I can’t believe that the year 2017 is almost over. There was a lot that happened in 2017 that really is too much to list in this blog. The biggest and most frequent topic that was brought up amongst my clients, no matter what part of the city or suburbs they were moving to or from, was the cost of living. “It shouldn’t be so difficult for a couple who both work full time and a pet with an annual income of $100,000 to find it so hard to have a nice house, a yard, in a nice area without breaking the bank. We’ve been searching for a house on and off for the past two years; and each year we’ve put it on hold because we decide to save more money so we can afford more, but by the time we start our home search again it seems like prices went up again, and we’re right back to where we’ve started. It’s frustrating,” said a client who asked to remain anonymous.
I can understand their frustration but I have to say that I agree with them 100%. I’m a native Chicagoan, born and raised on the northwest side of Chicago and I went to both undergrad and graduate school in Chicago so I’ve seen the changes first hand. I know that sometime’s people have unrealistic expectations for a home but this couple did not. They desired a 3-4 bedroom 2.5 bathroom with a 2 car garage, in a nice area that wasn’t completely outdated and a yard where they could entertain their friends for a cookout and let the dog run free. Their price point was under $300,000. They both worked downtown and needed to be close to a train so that they could commute to work. Ten years ago finding a home in the Chicagoland area was not a problem but today, it’s a challenge.
The problem is that Chicago and the state of Illinois are in economic challenges due to mishandling of funds amongst other issues. Illinois has no other choice but to be creative in increasing the amount of money they collect from its residents. 2017 was the year of the another property tax increase, an income tax increase (from 3.75% to 4.95%), a bag tax (an additional cost per bag that you need from the store when you purchase items including groceries), and the most debated soda tax (an additional tax on any non-alcoholic beverages that are sweetened). All these taxes add up to the cost of living. If you have a child or are thinking of having a child, you have to think of the cost of private schools unless you’re in a “good” school district.
More and more people are finding out that living in the suburbs of Chicago, (outside of Cook County) have been a good option. People are willing to increase their commute time just so that they can live in a home and in a community where they can have the lifestyle they desire. This is a great opportunity for these growing communities to be revitalized with new businesses to cater to their new neighbors.
Northwest Indiana has also seen a dramatic population growth due to the tax increases in Illinois. Indiana cities such as Saint John, Dyer, Munster, Schererville, Crown Point and Highland (just to name a few) have seen a population growth due to their location to the Illinois State line, major interstate highways, the tollways, the Skyway and the South Shore line which allow commuters to travel to their jobs sometimes within an hour or less (depending on traffic and location).
Sources: Property Tax: https://chicago.curbed.com/2017/6/14/15801256/chicago-property-tax-cook-county-increase-hike; Income Tax: https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2017/07/state-illinois-income-tax-rate-increased-4-9-percent/; Bag Tax: https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/fin/supp_info/revenue/tax_list/CheckoutBagTax.html; Soda Tax: https://www.cookcountyil.gov/service/sweetened-beverage-tax; Migration from Illinois to Indiana: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/illinois/articles/2017-04-02/experts-migration-from-illinois-to-indiana-likely-to-grow
Written By: Shena Omotola, Dream Home Specialist & Broker Owner of Skyward Realty – Skyward Realty services Chicago, Suburbs, and Northwest Indiana
P.S. Feel free to email me any questions. I’m always here to help. Shena@SkywardRealty.com