Chicago Among Most Affordable Housing Markets for Millennials

by Laura Barker

Chicago is still budget-friendly for Millennials


Although skyrocketing housing costs and limited space have kept Millennials from buying housing in popular metropolitan areas, Chicago’s housing market is still in the range of affordability for the average Millennial.

Bloomberg L.P., a financial software and data company, compared the median home value of the top 50 metropolitan areas to the median Millennial income to calculate how much more Millennials would have to make each year to afford to live in each city. Chicago is one of the more affordable cities on the list, ranking in at a reasonable 32 on the list of the 50 most expensive metropolitan areas. Thanks to larger land area, Chicago’s housing prices are much lower than many other large urban cities.

Millennial Affordability – a Nationwide Problem

While Millennials haven’t been priced out of every metropolitan area, many of the cities where they have been priced out are the spots with the best job markets for Millennials. San Jose, one of the best cities for STEM graduates, is $80,162 outside of the budget for the average Millennial. The biggest gap between home values and Millennial earnings is along the West Coast. In the top three California cities (San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles), the average Millennial isn’t making even half of what they need to afford a house.

Affordability has worsened considerably in just the last four years. In the National Association of Realtors’ 2011 Housing Affordability Index, New York City was just outside the scale of affordability, but, as the Bloomberg study shows, the 2015 Millennial yearly paycheck is $6,550 away from affording a house in the city.

While being priced out of major cities such as Boston and New York is bad news for Millennials, it’s good news for the city of Chicago. With many young people looking for affordable housing with the benefits of city living, it’s no surprise that half of the U.S.’ most densely populated Millennial areas are located in Chicago.

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