Sep 7, 2022 - Real Estate

Housing outpaces income in Chicago

Growth in median <span style="color: #00ab58; font-weight: 900;">homebuyer income</span> and <span style="color: #ff942f; font-weight: 900; white-space: nowrap;"> home price</span>
Data: Redfin analysis of HMDA data; Chart: Kavya Beheraj and Skye Witley/Axios

Remote workers drove up local home prices, a new Redfin study finds.

Why it matters: Free to work from home, white-collar workers relocated during the pandemic, using their higher salaries to buy cheaper homes, which has elevated housing prices.

  • Despite losing about 45,000 people since the pandemic began — about 1.6% of Chicago's 2020 population — wages locally haven't increased enough to keep up with the rising costs of buying or renting a home.

By the numbers: Chicago posted a 3% increase in homebuyer incomes from 2019 to 2021, according to Redfin's analysis of mortgage data in the country's largest metros.

  • The national average is 7%.
  • Boise led all U.S. cities with a 24% increase.

The big picture: Remote workers are making previously inexpensive cities much less affordable, Axios Markets' Emily Peck reports.

  • Nationally, the cost of housing is outpacing wages by 22%.
  • Chicago lags behind the national average for wages but is better on housing prices.

The bottom line: Despite shifting downward, Chicago's housing market is generally steady, but the lack of income growth to offset housing prices and inflation is a cause for concern.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more