In Chicago, the affordable single-family starter home is increasingly rare.
Though the local housing market has been flat for months, options anywhere remotely near the city’s central core remain out of reach for most first-time buyers.
The problem, in part, is inventory: Search the map on any real estate site like Zillow or Redfin, and you’ll find a semi-circle of single-family homes on Chicago’s western and southern edges, with virtually none anywhere near the city's business district.
For many, though, that's not a deterrent — and if you're pining for a backyard, neighborhoods like Beverly, Roseland, and Austin still get you closer to the Loop than a move to the suburbs.
Here are four single-family homes on the market right now, all for less than $300,000.
All hail the trusty Chicago bungalow, which make up nearly a third of the city’s single-family housing stock, according to the Chicago Bungalow Association. This Albany Park specimen has plenty of character, most notably stained glass windows above a faux fireplace and a wood-paneled basement perfect for a makeshift old-man dive bar.
This classic brick bungalow in Beverly exudes a ton of charm, with highlights including a green terracotta roof, a rear courtyard, and a gas-powered fireplace buffered by maple hardwood floors. The kitchen has been retrofitted with marble countertops and stainless steel appliances, but the rest of the house remains a blast from mid-century past.
Believe it or not, it's possible to score a five-bedroom house in the city for a quarter-million. The proof is down in Roseland, where you'll find sizable multilevel brick homes for the price of a studio in the Loop. This recently updated property features a modern kitchen, new windows, a fireplace, and a master bedroom with an ensuite master bath.
You'll get plenty for your money with this roomy Austin home. The listing price just dipped last month by $8,100 — not bad for a recently rehabbed five-bedroom with 2,800 square feet of space. Perks include beautiful hardware floors, a finished basement, a laundry room, and a two-car garage.