago-style hot dog, and everyone knows that trying to travel through Wrigleyville during a Cubs game will be a mob scene. Here are a few other bits of city-specific advice for fledgling Chicagoans. Though renting stand-alone houses is definitely not unheard of here, the most common living arrangements are apartments and condominiums, the latter of which are sometimes rented out privately by their owners. The range of styles, ages and quality amongst them, however, varies depending on where you’re looking and how much you’re willing to spend. Knowing this, how on earth do you even get started?

How to Find an Apartment

It’s always best to know what you want in an apartment first. What’s important to you? What’s your price range? Are you willing to sacrifice size for location? Do you want a vintage flat, a hole-in-the-wall studio, or an updated 40th floor pad with a panoramic view of Lake Michigan? One great thing about apartment hunting in Chicago is that there are multiple services that will take down all your criteria, and then drive you around the city to see multiple options, free of charge. Of course, there are always Internet listings, newspaper ads, and for many areas, a simple walk through the neighborhood to glimpse “for rent” signs will suffice.

Chicago really has no defined “rental season”. Apartments are available year-round, though if anything, there are more options and they tend to go quicker and rent higher in the spring and fall. During these seasons, you’re more likely to lose a good dwelling to another contender if you don’t act fast. Renting a place out in the middle of January may give you a price or time advantage, but moving a couch up to the fourth floor of a walk-up building when the back staircase is covered in ice may also cause you to think twice.

What to Expect From A Chicago Pad

Quality and Style: As previously stated, Chicago has every type of dwelling imaginable, though different neighborhoods and price ranges will yield different results. Multi-unit high-rise buildings usually have amenities included, such as a concierge/doorman, a communal rooftop deck, a pool, or a fitness center. These types of buildings will also have more restrictions or fees for moving in and out. Older buildings with radiator heat will often have gas and heat included in the rent, which is a huge advantage in the winter months when heating prices can break $150 - $200 or more a month. Also, you’d be hard-pressed to find an apartment in the city of Chicago that requires you to pay your own water bill.

Common Logistics: A 12-month lease is standard, though occasionally a larger company will throw in financial perks for signing a longer lease. Short-term or month-to-month leases are hard to come by unless you’re subletting or renting from a private landlord. As far as security deposits go, the standard is equivalent to one month’s rent. More and more often, though, management companies are requiring a non-refundable move-in fee (usually between $150 and $300 per person) instead of a security deposit.

Your Renting Arsenal: Here is a list of common things that will be required for a rental application:

  • Photo ID for all applicants
  • It’s perfectly normal (especially with management companies) to require a $25 - $50 non-refundable credit/background check fee per applicant.
  • Expect to provide information on an application including (but not limited to) current employer information, financial information, previous landlord contact information, and personal or professional references.
  • Many larger management companies will require previous bank statements or pay stubs as proof of income
Chicago Neighborhoods

Within the city of Chicago, there are over 200 unique neighborhoods that are fluid and socially constructed, each with their own quirks and day-to-day life. On a much larger (and more general) scale, the city can be broken up into four massive sections. Consider this a “jumping off” point in finding your ‘hood. Once you decide which side of the city is best for you, look into doing some research on that area’s neighborhoods to find the best fit. A semi-official map of Chicago’s neighborhoods can be found here.

The Loop: The central hub of Chicago, dubbed “the loop” due to the circular path that the elevated trains take around it, is mainly considered a commercial area. It boasts the quintessential Chicago landmarks, including skyscrapers, museums, Grant and Millennium Parks, a theatre district, and a large shopping district. Housing in the loop tends to be sparser and located more toward the perimeter. This area is bustling during the day. Living spaces are compact high-rise condominium and apartment buildings. Generally, the further your living proximity from the loop, the lower cost, more spacious, and more “residential” your apartment will tend to be.

North side: Closer to the loop and Michigan Avenue’s “Magnificent Mile” shopping district. There are many town houses around these neighborhoods, too. As you continue north, rent drops a little and the streets become tree-lined, yet population rises considerably. The north side, as a whole, is the most densely populated section of the city, especially along the lakefront. This area has a lot of neighborhood amenities, parks, and nightlife. It boasts a pretty even number of two and three-flat buildings, vintage courtyard buildings, and high-rises of all different types, with pockets of single-family homes woven in.

South side: The south side covers a much larger land area. Some parts of the south side are quaint, residential communities, and some are rather old and historic.The neighborhoods here have more single-family homes and smaller buildings. Millions of Chicagoans still call it home.

West side: Just west of the loop has historically been an industrial zone; the famous Chicago Union Stockyards were once located here. Closer to downtown, you’ll find loft-style condominiums and old warehouses converted into restaurants and galleries, as well as one of the largest medical districts in the United States. Further out, more stand-alone houses, town homes and bungalows appear.

Urban Circulation

If this city had a heartbeat, its veins would be rich with commuters. The question is really not whether you’ll be able to get around the city, but how you will get around the city. As with any metropolis, Chicago is easily walk-able, but some distances are just too far.

Public Transit: Chicago has the second largest public transportation system in the United States. Eight train lines (both elevated and underground) and over 140 bus routes operate daily all over the city; some run 24/7, others only at peak hours. For commuting further from the city limits, the regional transit authority operates 11 Metra rail lines and suburban buses that service over 200 stations in cities ranging as far as southern Wisconsin and northern Indiana.

Biking: Chicago is a big city for biking (surprisingly) year-round. Bike lanes can be spotted along many major streets. Bike paths also run along large portions of the lakefront for a more leisurely commute.

Driving: Generally one of the least desirable forms of transportation in Chicago, yet a lot of people still do it. Finding an apartment with a designated parking spot can be difficult and pricey in many areas of the city (think an extra $150 - $200 a month for a spot in a parking garage or outdoor lot), and street parking is a cutthroat battle. Don’t even get me started on driving through the city at rush hour. If you need to have a car in Chicago, be forewarned that it will probably become very expensive and frustrating very quickly.

Chicago is rich in history and culture, while still being a modern city. With this much variety, you’ll be able to find the right place for your lifestyle or budget, all within an exciting urban setting. Hopefully this guide has given you a more concrete idea of what to expect and how to get started on your search. Happy hunting!

Rent Report
Chicago

September 2017 Chicago Rent Report

Welcome to the September 2017 Chicago Rent Report. In this report, we'll evaluate trends in the Chicago rental market, including comparisons to cities throughout the metro and nation.

Chicago rents declined marginally over the past month

Chicago rents have declined 0.2% over the past month, but have increased moderately by 3.8% in comparison to the same time last year. Currently, median rents in Chicago stand at $1,100 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,290 for a two-bedroom. Chicago's year-over-year rent growth leads the state average of 2.3%, as well as the national average of 3.0%.

Rents rising across the Chicago Metro

Throughout the past year, rent increases have been occurring not just in the city of Chicago, but across the entire metro. Of the largest 10 cities that we have data for in the Chicago metro, 8 of them have seen prices rise. Here's a look at how rents compare across some of the largest cities in the metro.

  • Woodridge has seen the fastest rent growth in the metro, with a year-over-year increase of 4.4%. The median two-bedroom there costs $1,460, while one-bedrooms go for $1,240.
  • Over the past month, Hoffman Estates has seen the biggest rent drop in the metro, with a decline of 1.2%. Median two-bedrooms there cost $1,300, while one-bedrooms go for $1,110.
  • Chicago proper has the least expensive rents in the Chicago metro, with a two-bedroom median of $1,290; rents fell 0.2% over the past month but rose 3.8% over the past year.
  • Naperville has the most expensive rents of the largest cities in the Chicago metro, with a two-bedroom median of $1,750; rents grew 0.2% over the past month and 2.4% over the past year.

Chicago rents more affordable than many comparable cities nationwide

As rents have increased in Chicago, similar cities nationwide have seen rents grow more modestly, or in some cases, even decline. Chicago is still more affordable than most other large cities across the country.

  • Illinois as a whole has logged 2.3% year-over-year growth, while rents across other cities throughout the state have seen varying trends.
  • Chicago's median two-bedroom rent of $1,290 is above the national average of $1,160. Nationwide, rents have grown by 3.0% over the past year compared to the 3.8% increase in Chicago.
  • While Chicago's rents rose over the past year, some cities nationwide saw decreases, including Houston (-2.4%) and DC (-0.5%).
  • Renters will find more reasonable prices in Chicago than most comparable cities. For example, San Francisco has a median 2BR rent of $3,070, which is more than twice the price in Chicago.

For more information check out our national report. You can also access our full data for cities and counties across the U.S. at this link.
City Median 1BR price Median 2BR price M/M price change Y/Y price change
Chicago $1,100 $1,290 -0.2% 3.8%
Aurora $1,110 $1,300 0.3% 2.3%
Naperville $1,490 $1,750 0.2% 2.4%
Arlington Heights $1,250 $1,470 0.4% 4.0%
Evanston $1,300 $1,530 0.2% 2.5%
Palatine $1,110 $1,310 -0.4% 1.5%
Wheaton $1,260 $1,480 -0.2% -0.1%
Hoffman Estates $1,110 $1,300 -1.2% 2.2%
Woodridge $1,240 $1,460 0.4% 4.4%
Lisle $1,210 $1,420 -0.0% -0.2%
See more

Methodology - Recent Updates:

Data from private listing sites, including our own, tends to skew toward luxury apartments, which introduces sample bias when estimates are calculated directly from these listings. To address these limitations, we’ve recently made major updates to our methodology, which we believe have greatly improved the accuracy and reliability of our estimates.

Read more about our new methodology below, or see a more detailed post here.

Methodology:

Apartment List is committed to making our rent estimates the best and most accurate available. To do this, we start with reliable median rent statistics from the Census Bureau, then extrapolate them forward to the current month using a growth rate calculated from our listing data. In doing so, we use a same-unit analysis similar to Case-Shiller’s approach, comparing only units that are available across both time periods to provide an accurate picture of rent growth in cities across the country.

Our approach corrects for the sample bias inherent in other private sources, producing results that are much closer to statistics published by the Census Bureau and HUD. Our methodology also allows us to construct a picture of rent growth over an extended period of time, with estimates that are updated each month.

Read more about our methodology here.

About Rent Reports:

Apartment List publishes monthly reports on rental trends for hundreds of cities across the U.S. We intend these reports to be a source of reliable information that help renters and policymakers make sound decisions, and we invest significant time and effort in gathering and analyzing rent data. Our work is covered regularly by journalists across the country.

We are continuously working to improve our methodology and data, with the goal of providing renters with the information that they need to make the best decisions.

Chicago Renter Confidence Survey
National study of renter confidence in the economy, homeownership, and cities
Here's how Chicago ranks on:
B- Overall satisfaction
D Safety and crime rate
C+ Jobs and career opportunities
C Recreational activities
C- Affordability
D Quality of schools
D Weather
C+ Commute time
F State and local taxes
A Public transit
C Pet-friendliness
Best Worst
Full data available when viewing on a non-mobile device.
Overview of Findings

Apartment List has released results for Chicago from the second annual Apartment List Renter Satisfaction Survey. The survey, which drew on responses from over 30,000 renters, provides insight into what states and cities must do to meet the needs of the 105 million American renters nationwide.

“Renters in Chicago are relatively satisfied with their city overall,” says Andrew Woo, Director of Data Science at Apartment List. “However, satisfaction scores vary greatly across different categories.”

Key findings in Chicago include the following:

  • Chicago renters gave their city a B- overall for satisfaction.
  • The highest-rated category for Chicago was access to public transit (A).
  • Renters here are somewhat satisfied with local jobs and career opportunities (C+), commute times (C+), and affordability/cost of living (C-).
  • The biggest causes for dissatisfaction here included state and local taxes (F), quality of local schools (D), and safety (D).
  • Millennial renters seem to be much more satisfied with life in Chicago than renters who are parents, giving the city an A- overall whereas renters who are parents gave the city an F.
  • Compared to other similarly sized cities such as Philadelphia (B) and New York City (B-), Chicago renter satisfaction is relatively on par.
  • The top rated cities nationwide for renter satisfaction included Arlington, VA; Lincoln, NE; Pasadena, CA; Boston, MA; and Madison, WI. The lowest rated cities included Newark, NJ; Bronx, NY; Bridgeport, CT; Baltimore, MD; and Salinas, CA.

Renters say:

  • “Chicago has everything! Public transit, beautiful lakefront, and lots of activities - especially in the summer. The only bad thing is the weather in the winter.” —Lauren S.
  • “Love that the transit system works so well and is very close to my apartment. During winter, I don't have to worry about slush or ice because they clean up the city so quickly.” —Melissa J.
  • “I wish the city was more peaceful…I wish kids were able to go outside…The crime in Chicago is terrible and makes it hard to raise a family in these conditions.” —Fharackaun E.
  • “No parking or extremely expensive parking in most neighborhoods. Chicago is going tax crazy with everything. Chicago Public Schools are bankrupt and offer very few good schools to select neighborhoods. That being said, I love Chicago, public transportation, many things to do, beautiful city with both nature and buildings, friendly people.” —Paulina M.