Quantcast Chicago Buyers Guide: Finding the Right Neighborhood for You
Chicago Buyers Guide: Finding the Best Neighborhood for You

Whether it’s sports, a thriving culture and dining scene or the beauty of Lake Michigan, Chicago has all the prime offerings of a great city. The third largest city in the United States with a current population of about 2.7 million, Chicago has shown relatively flat growth in the past six years. Additionally, this large urban center hasn’t seen the increase in home prices noted in other major American cities, according to The Chicago Tribune. Real estate prices vary throughout Chicagoland, and the city’s 77 neighborhoods each have their own distinct character. If you’re looking to transition to Chicago, here are five neighborhoods to consider.

Bucktown

Bucktown architecture

Image Source: Flickr

  • Average Sales Price: $490,741
  • Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): -$9,773
  • Price per Square Foot: $354

Often cited as one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods, Bucktown is known for its impressive dining scene and culture. Situated next to the more expensive Lincoln Park, Bucktown provides more affordable options for those relocating to the Windy City. Housing stock covers a wide range of urban styles, primarily walk-ups, brownstones, lofts and low-rise condos. According to Walk Score, the neighborhood is highly walkable and bikeable, and it’s home to around 350 restaurants. Bucktown is also home to part of a new trail system that connects four city neighborhoods. Convenient transportation alternatives, including highway access and public transit, make this neighborhood a good option for commuters.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

  • Average Sales Price: $565,809
  • Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): -$23,951
  • Price per Square Foot: $272

Situated one mile from downtown, Lincoln Park is home to many of the city’s top attractions, including the lakefront park, museums and the Lincoln Park Zoo. This large neighborhood on the north side is one of the most sought-after areas in the city. HomeSnacks recently rated Lincoln Park at the top of a list of Chicago’s best neighborhoods based on income, employment, safety and home prices. Area Vibes states that the median age of residents is 31.7 — skewing younger than the rest of the city.

Lincoln Park is also a great place for families. The neighborhood was recently named the best for schools in the city by the local publication Reader. According to the neighborhood guide at YoChicago, the housing stock consists of older walk-ups. New construction tends to be condos or pricey single-family residences. A recent increase in building activity has led to the demolition of older homes in the neighborhood to make room for newer properties.

West Loop

West Loop neighborhood

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

  • Average Sales Price: $433,210
  • Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): -$2,466
  • Price per Square Foot: $316

West Loop is a former industrial area that’s been transformed into a fast-growing, family-friendly neighborhood. This neighborhood ranked second in the city for millennials by Niche, when factoring in items such as the current number of millennial residents, job opportunities, housing affordability and the social scene. In addition to the availability of loft-style residences, recent development in the neighborhood promises modern options for new residents, such as high-rise living with first-floor retail space.

McDonald’s new headquarters is scheduled to open in West Loop in 2018, and Google’s Chicago headquarters is currently located in the Fulton Market district of the neighborhood. Dining options are also excellent; Thrillist calls West Loop a “food-filled paradise.”

Gold Coast

Gold Coast Chicagov
Image Source: Flickr

  • Average Sales Price: $724,196
  • Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): -$20,605
  • Price per Square Foot: $500

Gold Coast is well-known as an affluent lakefront neighborhood rich in history and architecture. Here, you’ll find opulent mansions, high-rise condos and historic brownstones. The shopping scene is also excellent, with high-end boutiques on Oak Street and a portion of the famous Magnificent Mile located in the neighborhood. Residents tend to be well-educated, with 40 percent attaining a master’s degree or higher, according to Niche’s neighborhood demographics. According to Mansion Global, the most affordable homes in Gold Coast are typically one-bedroom condos, with higher-end homes selling for $1,200 per square foot or more.

Oak Park

Oak Park, Illinois

Image Source: Flickr/David Wilson

  • Average Sales Price: $258,646
  • Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): -$13,833
  • Price per Square Foot: $186

A small village just 10 miles from downtown, this suburb was once the home of Ernest Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright. In Oak Park, single-family homes are the predominant housing stock. With a population of 52,000, residents of Oak Park enjoy good schools and a growing downtown undergoing development. Crain’s recently named Oak Park as a best bet for new homebuyers, citing the suburb’s variety of single-family homes and vibrant downtown. Home prices are still below their pre-recession peak values, meaning homebuyers can find affordable properties in this suburb. If you’re commuting to the city for work, public transportation from Oak Park is often the best option.

Continuing real estate development points to further modernization in this great Midwest city. Aside from the neighborhoods profiled above, other affordable options can be found in many areas, including Edgewater, Rogers Park and Humboldt Park. The Chicagoist recently revealed that users picked Chicago as the top big city with a housing market poised for transformation thanks to the tech industry.

Technology companies may carry Chicagoland into the future, but the city also offers plenty of other distinctive characteristics such as its prime location in the center of the country, along with a rich history and culture. Newcomers to the area will find a variety of housing options at range of prices prices. If you’re thinking about a move to the metro area, check Owners.com for the most current homes available for sale.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Owners.com, Altisource or any other Altisource® business or entity. The foregoing content is not intended to constitute, and in fact does not constitute, financial, investment, tax or legal advice by the author, Owners.com, Altisource or any other business or entity.

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