Market Snapshot: Options Abound for Chicagoland Renters.

Chicago renters are benefiting from an ongoing construction boom downtown and a surge in commuter-friendly apartment developments along the ‘L’.

Vacancy by Submarket

Rapid pace of new apartment construction downtown yields higher vacancy rates and more move-in incentives. 

The construction boom in and around the Loop continues. Over 2,200 units were built Downtown in 2014 – causing vacancy rates in the area to skyrocket to more than 8 percent year over year, nearly double that of surrounding neighborhoods. Because of this, competition will be fierce among landlords seeking to attract new tenants now and in the coming months. Apartment-hunters should be able to receive one month’s free rent if they sign a lease in a newly built property Downtown.
However, while move-in specials may be more attainable, the ongoing surge in development has done little to curb rising rent prices in and around the Loop. Average asking rent prices in this area have increased more than $160 per month since last year, outpacing the vast majority of the city.

Asking Rent Change, Year Over Year

Deal seekers should head to the city’s north and northwest sides. 

Renters priced out of the Loop have plenty of alternatives to choose from in the surrounding areas. While asking rent prices in North Lakefront have increased by $80 – $160 more per month since last year, the pace of rent growth is more modest than Downtown. The recently revitalized neighborhoods of Fulton Market and Old Town are likely to offer lower prices than those in and around the Loop, with average monthly rent prices of $1,900 and $2,086 for a one-bedroom/one-bathroom apartment, respectively. Lakeview and Lincoln Park also provide renters with a plethora of affordable options, boasting average monthly rental rates of $1,524 and $1,433 for a one-bedroom/one-bathroom apartment, respectively.

Apartment Construction Along the Blue Line

Transit-oriented development continues to enhance both availability and desirability of apartments in less-centralized neighborhoods.

Transit-oriented apartments – new properties built in close proximity to major transit hubs – have become a hot commodity across the Chicago metro area. Now more than ever, apartment-dwellers are able to live within walking distance of public transportation. Logan Square, Wicker Park and Bucktown have seen a flurry of developments around Blue Line stations. Currently, 16 new apartment buildings or 1,285 cumulative units are either under construction or in planning stages along the ‘L’ in these three neighborhoods. As a result, increasingly, renters in these areas can expect to enjoy easy, car-free access to work or nightlife. As commuter-friendly apartments continue to pop up around the city, compromising convenience will no longer be a requirement for renters in peripheral neighborhoods.