For some folks, when they decide to rent an apartment in Chicago is a choice that is thrust upon them by circumstances. Relocating here to start a new job, the beginning of a new school year, or the end of an old lease – all of these may force a renter’s hand as to the timing of their net move. But if you have some flexibility when looking to rent your next apartment, there are definitely times of the year that are better for finding lower rents and more opportunities for concessions and perks.

Moving in Winter is a Drag. Renting in Winter Can Be a Bargain.

Chicago winters – with cold, wind, snow, and slush – can be notoriously harsh. Driving a rental truck and spending hours moving furniture and all of your other earthly possessions from your current residence into a new apartment is a daunting prospect. That is why fewer people look to rent during that time of year. And fewer renters means lower rent.

Data shows that rents in Chicago tend to drop to their lowest levels in March and April, after winter has chilled the rental market. Rents usually peak around the end of the summer and early fall. Not only does the warmer weather spur more people to look for apartments and sign leases during this time, but parents moving before the start of the school year and new graduates launching their careers also favor summer moves. These renters often tend to stick to the same annual lease renewal schedule, making these ups and downs in the rental cycle reasonably consistent.

Based on 2018 study of median rental prices by Renthop, the differences between peak and lowest average rental rates in Chicago were $80 per month for a one-bedroom apartment and $176 per month for a two-bedroom apartment

Differences Between Renting an Apartment and Renting a Condo

The majority of Chicago apartments, particularly those in high-rises or other larger buildings, are managed by professional leasing companies. But renters can also lease privately owned condominium units directly from owners. Prospective renters need to understand that there can be significant differences between these two options in terms of cost, amenities, size, finishes, service, and other aspects of the rental experience.

Effect of COVID-19 On Rents and Renting

Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the normal rhythms of life in countless ways. This includes Chicago’s apartment rental market.

The pandemic has reduced the number of people actively looking to sign new leases as people hunker down and delay making major decisions until the situation stabilizes. This drop has made it a particularly good time to consider renting a luxury apartment, as buildings offer more concessions to attract renters in a soft market.

COVID-19 has also changed the way renters look for and consider potential apartments. Agents cannot currently show occupied rental units in person, though they can still show vacant ones. Many large apartment buildings are doing all of their showings virtually.


Z Chicago offers free assistance to Chicago renters looking at apartments for rent in Chicago. We can facilitate both in-person showings (when allowed) and virtual showings if preferred. Either way, we’re here to help you evaluate your rental options and secure a new unit with confidence. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help you find the Chicago apartment best suited to your needs.