Real Estate

Rent Booming in Chicago, Up 11% in 5 Months

Rent is up more than 25% in the Chicagoland area year over year

NBC Universal, Inc.

Though moving is already a monumentally stressful task, it just got more expensive and selective, especially around Chicago.

Zumper—the third largest real estate platform in North America—has been tracking rental prices and trends since 2014.

The report found that Chicago is outpacing the Midwest, as the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city is up 10.7% since January. That same one-bedroom is now going for nearly $1,800 a month.

“This was definitely an untraditionally difficult year,” said Lauren Cairo, a Chicago resident who recently moved into a new apartment.

Cairo is one of the thousands of tenants that are now running into roadblocks when it comes time to find a new place to live.

“The process of just getting to see places is what was different this time - like a lot of places you couldn’t even get to it in time,” Cairo said.

The rise in rent is now up more than 25% year over year, according to the latest data, and the demand is outpacing the supply. Experts told NBC 5 that this is a domino effect that started with the housing crisis.

“You are starting to see bidding wars on individual rental units, which is totally unheard of,” Jeff Andrews, senior market analyst at Zumper, said.

Given the current circumstances surrounding this market, is it better to renew your lease or hope to find a better deal elsewhere?

“In this climate where rent is rising very rapidly, all else equal with rates rising so quickly, its less likely that you’ll be able to find a deal," Andrews said. "And even if you do, that will be offset by moving costs."

Experts told NBC 5 that your best bet is to start a search for a new place early, to gauge what is available. When you find that new apartment, aim for a longer lease to lock in your price. Lastly, if you do plan on staying in your own building, experts advised speaking to your landlord in hopes of working out a deal.

“Shoot your shot. You want to negotiate, you want to get extra parking go for it - it never hurts to ask…if they like you, they are going to be more likely to cut you a break," Andrews said.

What does Cairo recommend from her own experience looking for a new apartment in this market?

“Look early, look often. I mean respond to every Zillow ad or whatever, what you see and just be really diligent about it. Good luck,” Cairo said.

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