Neighborhoods in Chicago tend to be friendly, with a lot of neighborhood pride among residents. As we all know, getting around by car in any big city can be a challenge, especially during the snowy winter months. Luckily, the Chicago transit authority links the city to forty nearby communities. In the city, the Loop Link Rapid Transit Route has buses running to all major downtown areas, and the high-speed Metra commuter rail connects Chicago to outlying suburbs, making the core of the city very accessible. One thing those moving from warmer climates will be happy to know is that Chicago has four distinct seasons, although spring and fall are fairly short. Finding affordable housing in Chicago can mean enjoying suburban living in a close-knit community while having convenient access to the Windy City.
Despite higher than average home prices in the city, it's still quite possible to find affordable housing in Chicago. And who wouldn't want to live near a thriving big city with access to a waterfront and a beach with great public transportation and 4 seasons? We've researched five neighborhoods south of Chicago that have median home prices starting under $100,000. Here are our picks for the five neighborhoods that provide the most affordable housing in Chicago, by median home price:
- 1. Riverdale
Median Home Price: $90,700
Located on the far south side of Chicago, the Riverdale neighborhood is on the other side of I-94 from Lake Calumet. The Calumet Water Reclamation Plant lies in the middle of the neighborhood, and the Little Calumet River crosses the southern part of it. The Beaubien Forest Preserve is within the boundaries of Riverdale, and the Harborside International Golf Center is also nearby, adjacent to the lake. Five miles from the Port of Chicago, Riverdale is conveniently located near many diverse eateries. There is plenty of shopping to be found in this mixed residential and commercial area. With I-94 on one side of the neighborhood and the Amtrak commuter rail nearby, accessibility to the city of Chicago and other parts of town is excellent. The average commute time to Chicago is 30-40 minutes, and the neighborhood is only 30 miles from Joliet, the fourth largest city in Illinois. The population is diverse, with more African Americans than any other demographic. In addition to being one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Chicago, Riverdale has a stable population with a low turnover rate on homes. Learn more about Riverdale housing.
- 2. Fuller Park
Median Home Price: $114,525
Fuller Park is halfway between Riverdale and the city of Chicago. It's a long, narrow neighborhood that hugs the I-90 Express, which makes for a speedy commute to Chicago. The commuter rail line is also available on the western boundary of the neighborhood. The Eden Place Nature Center is located on three acres of the largest park. It's an environmental center that focuses on urban ecology and regularly hosts schoolchildren from the local area. The park includes a swimming pool, basketball courts and a soccer field, and the community center offers after-school and summer programs for children. Fuller Park is one of the smallest communities in the Chicago area, and it also has a population density that is half that of the city of Chicago. The neighborhood is primarily African-American and it is a family neighborhood with many children. The nearby Eden Place Farmers Market sells fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, herbs and honey. The Fuller Park neighborhood has a mixture of renters and homeowners. Learn more about Fuller Park housing.
- 3. West Englewood
Median Home Price: $115,527
South of Chicago, with Marquette Park to the west and I-90 to the east, the rectangular neighborhood of West Englewood lies in a convenient grid of numbered streets from north to south. There are a few small parks and playgrounds and a major green space, Ogden Park. This is an older neighborhood, but some of the older residences have been demolished, with major streets and sewage lines receiving upgrades. The neighborhood is a mix of rentals and owner-occupied homes, with rents slightly lower than in Chicago. Home values are all over the spectrum, with some of the smaller, older homes going for very little while others sell for well above the median home price. As with other Chicago area neighborhoods, you can find everything from Moroccan to Chinese food in the area. Using the 'L' or elevated train, it's an easy trip to see the White Sox play, and also a reasonable commute to Chicago. Learn more about West Englewood housing.
- 4. South Deering
Median Home Price: $121,191
This Southside neighborhood is one of the largest suburban communities in the Chicago area. Lake Calumet and the Harborside International Golf Center are entirely inside the boundaries of South Deering, and there are many other green spaces. Most of the residential area is in the north part of the neighborhood, from E. 94th Street to E. 106th Street. The neighborhood is convenient to the Port of Chicago and Wolf Lake, and it is commuting distance from Chicago. The population of the neighborhood is diverse, with African Americans and Hispanics making up more than three-quarters of the residents. Like West Englewood, home prices vary greatly, with plenty of residences available in the low $100,000 range. At one time the area had a lot of industry, but now the bulk of South Deering is composed of lakes, parks, wetlands and abandoned factory sites. Chicago State University is nearby, and shopping is available in all directions. Learn more about South Deering housing.
- 5. West Pullman
Median Home Price: $125,050
A bit closer to Chicago than Riverdale, West Pullman is bounded by W. 115th Street to the north and the Little Calumet River to the south. There is commuter rail available along the eastern side of the neighborhood, and I-57 borders the west. Gano Park and West Pullman Park are the largest of several green spaces in the neighborhood. Pullman Park is built on over fifteen acres, and the community center has two gymnasiums and an indoor pool. After-school and summer programs are available there, along with senior activities. The neighborhood has a primarily African-American population with some Hispanic residents. Most of the homes are owner-occupied and, for the most part, they are older residences. Some buildings in the nearby Pullman Historic District have been identified as historically significant, and conservationists have created successful butterfly gardens in some of the open spaces of the neighborhood. Learn more about West Pullman housing.
See even more information about the best Chicago, IL neighborhoods as well as a neighborhood map.