Moving to Chicago? Congratulations. Few cities manage to meld cosmopolitan culture and midwestern warmth quite as seamlessly as the City of the Big Shoulders, and its many neighborhoods create bountiful opportunities to explore the life — or lives — you’ve always wanted.
Of course, potential renters always wonder if there’s a best time to look for apartments in Chicago. The answer is yes, and there’s a best month to rent in Chicago.
But those are two different questions, each with multiple answers based on your priorities.
When to Start
Start looking about a month from your ideal moving date. You can look sooner, but volume will peak in that 30-days-notice range. Having a lot to choose from generally leads to finding the best match for your living needs.
What About Cost?
If saving money is your primary goal, look for a place in winter and try to sign a lease by March. Why? Nobody wants to slide a sofa through the snow. You’ll have better luck negotiating a rent in the winter months, because landlords don’t like to have to heat empty apartments.
The savings aren’t insignificant. Say you’re looking at a one-bedroom in Logan Square. A unit that size in such a very trendy neighborhood could easily go for around $2,000 per month. If it’s 2% higher when competition is fierce, and 2% lower in the winter, that’s as much as $80 per month in savings — or nearly $1,000 a year. You also have to consider that inventory is typically lower in the winter.
Summer Means Selection
May 1 used to be known as Moving Day in Chicago and in many other metro areas. To this day, it remains a key date in Chicago real estate circles. These days, it merely kicks off the moving season, which peaks in mid to late summer.
Students going off to college and graduates entering the job market move in the summer. Families hoping to avoid moving during a school year get their properties in shape during the spring, list them and put down new roots before September.
Competition will be high, but so will tenant turnover and inventory.
Life in the Post-COVID Rental Market
When COVID-19 hit, remote working influenced the rental market. Working from home put a premium on bigger spaces and made proximity to the office less important. Thus, it became a buyer’s market for those looking to rent luxury units in or near the Loop. Low demand produced better deals.
Now that life is slowly returning to normal, so too are housing trends. Fortunately, inventory is still plentiful for those looking to get back into the city but expect a more rigorous background check than you may be used to.
Rarely do people have the opportunity to hold off a month or two on a move. However, if you have that luxury, it can work to your benefit. The best time to rent an apartment in Chicago may be when you have the time to wait. Units that come on the market at one price often drop by $100 per month or more after being listed for a few weeks.
Now That You’ve Got the Time…
… Let us help you find the place.
Mo2 Properties has a line on the best rentals in the best neighborhoods — nearly all pet-friendly and most with no security deposit required (pay only a small move-in fee). Check out our rentals online or contact us today for guidance from our approachable, responsive and reliable staff.