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Cook County Housing Market More Affordable Than Others

A photo illustration of Cook County (iStock)

In an increasingly pricey housing market, home ownership in Chicago’s Cook County remains more within reach than most of the nation.

The nation’s second most populous county was among a handful of large counties in which an affordability index declined the least since the second quarter of 2021, meaning that residents are more likely to afford homes, as rising wages outpaced property prices, according to a second- quarterly report from Attom Data Solutions. That makes home ownership affordable for average Cook County workers, a pattern that also fits Harris County, Texas; Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; Franklin County, Ohio; and Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Home prices in Cook County rose 5 percent from the second quarter of 2021, half the pace of the rest of the nation. Average annualized wage growth, meanwhile, surpassed home-price appreciation in the Illinois county along with 64 others including Oakland County, Michigan; Fairfield County, Connecticut; Erie County, New York; and San Francisco County, California.

Major ownership costs on median-priced, single family homes eat up over 28 percent of average local wages in 67 percent of the counties Attom analyzed. In Cook County, those costs consume about 25 percent, putting it in the other one-third of communities along with Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; and St Louis County, Missouri.

Just 3 percent of the counties Attom analyzed became more affordable than their historic affordability averages, the largest of which were New York’s Westchester and New York Counties. “Worsening affordability appears to be having an impact on demand, which could lead to prices plateauing or even correcting modestly in some markets,” Attom’s Rick Sharga said in the report.

Counties where affordability worsened the most were Hillsborough County in Florida and Clark County in Nevada.

Some potential buyers might keep renting while waiting for market conditions to improve, while others might instead set their sights on smaller properties or homes further from major metro areas, according to Sharga.

Contact Rachel Herzog

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