Most Affordable But Safe Suburbs Near Chicago
With rent and home prices continuing to steadily rise in and around Chicago, many people are worrying whether there will be any affordable options left.
What’s more, it’s tricky to weigh up the cost of living and affordability against all the other important things to think about, like your commuting distance, the safety of the local area, and whether there will be good amenities for you and your family.
This list includes the most affordable suburbs in Chicago – but only the ones that are also considered safe and reasonably close to The Windy City.
What are the most affordable but safe suburbs near Chicago?
Affordable – but for who? Depending on whether you’re a family, a young professional, or a student, for example, you might be looking for different types of affordability.
The table below shows our top three affordable suburbs for four different aspects: Average house price, average rent price, cost of living rating, and based on the median income. To understand how we chose our suburbs and calculated our rankings, scroll to the end of the list.
The Nine Most Affordable Suburbs in Chicago
- Median Home Value: $255,000
- Median Rent: $1,075
- Population: 10,470
First up we have Lyons, In Cook County IL, which is a site of natural beauty and historical significance with the De Plaines River and Ottawa Forest Preserve running through the heart of the village. As a medium-sized village, Lyons offers a good chance of finding a home.
Although Lyons didn’t quite make it onto the table above, we’ve included it in our list because it comes in pretty close to the other suburbs in terms of rent and cost of living. Low rent prices make Lyons popular with young professionals and almost 41% of residents rent their homes. But if you’re a prospective buyer, note that the village has a higher flood risk than other suburbs due to the river, and residents did see a large flood in 2020.
Lyons, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Lyons
8. Indian Head Park
- Median Home Value: $318,500
- Median Rent: $1,240
- Population: 3,776
Indian Head Park is a small Western suburb of Chicago. Its tiny population of 3,776 are tucked away in this quiet suburb at the intersection of I-55 and I-294.
As one the most affordable suburbs for rent, the average rent PCM in Indian Head Park is 55% lower than the rest of Chicago. However, you might be hard-pressed to find one of these cheap rentals as most residents here own their homes. Indian Head Park has seen a recent influx of families looking to benefit from a peaceful location, good education, and affordability.
Indian Head Park, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Indian Head Park
- Median Home Value: $262,800
- Median Rent: $1,145
- Population: 5,116
Berkeley makes the list for the most affordable and safe suburbs in Chicago not only because of the pleasing median home value but also for the way the locals see this as their hometown.
Residents rate Berkeley as having a good cost of living, which is based on feedback, home value to income ratio, and median home and rent prices. Locals also love their small hometown for its leafy, well-maintained streets and convenient metra connection.
Berkeley, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Berkeley
- Median Home Value: $269,100
- Median Rent: $1,200
- Population: 12,290
Known as the city of friendly people, Northlake is a Western suburb in Cook County offering a promising option for those looking for a welcoming place to live on a budget. Residents feel safe and enjoy the family-focused community facilities like Centerpoint park and the public library.
Northlake offers lower rental and buying prices than the Chicago average and homes here are frequently available to buy. Meanwhile, it offers low crime rates and good public schools, which explains why many families choose to call Northlake their home.
Northlake, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in northlake
- Median Home Value: $174,030
- Median Rent: $1,060
- Population: 10,831
What sets Crestwood apart from other affordable suburbs is the proximity of stores and restaurants. Thanks to South Cicero Avenue, which runs through the suburb, you are never more than ten minutes away from grabbing a bite to eat. What’s more, Cook County Forest Preserve is just to the west, situating you close to some of Illinois’ most beautiful nature.
Crestwood is considered an affordable suburb for its low median rent, and home values at less than 50% of the average in Chicago, keeping both renters and homeowners happy. And people do indeed rent and own in Crestwood, with around 20% of properties being rentals.
Crestwood, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Crestwood
4. Merrionette Park
- Median Home Value: $184,700
- Median Rent: $1,126
- Population: 2,050
Merrionette Park may be small, but those who are counted among this close-knit community make big savings on home buying and rent. Every year, renters in Merrionette Park pay almost $13,000 less in rent than the average Chicagoan.
Perhaps you might wonder “but at what cost?”. Yet, with good housing, well-rated schools, safety, cleanliness, and respectable commutes, the locals of Merrionette Park aren’t missing out on much. Residents say they have everything they need and we believe them.
Merrionette Park, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in Merrionette Park
3. Stone Park
- Median Home Value: $217,800
- Median Rent: $1,199
- Population: 4,894
Stone Park has a large Hispanic community, and so, unsurprisingly, you’ll find lots of popular Mexican restaurants along the main strip, Mannheim Road. For a suburb without a true downtown, there is a lively vibe to the area.
While renters might not look to Stone Park so much for affordability, home buyers certainly do. Impressively, our research shows the median home value in Stone Park is 66% less than the average home in Chicago – which also places Stone Park as our third best suburb for affordable home buying. A small sliver of the village has a higher flood risk, so it’s worth looking into this before buying property.
Stone Park, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for sale in stone park
Thornton is the kind of place where it feels like everyone knows everyone – and with such a small population, it’s possible that they do. 75% of families here own their homes and many have lived in Thornton for multiple generations.
Thornton, IL, offers its residents highly affordable homeownership compared to the rest of Chicago – 70% less, on average. The prices are good enough to make you forget Cook County’s reasonably high property taxes, which may be why the locals personally rate Thornton as having a good cost of living. There is a higher flood risk in the area, but this is almost completely absorbed by the Wampum Lake and Brownell woods area, where there is no property.
Thornton, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for Sale in Thornton
- Median Home Value: $189,900
- Median Rent: $961
- Population: 4,272
If you are looking for a quiet, clean, and affordable suburb to settle down in, Hometown might be named as such for a reason. Many families and older people choose to stay in this small but friendly neighborhood and it’s not hard to understand why. As well as being affordable, Hometown ranks highly across the board for amenities.
With the cheapest rent, the second cheapest homes, and a good cost of living, Hometown tops the list of affordable but safe suburbs of Chicago. Compared to the average Chicagoan, you could pay $14,300 less in rent every year or $238,000 less to buy a home. And that’s just the average – 50% of Hometown residents pay less than $500 a month in rent and 10% of homes here are less than $50,000.
Hometown, Illinois Market Report
Includes average property values, inventory, market changes, and demographic data.Homes for Sale in Hometown
How did we choose our suburbs and rank them?
We only looked at suburbs with a rating of C or above on niche.com, to ensure that all the suggested suburbs offer a reasonable standard of education, safety, housing, outdoor activities, and jobs. We also only considered those suburbs within a reasonable distance of Chicago. Some lists will include suburbs that are actually in Indiana or that have low safety, schooling, or housing ratings.
Ratings, prices, and population data are taken from niche.com, who base their information on sources including the Department of Education, U.S. Census, and FBI, as well as reviews and surveys from people who live there.
Finally, we took an average of the variables (rent, house price, and cost living) to determine the order of the main list.
Posted by Rafael Velasco on