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Category Archives: Rent Prices

What is ARO- Chicago’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance?

*This information does not replace the counsel of an attorney.  There are a number of pending changes to the ordinance being considered by the Chicago City Council and substantive pieces of even this Q and A may be modified or nullified as a result.  Refer to the City Clerk of Chicago/ Housing for the most recent ordinance. 

What is the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO)?

The ARO is designed to economically blend rental or owner occupied market rate developments to allow for occupancy by qualified individuals or families at an affordable rate.  It impacts new or existing residential developments which add 10 or more units and require new zoning, city land purchase or city financial assistance.

How is affordability defined?

Affordability is defined in a number of ways.  For rental, housing that is affordable means a household earning up to 60% of the area median income.  For owner occupied housing, housing that is affordable means an applicant earns up to 100% of the AMI.  This changes if the subject RENTAL property is funded by TIF (Tax Increment Financing).  In that case the AMI drops to 50%; and for owner occupied it drops to 80% of AMI.  Units are required to remain affordable for 30 years. If the owner occupies the unit for a continuous period of 30 years the city will release the affordable housing agreement.


Getting one of these “affordable” apartments is  not easy and not everyone  can qualify.  It is possible to live in  a “luxury building”  in a  $2000  1 bedroom  apartment for under  $900!  BUT,  you must have great credit, usually  above  675  and  make under  $35,000  a year.  – and these figures will vary  from building  to building.

The demand for affordable apartments is off the charts  and not nearly  enough inventory  to keep up with the demand.  This is a complex topic and always changing.  Same  goes  for  the proposed  rent control bills.

I will try to cover more on the topic, in the near future!

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, 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.


Whether you rent or buy you’ll have to pay utilities. According to, 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!


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%.


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.


What $1350 Rent Gets You in Chicago

Curbed Comparisons, is a great regular column exploring what you can rent for a set dollar amount in different neighborhoods. Is one person’s studio another person’s townhouse? Let’s find out. Today we are looking at apartments at or under $1,350 per month on Chicago’s northwest side.


Right now – you can get a  three-bedroom in a vintage Humboldt Park building  for  about $1,300.

$1,300 per month can also rent a two-bedroom apartment in Avondale. Located near the Kennedy Expressway and popular spots like Kuma’s Corner, this one is both transit and amenity rich.

If you’re a fan of the Lincoln Square area, you can rent a  two-bedroom  for $1,325. While it’s a garden unit, it appears to be quite spacious and has plenty of windows.

A two-bedroom apartment in Pilsen is renting for $1,350. It’s a fairly open floor plan with some newer finishes. There’s even views of the skyline from this one.

Up in Avondale, you’ll find that a two-bedroom apartment in a brick three-flat is also seeking the same $1,350 rent.

It’s all about location.  If  you want  to be near the lake, like  Lincoln Park or Lakeview, expect to get a LOT LESS  space.

Let me help you with your search! I have access to thousands of listings every month. You tell me your needs and your wants and the computer  gives me list of possibilities.  Using my knowledge of the city and its neighborhoods,  I can provide you with honest unbiased feedback.  YOU are my client.  Not  the apartment owners.

Spaces has been in business since 2010. We pride ourselves on GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE and strive for excellence! And we have an amazing support team there to help with the application process  and submitting it to the landlord. We have awesome follow up as well and will keep you updated through the process.

When you are ready to move, call me!  I will help you find a perfect space to love!





CELL: 773.206.8359 | OFFICE: 773.525.6570



Average Apartment Prices in Chicago, By Neighborhood

As of SUMMER  2017,

 No longer residing in the top 10 markets, Chicago ranked as the 11th most expensive city to rent in the nation. Since last month, the price of one bedroom units grew 4.8% to a median of $1,760, while two bedrooms jumped 5.1% to $2,260.
(The map shows average 1 bedroom pricing).

Bridgeport and Beverly had some of the fastest growing rents since last quarter, both up over 12%.

While Greektown ($2,200) and River North ($2,050) continued to reign as the most expensive neighborhoods to rent this summer, LoopWest Loop, and Near South Side were other notably pricy areas, just under the $2,000 threshold. Mid-range priced rentals, for under $1,500, could be found in BoystownLakeview, and North Center.

On the other end of the cost spectrum, the most affordable areas were Fuller ParkWest PullmanEast Side, and Clearing.

If you want to see how the price of apartments for rent in Chicago compares with the rest of the United States’, view our National Rent Report for June, which analyzes over 1 million active listings available in the prior month.

To keep up to date with rent changes across the country, like or follow Zumper on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. In the market for a new place? Search all apartments for rent in Chicago on Zumper now.