When moving anywhere, you want to be prepared to make the right decision especially when the minimum rent is above $1,500 per month and the minimum lease is 12 months. Downtown Chicago has many options in terms of apartments and as mentioned before, the purpose of this website is to help you make your first move to downtown Chicago a happy one. Below we discuss some of the factors that impact the cost of rent and discuss certain properties available in the downtown Chicago neighborhoods.
Factors That Impact the Cost of Rent Clearly everyone who is looking to rent is looking to pay the least amount realistically possible, especially when it can cost you upwards of $24,000 a year in rents when looking in downtown Chicago. So when you are thinking of moving to downtown Chicago, you might want to consider the following factors. Some of these may be obvious, while others not.
- Closer proximity to Chicago’s business district known as the Loop will increase the cost of living. As in most cities, the closer you live to the central business district the more expensive your cost of living gets.
- The perceived “prestige”, “cool factor” or “popularity” of a neighborhood. Yes, it is true. Certain neighborhoods have greater demand than others regardless of their proximity to the central business district. This creates a greater demand for housing thus keeping rental prices at elevated levels. Some of the neighborhoods that have a high demand are Streeterville, River North and Gold Coast.
- Age of apartment/condo building or complex. This may seem completely obvious and you are likely expecting me to say that the newer the building is, the more it will cost you in monthly rental payments. And in a perfect market this is true, but you have to take into consideration how “new” the building is. For example, if a building or complex is really new and has just been constructed, the owners typically would like to “stabilize” the building. This means getting the building filled with renters which cover its basic expenses. This in turn means having lower than market rates to attract renters to move in faster. Once they achieve a certain occupancy rate (i.e. 85%-90%+) they start to be more firm on negotiations and request higher monthly rental rates. A good rental broker can help you find these below market deals. The key takeaway is don’t dismiss a brand new apartment development by thinking it will be out of your price range, there may be some rent concessions to significantly sweeten the deal.
- Stability of the apartment/condo building or complex. This may not be an obvious factor, but if a building has a high turnover rate (renters not renewing leases), you may be able to move in and lease the space for a lower than market rental rate. However, be sure to research the driver behind a high turnover rate. Some causes could be a bad non-responsive management team, bed bug infestation (not common, but it happens), old appliances, poor heating and cooling system, poor maintenance of amenities etc. Make sure you can live with the trade-off for the lower rent – whatever it is – before you make your final decision.
- Competition between landlords. Competition is always good for the consumer, in this case someone looking to move to downtown Chicago. The most likely scenario here is that there are new units coming on the market and the new apartment buildings are offering aggressive concessions just to get you to move in. This is a great situation to be in and it really helps if you have a rental broker that is in the know about the area you are looking in so you can get the best deal.
Now that you have read the factors impacting price, you should be able to better tackle the task of looking for a new apartment to move into. So below we start with a summary of the covered downtown Chicago neighborhoods.
Streeterville is a nice high-end dog friendly neighborhood close to the lake with many parks, jogging paths and access to other activities. It is considered as one of the nicer places to live in downtown Chicago and definitely is priced that way. The residents tend to be highly educated, closer to their forties and, due to its close proximity to Northwestern Hospital, are usually in the medical industry. We cover this area in our Streeterville neighborhood page in more detail. Details such as demographics of who lives in this area, the various activities nearby and, among other things, the relative cost of living for this area. If you haven’t already seen this page, we recommend you view it before looking at apartments in this neighborhood. However, if you are ready to move on click on the link below.
River North is a more energetic and robust version of Streeterville. The residents tend to be younger and the nightlife is among the best in downtown Chicago. Additionally, this is the most convenient downtown neighborhood in terms of public transportation as there are many bus routes and the Red Line and Brown Line that pass through here. Recommend you check out our River North neighborhood page in more detail before you decide on a final neighborhood to move into. There you can find details such as demographics of who lives in this area, the various activities nearby and, among other things, the relative cost of living for this area. However, if you are ready to move forward, click on the link below to view apartments in the River North neighborhood.