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You Need To Make $96K To Afford A 2-Bedroom Apartment In Chicago [Updated]

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 13, 2017 9:39PM

Getty Images / Photo: Tim Boyle

Update, Friday, July 14:
A closer look at the data shows that the report’s average rental rate appears to be… overstated? According to the most recent American Housing Survey data, the median monthly housing cost of a two-bedroom apartment in Chicago is $977—far lower than the report’s stated $2,254. At the same time, the data also show that rent-burdening in Chicago is quite real: the median monthly housing cost, as percentage of household income, for a two-bedroom is 29 percent, just shy of HUD’s 30 percent threshold.

A Chicago household needs have an income of $96,600 in order to afford the average rent of a two-bedroom apartment without being burdened, according to a new report from personal finance technology company SmartAsset. That represents an increase of more than $20,000 over last year's income threshold figure for a two-bedroom ($76,071), as determined by the company's 2016 report.

The report ranked Chicago sixth highest overall out of 15 major metros. San Francisco ($179,529) ranked highest, followed by New York ($164,614) and Boston ($135,686). Chicago had the highest-required income of cities that fell outside the six-figure range. The sixth place rank represents a jump from last year, when Chicago was the eighth highest city.


The average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in Chicago was $2,254, according to the report. (San Francisco's staggering $4,189 ranked costliest.)

Some of the costliest cities actually saw their required income level fall from last year, including San Francisco (though not enough to keep it off No. 1), New York City and Washington, D.C.

The report's definition of rent burden closely mirrors the federal standard. The Department of Housing and Urban Development's defines affordable housing as that which requires a household to spend no more than 30 percent of income on rent and utilities. SmartAsset places its bar at 28 percent. The report tracked data from apartment lister Rentcafe. Another recent report found that Chicago ranks higher than the national average in terms of rents, but fell outside the Top 10 most expensive cities to rent a one-bedroom apartment. More with less, as the fella says.

[H/T Curbed]