Jun 8, 2022 - Real Estate

Chicagoans need to make more money to buy a home

Illustration of a gold-plated house-for-sale sign.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Chicagoans have to earn 18.2% more than they did a year ago to afford our region's median-value home.

The big picture: The income needed to afford a home has soared nationally as limited inventory and strong demand have steadily driven sale prices higher.

Why it matters: Chicago incomes are not increasing at that pace, further constricting entry into the housing market for many people.

By the numbers: In March 2021, you had to earn at least $48,556 to afford the median home for sale in the Chicago metro area, per the latest analysis by real estate company Redfin.

  • This March, you needed to make $57,400.
  • For a median-priced home of $310,000, a monthly mortgage with 5% down jumped from $1,214 to $1,435, per Redfin.

Of note: A monthly mortgage payment is considered affordable if homebuyers spend no more than 30% of their income on housing.

Meanwhile, wages in our metro area grew less than 4% over the same period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • The median household income here is $74,621, according to newly released census data for 2016–2020.

Yes, but: Even with recent shifts, Chicago housing prices have remained relatively affordable compared to other U.S. cities, according to an analysis by real estate tech company OJO Labs.

  • Across the U.S., buyers need 34% more income to afford a home, Redfin found.
Data: Redfin; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios
Data: Redfin; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

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