Okay, Really: How Affordable is Chicago’s Housing Market?

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Though today, many housing markets are considered “affordable,” how does our fine city compare to the nation’s most affordable housing markets?


Housing affordability is a major selling point for any housing market. After all, if you’re going to succeed in convincing your client to buy, rather than rent, it helps to have an affordable housing market to fall back on!

But how affordable, really, is our housing market? To find out, we took a look at a fresh study on housing affordability from ZipRealty, which looked at 30 of the nation’s largest metropolitan housing markets and, after comparing the cities’ income and average home price, computed a home price/median income ratio to determine how affordable the respective city’s housing markets were.

The results on either end of the spectrum were not entirely surprising – with a low ratio of just 5.27, Dallas-Fort Worth came in at No. 1, while Washington D.C. edged out Brooklyn with a 16.78 (that’s right – housing in our historic capitol is three times that of our most affordable market!). But again, how does our city fall in between those two extremes? Check out our infographic below. Click on the circles to compare the data ZipRealty utilized, and touch each box with your mouse to see the specific numbers:

So what do you make of ZipRealty’s findings? They detail quite extensively how they came to the conclusions that they did, but we couldn’t help but notice how varied their information seemed from the latest Illinois Association of Realtors numbers, which reported a wildly different median home price for Chicago. Nevertheless, our infographic does reflect ZipRealty’s findings.

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