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What $275,000 Buys Amid the South Loop Apartment Boom

Even as hundreds of new rental units are delivered to the neighborhood, it’s still cheaper to own.

Photo: Dream Town Realty

Renters looking for a new apartment in the South Loop have more options than ever. In the last year alone, more than 2,600 rentals have been delivered in the downtown neighborhood between just five buildings: NEMA, Essex on the Park, Paragon, River City, and Cooper at Southbank.

Competition among developers for rental leases is fierce, with many new buildings offering one or two months of free rent concessions. Even still, monthly rental prices often remain higher than that of a small condo.

Let’s take a look at the math. Renters at brand-new South Loop apartment buildings can expect to pay upwards of $2,500 a month for a one-bedroom, and refreshed single-bedroom apartments at River City can be had at just under $2,000. Meanwhile, a purchase budget of $275,000 for a one-bedroom condo with a max monthly assessment of $500 brings the total monthly mortgage obligations to $2,000. Not bad, considering you’re also building equity with ownership.

Of course, everyone is going to have different needs, and there are certainly benefits to renting (especially if you’re planning on moving within a couple of years). But if you’re thinking of making a home of South Loop, here’s a handful of condos for sale that hit the sweet spot of $2,000 or less a month after closing.

600 South Dearborn Street #1205, $239,000

Photo: VHT Studios

For well under $250,000, South Loop shoppers can score this single bedroom on Dearborn Street. Perks include great transit access, in-unit laundry, and the building is pet friendly. The total monthly mortgage, including taxes, insurance, and assessment, would be around $1,700.

320 East 21st Street #302, $263,000

Photo: Dream Town Realty

A wall of north-facing windows means steady, soft natural lighting, and in the case of the South Loop, a view corridor of the rest of downtown Chicago. Tall 14-foot ceilings also help give a sense of extra space in this 850-square-foot unit. The monthly mortgage comes out to $1,745.

1819 South Michigan Avenue, #502, $269,999

Photo: VHT Studios

Not only do you get floor-to-ceiling windows throughout this 800-square-foot condo, but the asking price includes one indoor parking space. West-facing windows mean beautiful sunsets, and you’ll get them for a monthly mortgage of around $1,800.

1717 South Prairie Avenue, #609, $275,000

Photo: VHT Studios

At 900 square feet, this one-bedroom on Prairie Avenue is just slightly roomier than comparably priced condos in the area. Plus, you’re getting a roomy balcony and building amenities on par with some apartment buildings. With a total monthly mortgage of $1,875, you’re getting a solid value.

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