How Much Rent Can I Afford in Chicago? Our Experts Answer This Essential Budgeting Question

how much rent can i afford in chicago

One of the first decisions you need to make is around the appropriate price point if you’re looking to move. For those moving to the Windy City for the first time, it’s important to have a realistic expectation of rental prices worth considering.

So how much rent can you afford in Chicago? The answer to that question depends largely on your salary. 

Hear one of our broker’s tips on budgeting for rent in the city

Tip #1: 3x the monthly rent

As a renter, you will need to apply for the apartment you are interested in. Generally, landlord or property management companies require tenants to earn at least three times the monthly rent in gross income to qualify for an apartment. When you find an apartment at your price point, you will be asked to verify your income with pay stubs or an offer letter if you move to Chicago for a new job.

Tip #2: The 33% rule. 

The general rule of thumb for any renter is to avoid spending more than 33 percent of your gross income on rent. Most real estate experts advise renters to spend anywhere between 25-35 percent. While you want to avoid spending above 33 percent, the percentage of rent you spend depends mainly on the cost of living and what kind of apartment you’re looking for.

Tip #3: Base Rent + Utilities + Parking = The Whole Picture.

When calculating the potential costs of an apartment, don’t forget fees outside of the base rent price. These expenses add to your bottom line housing budget and include utilities, parking, pet rent, application fees and security deposits/move-in fees. While some apartments offer bundled utilities packages at one flat cost, other buildings leave it up to you to choose and pay for your services on your own.

Consider using an online rent calculator to help you calculate exactly how much you should spend on rent.

Once you figure out how much you’re comfortable spending, you can begin finding apartments in your price range. Here are a few Luxury Living Chicago Realty apartments suitable for various budgets.

Apartments under $2,000 per month

If you’re aiming to stay under $2,000 per month in Chicago, here are a few buildings offering studios or convertibles within this price range:

  • Panorama – 918 W School Street – These brand new luxury Lakeview apartments offer an incredible location. Residents have easy access to the Lake, public transit, as well as bus and bike routes to downtown. You can find the perfect studio from $1,550 to $1,695.
  • Alta Grand Central – 221 W Harrison – This two-tower apartment building in South Loop offers thoughtful floor plans and modern amenities, including an indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge, fitness center, and co-working space. Here, you can find studios between $1,727 to $1,900.
  • Lofts at River East – 445 E Illinois St – Nestled in the Streeterville neighborhood are these brick and timber lofts overlooking the Chicago River. In addition to the cozy charm these lofts bring, you will also find studios at the sub $2,000 price point of $1,865.
  • K2 – 365 N Halsted – In between Chicago’s River North and West Loop neighborhoods, you will find these premier apartments in the Fulton Market area. K2 offers an unbeatable walk-to-work location and studio apartments starting at $1,864.

Apartments under $2,500 per month

With a $2,500 per month price range, you can be a bit more flexible in terms of unit size and location. With $2,500 per month in Chicago, you can land studio, convertible, and 1-bedroom apartments easily within this price point.

  • Ashland Place – 33 S Ashland Ave – This boutique apartment building offers condo-style apartments in the booming West Loop neighborhood. You can find one-bedroom apartments ranging from $2,195 to $2,300.
  • Xavier – 625 W Division St – This luxury Old Town building delivers an urban and modern living experience. One bedroom apartments at Xavier run anywhere from $2,208 to $2,500, with studios starting at $2,092.
  • Amli Lofts – 850 S Clark St – Amli Lofts in the South Loop offer loft designer finish packages and luxurious amenities. If you’re looking for a one-bedroom or studio apartment, consider the various floor plans available within the building.

With more insight into how much rent you can afford in Chicago, begin your search for the ideal apartment today! We have experienced and licensed brokers eager to help you with your hunt.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2021 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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