Moderate Rent Growth Across Chicagoland, Except for One Western Suburb

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There’s a reason we didn’t see Chicago in apartment-related headlines last year: no spectacular changes in rent prices. During 2016, overall apartment rents in the Chicago area lingered between $1,300 and $1,400, on average. The metro rents grew by a moderate 4% in 2016, on par with the national rent growth rate, finishing the year at $1,387/month, only $167 above the national average monthly rent. Continuing in the same moderate fashion, Chicagoland rents are expected to grow by 4% in 2017, according to Yardi Matrix.

Chicago Rent Prices Report 2016 Rent Cafe

In 2016, Chicago apartments cost 5.9% more in rent than they did in 2015, with the average rent in the city reaching $1,738/month at the end of 2016 from $1,500 3 years prior – rather down-to-earth prices for the nation’s second largest city. About 7,000 new units were opened in 2016 in large-scale residential projects throughout Chicago, making for a generous selection of new apartments for Windy City renters and keeping prices at bay.

Elmhurst, Oak Park and McHenry grew faster than any Chicago neighborhood

Chicago and cities map Average Rent 2016

The average rent in Elmhurst shot up 14.2% in one year, from $1,261 to $1,440, the only double-digit rent increase in the metro area last year. The out of the ordinary increase was mainly a side-effect of the opening of 192 luxury rental units in affluent downtown Elmhurst known as Elmhurst 255. Apartments here rent for up to $4,000/month for a 3-bedroom unit.

The completion of another large development — Vantage Oak Park — in Oak Park, which offers upscale apartments renting for up to $3,600/month for a 2-bedroom, also pushed overall rents up in Oak Park by 9% last year. Steadily gaining in popularity for several years now, Oak Park is one of Chicagoland’s most expensive rental markets, with an average rent of $1,808.

McHenry, IL is third in rent growth in 2016, with a 8.6% price increase in 2016 as compared to 2015. A long apartment construction hiatus in this suburb has pushed rental prices up more than expected. One large apartment complex is set to open this year, projected to add over 200 new apartments to the local inventory.

Aurora, Bensenville, and Westmont are also getting pricier for suburban renters, posting increases of 7% or above in 2016. The 3 towns share some market characteristics that have led to a spike in rents: an increasing renter population and a complete lack of new apartments.

Also noteworthy is that rents in Evanston were rather timid last year, having increased by 4.8%, thanks in part to the constant opening of new apartment buildings in the last few years. Evanston rentals continue to draw demand from its Northwestern University student population and generally a growing number of young people choosing to call this hip little town home.

Premier suburban markets Deerfield, Oakbrook Terrace and Glenview growing slow

Apartments for rent in Glenview, Darien and Oakbrook Terrace got a little cheaper last year, while rents in Hoffman Estates stagnated in 2016. Deerfield, IL apartment rents – the most expensive in the area – have increased by a slight 0.4% y-o-y, so have those in the more affordable Will County town of Crest Hill and in DuPage County’s Carol Stream.

Here are the priciest and the cheapest rents in Chicagoland:

Chicago Metro Area top Least and Most Expensive Cities 2016


Only 3 Chicago neighborhoods saw rent increases above 5% last year

Generally, last year’s rent increases within the city limits weren’t spectacular by any means. One area surprises with the highest rent hike in 2016, 8.3%: Douglas/South Commons/Bronzeville. Located South of 26th Street and North of Pershing Road, bordered on the west side by South Stewart Ave, the South Side neighborhood is a large rental market with over 4,000 rental apartments in large buildings alone, and an average rent of $1,164 as of the end of 2016.

Not much of a surprise, rentals in uber-hip Lincoln Square suffered the second highest price increase last year, 7.2%, bringing the average rent in the area to $1,249. The third highest price increase took place in Rogers Park, though only a moderate 5.7%.

Rent prices declined by -9.9% in the Grand Boulevard area, south of Douglas/Bronzeville and by -5.1% in Lawndale/Lower West Side.

Look up rent prices in your town in the table below:

City & StateAverage Rent 2016Average Rent 2015Change Y-o-YUnits Delivered
Elmhurst, IL$1,440$1,26114.2%191
Oak Park, IL$1,808$1,6599.0%270
McHenry, IL$1,019$9388.6%-
Aurora, IL$1,228$1,1417.6%-
Bensenville, IL$1,139$1,0637.1%-
Westmont, IL$1,166$1,0907.0%-
Joliet, IL$939$8836.3%-
Steger, IL$841$7926.2%-
Kenosha, WI$856$8076.1%60
Hobart, IN$853$8056.0%-
Chicago, IL$1,743$1,6465.9% 7,023
St. Charles, IL$1,247$1,1785.9%-
Lombard, IL$1,356$1,2885.3%-
Gurnee, IL$1,180$1,1235.1%-
Park Forest, IL$1,036$9865.1%-
Woodstock, IL$917$8735.0%108
Mundelein, IL$1,130$1,0765.0%-
Highland, IN$1,108$1,0564.9%-
Mount Prospect, IL$1,190$1,1354.8%-
Evanston, IL$1,848$1,7634.8%112
Naperville, IL$1,387$1,3264.6%-
Elgin, IL$1,029$9844.6%164
Lisle, IL$1,268$1,2134.5%-
Downers Grove, IL$1,310$1,2594.1%-
Itasca, IL$1,249$1,2014.0%-
Glen Ellyn, IL$1,072$1,0314.0%-
Grayslake, IL$1,011$9743.8%-
Wheaton, IL$1,423$1,3713.8%-
Des Plaines, IL$1,265$1,2203.7%-
Palatine, IL$1,240$1,1973.6%-
Wheeling, IL$1,291$1,2473.5%288
Crystal Lake, IL$1,122$1,0843.5%-
West Chicago, IL$978$9453.5%-
Woodridge, IL$1,191$1,1513.5%93
Gary, IN$656$6343.5%-
Skokie, IL$1,529$1,4793.4%-
DeKalb, IL$787$7623.3%-
Waukegan, IL$926$8973.2%-
Griffith, IN$867$8423.0%-
Romeoville, IL$1,346$1,3082.9%-
Willowbrook, IL$1,371$1,3332.9%-
Tinley Park, IL$1,015$9872.8%-
Richton Park, IL$954$9282.8%-
Elk Grove Village, IL$1,153$1,1222.8%-
Alsip, IL$900$8782.5%-
Glendale Heights, IL$1,132$1,1052.4%-
Schaumburg, IL$1,320$1,2892.4%-
Merrillville, IN$914$8942.2%-
Villa Park, IL$1,284$1,2562.2%-
Roselle, IL$1,129$1,1052.2%-
Bolingbrook, IL$1,185$1,1602.2%-
North Aurora, IL$1,144$1,1212.1%-
La Grange Park, IL$1,004$9842.0%-
Arlington Heights, IL$1,407$1,3802.0%-
Buffalo Grove, IL$1,482$1,4551.9%-
Valparaiso, IN$859$8441.8%-
Rolling Meadows, IL$1,172$1,1531.6%-
Lansing, IL$913$8991.6%-
Carpentersville, IL$872$8591.5%-
Batavia, IL$886$8731.5%-
Calumet City, IL$855$8441.3%-
Vernon Hills, IL$1,604$1,5841.3%336
Bloomingdale, IL$1,317$1,3021.2%-
Hammond, IN$790$7830.9%-
Crown Point, IN$910$9020.9%-
Portage, IN$815$8090.7%-
Justice, IL$977$9720.5%-
Zion, IL$812$8080.5%-
Carol Stream, IL$1,144$1,1390.4%-
Crest Hill, IL$921$9170.4%-
Deerfield, IL$2,189$2,1810.4%-
Schererville, IN$915$9140.1%-
Hoffman Estates, IL$1,198$1,1980.0%-
Oakbrook Terrace, IL$1,683$1,686-0.2%-
Darien, IL$1,191$1,204-1.1%-
Glenview, IL$1,640$1,658-1.1%239

Source: Rent prices are actual rents in multi-family properties of 50 or more units, from Yardi Matrix, a RentCafe sister company.

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Nadia Balint is a senior creative writer for RENTCafé. She covers news and trends in residential and commercial real estate and their impact on our everyday life, including rental housing, for-sale housing, real estate development, homeownership, market reports, insurance, landlord-tenant laws, personal finance, urban development, economy, sustainability, and social issues. Nadia holds a B.S. in Business Management from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. You can connect with Nadia via email.

Nadia’s work and expertise have been quoted by major national and local media outlets, including CNN, CNBC, CBS News, Curbed, The NY Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post as well as industry publications, such as GlobeSt, Bisnow, Inman News, Multifamily Executive, and The Commercial Real Estate Show. Nadia also wrote for Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive, HubSpot, and more. Prior to entering the real estate industry, Nadia worked in the legal field, where she gained over 10 years of experience in business, corporate, and real estate law.

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