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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Affordable Rental Options Vanishing Rapidly In Logan Square, Jefferson Park, New Study Shows

The study highlights the quick pace of change in affordable rental units — and the falling population of lower-income renters — in neighborhoods like Logan Square.

Panaderia La Central, 2218 N. California Ave., closed in 2018 after 35 years in Logan Square. Many of its customers were priced out of the neighborhood.
Mina Bloom / Block Club Chicago
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LOGAN SQUARE — North and Northwest side neighborhoods are quickly losing affordable rentals, a new study found.

The 2019 State of Rental Housing in Cook County report found affordable rental stock is falling throughout the city, but particularly in neighborhoods like Logan Square and Jefferson Park. At the same time, Chicago’s losing its lower-income renters and more are moving into units they can’t really afford.

Affordable rental stock fell by 4.9 percent throughout the city between 2012 and 2017, according to the report. But the biggest drops in affordable rental units were seen on the North and Northwest sides:

  • Portage Park and Jefferson Park saw a 13.1 percent drop
  • Logan Square and Avondale saw a 12 percent drop
  • Irving Park and Albany Park saw a 10.9 percent drop
  • Lincoln Square and North Center saw a 10.7 percent drop

The housing was lost due to rent increases, building sales and demolition, according to the report. Affordable rentals were defined as stock affordable to households earning $37,641 annually.

The sharp decline in affordable rental availability meant that, as of 2015-2017, just 28.4 percent of Logan Square/Avondale’s units and 21.9 percent of Lincoln Square/North Center’s units were considered affordable, far below the citywide average of 40.4 percent, according to the report.

Portage Park/Jefferson Park and Irving Park/Albany Park were closer to the city average, with 35.7 and 34.3 percent of those areas’ rental units considered affordable, respectively.

As the affordable rental supply dwindles, so too does Chicago’s population of lower-income renters. The citywide share of renters who were lower-income fell by 2.7 percent between 2012 and 2017, according to the report.

“While some of this loss may be attributed to economic improvement and renters earning higher incomes, it is also likely that some of this loss is due to lower-income renters leaving the city,” according to the report.

The Logan Square and Avondale area saw its share of lower-income renters drop by 9 percent, second in the city only to the Gage Park and West Lawn area, which saw a 9.6 percent drop in its share of lower-income renters. But while affordability has increased for lower-income renters in the Gage Park and West Lawn area, affordability decreased for those in Logan Square and Avondale, a gentrification battleground that has seen its rents rise as it’s become “trendier” among big-name businesses and higher-income renters and homeowners.

And citywide, 4.1 percent more low-income renters are now living in high-priced rental units — meaning they could be more vulnerable to housing insecurity, according to the report.

Lincoln Square/North Center and the Loop/surrounding areas saw the biggest jump in lower-income renters living in unaffordable housing, with 14.6 and 14.7 percent increases in those areas, respectively.

The report was put together by the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University using county and city housing data from several years.

This map shows changes in affordable rentals: