“According to the Center for Housing Policy, metropolitan Chicago is the 72nd most expensive housing market in the nation, with a median home price of $172,000,” said the Chicago Tribune. In 2010, the median price was $203,000 and Chicago was the 48th most expensive housing market.
The Chicago Tribune says that 7.5 percent of Chicago properties were in foreclosure in 2010. Illinois, according to RealtyTrac, had 11,014 new foreclosures in the first half of the year. RealtyTrac’s Midyear 2011 Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report found that 84 percent of the metro areas they studied had lower foreclosure activity in the first half of this year, in comparison with the first half of 2010. Foreclosures, while unfortunate for the homeowners, in turn reduces prices, making homeownership in Chicago affordable.
Yet, the annual “Paycheck to Paycheck” study demonstrated that Chicago’s employed consumers are still struggling to achieve homeownership. In accordance with the average median price, a homebuyer would need to make an annual income of $50,930 in order to successfully buy a home (10 percent down payment/mortgage insurance accounted for).
The article claims that of those professions that are currently hiring, the only one which would allow the consumer to meet these salary requirements is a career as an accountant-not exactly a job you can decide to pick up on the fly. Accountants typically make about $55,758 annually.
Perhaps this is the reason Chicago’s rentals are dwindling, except that prices are rising in accordance with this trend. Chicago Tribune adds that renters should be making somewhere in the range of $36,160 to $40,640 in order to afford current rates of $904 a month for a one-bedroom, and $1,016 for a two-bedroom.
“In a lot of metro areas, homeownership has gotten a lot less expensive, but in the Chicago area it’s still unaffordable for more than half the workers we looked at,” said Maya Brennan, co-author of the “Paycheck to Paycheck” report, to the Chicago Tribune.
Several housing experts have correlated healthy employment with a healthy housing market, but Chicago’s statistics drive the importance of this relationship home-portraying a market where many are finding that one or the other is just out of reach.