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Unread 05-09-2011, 12:30 AM
 
143 posts, read 229,810 times
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Default Is it a popular misconception for ppl to think of Chicago as an affordable city just because it's in the midwest?

I have friends moving from california to chicago and they complain that Chicago is not as "affordable" as they originally thought. For instance, homes in some of the nice north side neighborhoods (lincoln park, old town, lakeview, river north, streeterville, gold coast etc come to mind) can easily cost $300-400 per sf, and go up to over a $1000 per sf in some of the premier buildings (Trump Tower, Ritz Residences, etc come to mind). Price of renting a 2-3 bedroom home can easily cost $2000-$3000 if not more.

Adding insult to injury is the sale tax which is among the highest in the country; gas price, among the highest in the country; income tax, which just had a 50% increase last year. According to a recent study (10 Most Expensive Cities | Made Manual), Chicago is the 4th most expensive city to live in the US, ahead of such crunchy names as San Francisco, Boston, DC, etc.

Is it a popular misconception for ppl to think of Chicago as an affordable city just because it's in the midwest?
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Unread 05-09-2011, 01:36 AM
 
Location: Chicago - near NW
2,508 posts, read 1,451,986 times
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Sales tax is bad but property tax is reasonable. Homes are expensive in those neighborhoods but condos aren't bad and renting can be downright cheap. That study is a joke, the number they came up with for average rent is absolutely ridiculous, not to mention it claims White Plains NY borders NYC. Is it a misconception that people actually do any research before they make preposterous posts?

Last edited by It'sAutomatic; 05-09-2011 at 01:47 AM..
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Unread 05-09-2011, 02:00 AM
 
22 posts, read 2,691 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallvillejane View Post
Is it a popular misconception for ppl to think of Chicago as an affordable city just because it's in the midwest?
Yes.
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Unread 05-09-2011, 02:04 AM
 
Location: Chicago
34,851 posts, read 50,235,656 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallvillejane View Post
I have friends moving from california to chicago and they complain that Chicago is not as "affordable" as they originally thought. For instance, homes in some of the nice north side neighborhoods (lincoln park, old town, lakeview, river north, streeterville, gold coast etc come to mind) can easily cost $300-400 per sf, and go up to over a $1000 per sf in some of the premier buildings (Trump Tower, Ritz Residences, etc come to mind). Price of renting a 2-3 bedroom home can easily cost $2000-$3000 if not more.

Adding insult to injury is the sale tax which is among the highest in the country; gas price, among the highest in the country; income tax, which just had a 50% increase last year. According to a recent study (10 Most Expensive Cities | Made Manual), Chicago is the 4th most expensive city to live in the US, ahead of such crunchy names as San Francisco, Boston, DC, etc.

Is it a popular misconception for ppl to think of Chicago as an affordable city just because it's in the midwest?
So they use homes in the most expensive neighborhoods in the entire metropolitan area -- in this entire region of the country for that matter -- as their basis of comparison? How much does a comparable home cost in the best parts of LA or SF? What's 2br, 1000sqft townhouse on Coronado going for these days? Apples to apples here, people.

The "Chicago is cheap" meme comes with an often-unstated "compared to other cities in the U.S. with a similarly dense, urban environment" qualifier. I also think renters are more likely to sing the "Chicago is cheap" tune because rental prices are pretty low compared to property values.


A salient point in your referenced article regarding Chicago:

Quote:
Chicago, Illinois. The fourth most expensive city in the U.S. is Chicago, Illinois. The cost of living in a two-bedroom apartment in this bustling metropolitan city averages $2,500 per month. Chicago ranks as the third city in population in the U.S. making its goods and services competitively priced
$2,500 per month? It's hard to imagine how they came to this conclusion without heavy psycotropic intervention. Nice, clean, spacious 2-bedrooms in safe, quiet neighborhoods can be had for half that or less. Look in a more transitional but still relatively safe neighborhood and now you're talking 1/3rd that price.
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Unread 05-09-2011, 02:39 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
10,248 posts, read 12,446,993 times
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Currently gas in California is about $0.40 more than I pay per gallon. The prices at the Walmarts and Trader Joe's is much the same. You can rent a second floor 1 bd, 1 bath in Venice a block off the beach with an ocean view for under $1600. You can go a couple hundred miles south of LA and get a nice 2 bedroom house with a garage, pool and 2 ba for the same amount of money.

The property tax on my daughter's 3 bd 1 ba house was $8k. A friend near the Bay who has 6 bd house pays $20K. Groceries are much the same, but some items are cheaper; the grocery tax is higher. The biggest difference I see is in eating out and in utilities.

I have yet to see a buffet brunch that I think is worth $50 per person. I paid $150 for take out from a fish market in LA and $200 take from Sonny Bono's place in Palm Springs. The food is awesome but I think these prices are obscene. I paid $8 for a Cobb salad at Holiday Inn very near Hollywood, but it may be the same in Chicago. The lots in the older neighborhoods in LA with the small bugalows looked like they were larger than in Berwyn. It seemed like there was more personal space.

The biggest difference is in winter and insulation in the home. If you live in LA or SD you can heat with paper logs in January and then don a wetsuit to surf. As a consequence the gas bills in SoCal are very low. It does make a difference in the area where you live, the type of structure, and insulation. When you factor in the cost of utilites, city taxes, tolls, permits, and parking there well may not be a lot of difference in COL at the end of the year if you live in the City. It may be much different outside of Chicago and Cook County. .
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Unread 05-09-2011, 05:37 AM
Status: "hitched" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: River North, Chicago, Illinois
2,850 posts, read 2,378,096 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smallvillejane View Post
I have friends moving from california to chicago and they complain that Chicago is not as "affordable" as they originally thought. For instance, homes in some of the nice north side neighborhoods (lincoln park, old town, lakeview, river north, streeterville, gold coast etc come to mind) can easily cost $300-400 per sf, and go up to over a $1000 per sf in some of the premier buildings (Trump Tower, Ritz Residences, etc come to mind). Price of renting a 2-3 bedroom home can easily cost $2000-$3000 if not more.

Adding insult to injury is the sale tax which is among the highest in the country; gas price, among the highest in the country; income tax, which just had a 50% increase last year. According to a recent study (10 Most Expensive Cities | Made Manual), Chicago is the 4th most expensive city to live in the US, ahead of such crunchy names as San Francisco, Boston, DC, etc.

Is it a popular misconception for ppl to think of Chicago as an affordable city just because it's in the midwest?
It's not a misconception that it's affordable. It *is* affordable. I don't know if you've ever tried to find cheap places in NYC, LA or SF to live, but they are either total crap or they're extremely difficult to find. I've tried to help people in both LA and NYC, and both their high end and their mid range is more expensive than Chicago. Sure, Chicago has some expensive areas, but it also has some places that are dirt cheap compared to what you can find in NYC or LA or SF.

Even after the 50% income tax boost, our income tax is only about 60% of what it is in California for high earners, and once you add in county or local taxes in New York, it's about 60% of what a typical New Yorker would pay, too.

The sales tax is fairly high, but LA also has very high sales taxes.

Is Chicago 50% cheaper than LA or New York? No, it's not. Are Chicago's best neighborhoods far cheaper than Manhattan's best neighborhods, and even fairly good values compared to some of the best areas of Brooklyn? Absolutely. Same goes for LA, and San Francisco.

A lot of the problem is people thinking it's *so* affordable in Chicago that they can live twice as good for half the money. It's nowhere near that affordable. But for low price points, you'll have more choices here. And for the same money, you can get more here, or the same thing in a better part of the city. In Chicago a single person could have their own (not shared) small apartment and live on about $20k/year. it wouldn't be luxurious by any means, but it could be done without resorting to dangerous living conditions. Can that be said for New York or LA or SF or Washington or Boston? Not in my experience.
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Unread 05-09-2011, 06:22 AM
 
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People that don't do their research will be disappointed in how costly it is to live in Chicago or most desirable parts of the region. The lower housing prices in some areas generally come with just as many negatives as the low priced places on the Atlantic seaboard or Pacific Coast.

The day-to-day expenses often are higher in Chicago than in other areas, people that do their homework are under no illusion that their salary will go further here than other US cities. In fact, for folks relocating from other parts of the midwest they generally need a substantial BOOST in pay if they want to maintain a comparable lifestyle. The costs for housing and transportation ALONE are enough to make the Chicago region about 10-20% percentage more costly than basically any other city not on an ocean. Throw in the various ways politicians allow utility companies and other "regulated" industries to rake us over the coals and for anyone moving to Chicago w/o a raise their standard of living will be all be impossible to maintain. Adding insult to injury any "bargain" in income taxes is more than made up for for other taxes and fees, the one saving grace is the deductibility of property taxes...
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Unread 05-09-2011, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,191 posts, read 5,274,970 times
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Always thought Chicago was less $ than the big cities of the coasts but the most expensive in the Midwest.
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Unread 05-09-2011, 08:33 AM
 
8,695 posts, read 11,771,452 times
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It's all relative - you CAN make Chicago pretty damn cheap. Your friends are looking at some of the most expensive areas in the entire metro. Of course it's not going to be "cheap".

I can live without a car on my $86 pre-income tax transit card, I got a nice condo up in southern Uptown, and buy most everything online with free shipping and no sales taxes (and a lot cheaper than buying in a store to boot). Our income tax is fairly low when looking at all states who charge one, my property taxes are fairly low, taxes on food at grocery stores is low, you can find cheap drinks at good bars if you look around a bit. I make around $64K a year, but I feel like I'm living quite carefree and buy most anything I want.

You have to make a few sacrifices to get some nice benefits. I got a really nice condo - but it's north of Irving Park, which scares some people, but also dropped the price nicely. I love the area. I ditched the car and travel around for a month on what I'd dump at a bar on a Friday night. Some people refuse to do that, it worked out fine for me.

It's all about choices. I think people assume you'll move to Chicago, work downtown, live in an amazing condo in Lincoln Park, get a car, etc. for like 1/2 of what you'd spend in NYC and LA. Wrong. You just have a few more options here to lower your costs based on your own personal priorities. You're not going to get all your cake and eat it for free.
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Unread 05-09-2011, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
4,946 posts, read 7,232,156 times
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Wow the Trump and the Ritz-Carlton are more expensive than a shack in South LA? Thanks for the insight.
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