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Chicago real estate can be pricey, but luckily first-time buyers do have some options. Certain neighborhoods are good choices when it comes to trading rent for owning your own slice of the housing market.

Before you put down any money on your first home, you’ll want to consider some of Chicago’s top neighborhoods for first-time buyers.

South Shore

While the average sale price has risen considerably in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood over the past year or so, it still remains impressively affordable. Lower housing prices aren’t the only advantage of choosing South Shore.

  • Affordable
  • Range of home styles
  • Nearby amenities/attractions

The neighborhood also offers a range of home styles, including some classic bungalows. There’s a new grocery store for homebuyers to take advantage of and the ease of living close to the lake and public transportation, too.

McKinley Park

The deals may not be quite as good in McKinley Park as they were a few years ago, but the Near Southwest Side neighborhood is still on the affordable side. Homes prices in the hot neighborhood come in just below the citywide average.

  • Affordable
  • Quicker commute

McKinley Park also offer a quicker downtown commute than some other Chicago neighborhoods, which is a real advantage for buyers. 

Rogers Park

Pre-war single-family homes and multi-unit walk-ups make up the Far North Side neighborhood of Rogers Park. Even though they’re on the rise, median home prices are still well below the citywide average here, which is an advantage for first-time buyers. Search all active Rogers Park Real Estate Listings HERE. 

  • Priced below citywide average
  • Public transportation
  • Close to public beaches

While the neighborhood is a bit farther from the Loop, it’s convenient enough to catch public transportation and not too far from Downtown Evanston. Rogers Park also holds the advantage of sitting within walking distance of places like Loyola University and public beaches. 

Printer’s Row

While it may be downtown, you can still find some deals in Printer’s Row. The historic neighborhood has a median sale price that’s higher than some Chicago areas, but it’s still a lot lower than the median price of the greater South Loop.

  • Lower prices than surrounding area
  • Historic lofts
  • Close to attractions

You may not find fenced-in backyards and single-family homes in Printer’s Row, but you can find historic lofts with exposed brick walls, timber beams and oversized windows. The neighborhood also holds the advantage of sitting a short distance from the lakefront, Grant Park, the Museum Campus and the city’s central business district. 


The Northwest Side community of Avondale is considered by some to be one of the city’s next hot neighborhoods. It’s more expensive to live in Avondale compared to others on the list, but some reports actually show median listing prices have been down recently in the neighborhood, making it a good choice for buyers. 

About the author

I am from Chicago, IL and I have been lending in this area for 20+ years. My team and I strive to give you an enjoyable mortgage experience while providing you the best programs and rates! I am also offering a FREE mortgage analysis to determine if refinancing is right for you.