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Category Archives: Relocation

Cost of Living in Chicago

I often tell visitors to Chicago, go up to the 96th floor of the Hancock on Michigan Avenue or take in a summer night on the rooftop of the London Hotel.  It is the BEST VIEWS, but you have pay $17 for a cocktail. Nothing is free. But you get a cocktail AND  a view. You don’t get that at the Willis Tower Skydeck or the Observatory of the Hancock.

I moved here from the Detroit suburbs. So Chicago was not “sticker shock”. Sure you pay a little more,  but look at ALL THAT GET! Nothing is free.

Chicago: The Windy City. Famous for its architecture and its deep-dish pizza, Chicago has a lot to offer. The third-largest city in the US is known as a city of neighborhoods. But before you make a move to the “Jewel of the Midwest” you should understand the true cost of living in Chicago. We’ve got you covered with our guide to the ins and outs of paying for life in America’s “Second City.”

Renting Costs in Chicago

Chicago may rival New York in terms of architectural splendor but the Windy City falls behind when it comes to rent prices. And that’s a good thing for the cost of living in Chicago.

According to myapartmentmap.com, the average rent for a Chicago apartment stands at $1,078 for a studio and $1,341 for a one-bedroom place. Upgrade to a two-bedroom and you can expect to pay around $1,744. A three-bedroom will run you $2,158.

These aren’t exactly bargains, but they’re well below the prices in New York. Take a look at how Chicago rental prices compare to the rest of America’s 10 largest cities.

Utilities

Whether you rent or buy you’ll have to pay utilities. According to numbeo.com, a basic utilities package of electricity, heating, water and garbage costs $121.16 in Chicago. If you add internet you’ll pay around $40.14. That’s below the national average of $47.83 and cheaper than internet in the rest of the country’s 10 largest cities.

Chicago Transportation Costs

Chicagoans who don’t have cars rely on a combination of bus and subway service. An unlimited monthly pass from the Chicago Transit Authority costs $100. That’s on par with LA and $16.50 less than in New York.

If you decide you can’t get by without a car you’ll have to pay for one of Chicago’s City Vehicle Stickers. This annual expense ensures your compliance with the city’s Wheel Tax. For a regular-sized passenger car the sticker will cost you $85.97.  GAS PRICES might make you faint!  30% above the national average!  Thanks to ALL OF THE TAXES!

Taxes

What about taxes? Groceries in Chicago are subject to a 2.25% sales tax on food. That’s rare in the US. Then there’s the restaurant tax to worry about.  And sales tax in Cook County is  10.25%.

Plus, Illinois has the second-highest property taxes in the nation. The statewide average effective property tax rate is 2.13%. That’s almost twice the national average. When it comes to income taxes, Chicago keeps things simple, though. Illinois has a flat income tax of 5%.

Entertainment

Chicago isn’t lacking in entertainment options.  This does not make the city more expensive. Maybe it’s your lifestyle. You can live in Indiana cheap and have NOTHING to do.  OR live in Chicago.

Bottom Line

Chicago has plenty of free attractions to recommend it. How about a walk along the shore of Lake Michigan, a picnic in Millennium Park or a visit to the Lincoln Park Zoo? When you get tired you can check out the campus of the University of Chicago or take a stroll through Wicker Park. Just make sure you bring a warm coat if you visit in winter. Although the origin of the nickname “Windy City” has nothing to do with the weather, Chicago is in fact a windy city.

READ MORE at  SMART  ASSET

Moving to Chicago

Chicago is somewhat of a Midwest melting pot. And the jewel of the Midwest!

A lot of people born in small Midwest towns seem to gravitate to the big city. Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa….boys and girls looking to escape their small town blues, head to Chicago!

Especially in the Spring. May 1st is the busiest moving week of the year here in Chicago! The Chicago tradition of moving on the first day of May can be traced back to English and Dutch practices that were passed on by immigrants. In 1911  rules were enacted to allow leases to be made at any time of the year – however,  May continues to be the most popular month to move. With an average temperature of 69 degrees, it makes sense that Chicagoans would want to move in May, before the heat of summer sets in.

However, if you are looking for a lower price, the renter’s market is Fall/Winter 11/1-2/28, but there is less supply. Peek lessor’s time is 4/1-9/30, with July 1 occupancy being the busiest time. Any other time you can get a decent price with more of a supply of unit to examine.