What Does It Really Cost to Live in Chicago?

Apartment Therapy's Cost of Living Report: Chicago 2013

Pin it button big

Chicago is a city known for its many distinctive neighborhoods. No matter your price point, your social scene, or your living needs, the city offers something for everyone. But because of this diversity, it can sometimes be difficult to know just what your pocketbook is in for.

I'm taking a cue from Beth's post about Los Angeles, and before launching into the numbers, I think it's necessary to explain my methodology a bit more fully. I chose four neighborhoods — Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Ravenswood, and Pilsen — primarily because of the different price points they offer. In terms of cost, one could say that Ravenswood is similar to Ukranian Village, Lincoln Square, and Logan Square. Pilsen's pricing is similar to Humboldt Park, Bridgeport, and parts of Uptown, and Lincoln Park's costs are comparable with Bucktown, Wicker Park, Wrigleyville, and Lakeview. All that said, the vibe of these neighborhoods differs radically, so all of the following information should be taken simply as a comparison of price, not of the character of the different neighborhoods.

My main caveat is that these are median prices, not averages, so while the median price of a three-bedroom home in Lincoln Park is $1.8 million, the average price tends to be lower. These figures were based on homes and rentals currently on the market, so the median may be skewed if an outlier home is for sale. (Example: A $3 million dollar house in a market primarily populated by homes closer to the $1 million range.) I did exclude some significant outliers (ex: a $14.2 million home in an area where $1 million is closer to the average). Also, certain neighborhoods (particularly the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park) have a great deal of price diversity, meaning that one should keep in mind that the median price covers a wide spectrum of price differences.

As a final note, I looked only at single-family homes or condos, not two-flats or three-flats that could potentially be converted into single-family homes. Their inclusion would have changed the median price as well. 

Now to the fun stuff!

Essentials & Entertainment
• Milk: $3.99/gal regular; $4.39/half gal organic
• Monthly CTA pass: $100 (El trains & local bus)
• Gas: $3.98/gal regular 
• Movie ticket: $12/adult
• Restaurant Dinner: $35/person
• Beer (draft pint): $5-6
• Cocktail: $10
Apartments/Condos for Rent

Studios:

Median Rents:

  • Gold Coast: $1281
  • Lincoln Park: $937
  • Ravenswood: $745
  • Pilsen: $600

Pin it button big


Examples:
  • Gold Coast: 1 bath, 650 square feet, $1400
  • Lincoln Park: 1 bath, 450 square feet, $950
  • Ravenswood: 1 bath, 375 square feet, $625
  • Pilsen: 1 bath, 700 square feet, $600


One Bedrooms:

Median Rents:
  • Gold Coast: $2142
  • Lincoln Park: $1550
  • Ravenswood: $1163
  • Pilsen: $900

Pin it button big

Examples:
  • Gold Coast: 1.5 bath, 1000 square feet, $2150
  • Lincoln Park: 1 bath, 950 square feet, $1250
  • Ravenswood: 1 bath, 700 square feet, $1195
  • Pilsen: 1 bath, 700 square feet, $900


Two Bedrooms:

Median Rents:

  • Gold Coast: $5100
  • Lincoln Park: $2615
  • Ravenswood: $1163
  • Pilsen: $1300

Pin it button big

Examples:
  • Gold Coast: 2 bath, 1600 square feet, $5200
  • Gold Coast: 2 bath, 1135 square feet, $2600
  • Lincoln Park: 1 bath, 950 square feet, $1250
  • Ravenswood: 1 bath, 1100 square feet, $1800
  • Pilsen: 1 bath, 1000 square feet, $1550
Houses and Condos for Sale:

Two Bedrooms:

Median Home Price:
  • Gold Coast: $860,000
  • Lincoln Park: $499,000
  • Ravenswood: $307,000
  • Pilsen: $255,000

Pin it button big

Examples:
  • Gold Coast: 2 baths, 1258 square feet, $755,000
  • Lincoln Park: 2 baths, 1958 square feet, $449,000
  • Ravenswood: 2 baths, 1600 square feet, $289,000
  • Pilsen: 2 baths, 1577 square feet, $245,000


Three Bedrooms:

Median Home Price:
  • Gold Coast: $3,000,000
  • Lincoln Park: $1,874,000
  • Ravenswood: $333,000
  • Pilsen: $270,000

Pin it button big

Examples:
  • Gold Coast: 3 baths, 2200 square feet, $799,000
  • Lincoln Park: 1.5 baths, 1700 square feet, $509,000
  • Ravenswood: 1 bath, 939 square feet, $399,900
  • Pilsen: 1.5 baths, 1244 square feet, $224,850

Four Bedrooms:

Median Home Price:
  • Gold Coast: $3,400,000
  • Lincoln Park: $1,630,000
  • Ravenswood: $633,000
  • Pilsen: $475,000

Pin it button big

Examples:
  • Gold Coast: 4 baths, 3650 square feet, $1,575,000
  • Lincoln Park: 3 baths, 3600 square feet, $1,775,000
  • Ravenswood: 3 bath, 4828 square feet, $799,000
  • Pilsen: 3 baths, 2320 square feet, $449,000

(Images: 1. "Cloud Gate" by Flickr user klynslis, licensed under Creative Commons; property photos via Zillow)