Austin, Illinois, is a vibrant neighborhood inside Chicago’s metropolitan area. Lately, it’s been catching the eye of real estate enthusiasts and prospective homebuyers looking for a great place to call home. If you’re looking to buy a home in Austin or just looking to grab some prime real estate, we’ve got some data, comparative analysis, and a few tips to make your life a little easier — particularly if you’re deciding whether to buy or rent.
Where Is Austin, Illinois?
So, where exactly is Austin? It’s located on the west side of Chicago, bordered by Milwaukee / West Line on the north and Roosevelt Road to the south. It’s the third largest community by population, with easily accessible public transportation, schools, and recreation, making it a perfect spot for homebuyers who want all the conveniences and energy of Chicago while still maintaining a more laid-back, residential atmosphere.
Average Property Costs in Austin, Illinois
According to various real estate companies, the median range for homes in Austin are between $250,000 and $275,000. That compares favorably to the median home price of Chicago overall, which is closer to $327,000.
Here’s a rough breakdown of the median home price at various house sizes in Austin: a one-bedroom property tends to run around $250,000, while a two- or three-bedroom home will range up to $275,000.
How Austin Compares
For some further perspective on how good a deal Austin is compared to some other neighborhoods, let’s take a look at what the median home price is in various areas around Chicago.
Buying a home in the Heart of Chicago will likely cost you about $343,000, while the Heart of Italy will cost you more, around $299,000. A property in the University Village / Little Italy area will run you around $327,000, while Douglas Park costs around $243,000.
But that’s far from the top end when it comes to Chicago home prices. If you want to put down roots in Andersonville, you can expect to pay $425,000 on the average. In Bucktown, along the west side of the Chicago River, a home will cost you $600,000 or more — and in DePaul, near the eponymous university, home prices are well over a million dollars.
As you can see, Austin beats most of those home prices hands down.
Other Considerations for Buyers
Of course, when looking for a home in Austin, Illinois (or anywhere else), it’s important to look at more than home prices. There are also things like school quality, amenities, crime rates, and the overall vibe of the neighborhood. There’s also the cost of living to think about — groceries, utilities, fuel and transportation all have to be taken into account. And with prices as generally lofty as they are in Chicago, it’s also important to keep an eye on mortgage interest rates, which can seriously affect the long-term affordability of your property.
It’s also important to think about homeowners insurance. If you have a mortgage, your lender is certainly going to require you to have it, and even if you own your home outright, it’s crucial to make sure your property and possessions are well-protected.
Aside from the possibility of burglary, it’s worth noting that Chicago is no stranger to extreme weather events that can damage or destroy your property. Hailstorms, flooding, extreme cold, and even tornadoes are a potential threat in Illinois. Finding cheap Illinois home insurance might take a little doing — as Kristine Lee from The Zebra points out, the average monthly premium for home insurance in Illinois is $120 per month, or about $1440 a year. This is more than the national average, but you can likely find better rates by shopping around and comparing. In any event, it’s an expense you should take into account when house-hunting in Chicago.
Renting vs. Buying: Which is More Affordable?
Whether to rent or buy a home is one of those age-old questions, and perhaps more relevant in Chicago, where home prices are considerably higher than much of the rest of the country. But which is more affordable?
Numbers-wise, here’s how it breaks down: the average monthly rent in Chicago is $1,960, having recently hit an all-time high. In general, the mortgage payments are comparable, usually ranging in the $1,900 to $2,000 range.
There are some key differences, however: while purchasing a home allows you greater freedom and the ability to build equity over time, the down payment is likely to be considerable — putting it out of reach of many younger prospective homebuyers. While the up-front costs of renting are cheaper, you’ll be paying approximately as much every month without that investment ever paying off. Then again, as a renter, you also don’t have to pay for home repairs.
Austin is a diverse and thriving community that has a lot to offer the right buyer. If you’re looking for a place in Chicago to call home, Austin might just be the right fit for you.