THE BLOG
08/28/2014 12:47 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Who Is Renting and Who Is Buying in Illinois?

Buying a house is a huge lifetime commitment, and the decision is often fraught with questions upon questions and one pro/con list after another. How can you really know what the best choice is? Who are the people who choose to buy and who are the people who choose to rent?

According to Forbes, in March, buying was 38 percent cheaper than renting nationally, and as much as 66 percent cheaper in Detroit, but as little as 5 percent in Honolulu. The New York Times has an application to show the specifics of buying vs renting based on particular circumstances.

After so much research, sometimes you just need to know what other people in your circumstances facing the same question did. Get a peek into other people's decisions by seeing the median incomes of those who chose to buy versus those who chose to rent compared to the median income in general in10 biggest cities in Illinois, from Area Vibes and the percent of people living in their own homes versus the percent of people living in rented homes, based on U.S. Census Bureau data according to Home Facts.

For comparison, the median household income in Illinois according to Area Vibes is $57,848, the median household income of homeowners is $66,093 and the median household income for renters is $36,332. Nationally, the median household income is $52,328, the median household income for homeowners is $63,664 and the median household income for renters is $35,685.

In every one of Illinois 15 biggest cities, median household income of people who owned homes was higher than the median household income for the city in general, which was in turn higher than the median household income for people who chose to rent, even though renting is actually more expensive than buying in the long run, according to Forbes. Accumulating the cash for a down payment, however, would generally be more expensive than renting.

Chicago realtor Emily Sachs Wong, owner and broker of Emily Sachs Wong, Inc. within @Properties, said there are several factors to consider whether to buy or rent. Ask yourself: Do you have the time to put into maintenance of a house? Do you plan on staying in a house long enough to build equity? She said even if buying a house might be a bit more expensive, it can be better to own as an investment and to customize a home. But it all comes down to money in the end:

"If they have a down payment is the number one decision maker," she said.

Based on these numbers, is your household income closer to those who buy or rent in your area? Does that match with what you have chosen to do for your living arrangements?

Renting vs buying information in five of Illinois' biggest cities:

Cicero

Owner-occupied housing units: 48.4 percent

Renter-occupied housing units: 51.6 percent

Median household income: $43,799

Median household income of homeowners: $55,106

Median household income of renters: $34,254

Waukegan

Owner-occupied housing units: 49.9 percent

Renter-occupied housing units: 50.1 percent

Median household income: $47,987

Median household income of homeowners: $67,117

Median household income of renters: $35,914

Elgin

Owner-occupied housing units: 65.7 percent

Renter-occupied housing units: 34.3 percent

Median household income: $57,216

Median household income of homeowners: $73,049

Median household income of renters: $40,818

Peoria

Owner-occupied housing units: 90.3 percent

Renter-occupied housing units: 54.9 percent

Median household income: $45,863

Median household income of homeowners: $60,312

Median household income of renters: $25,104

Springfield

Owner-occupied housing units: 63.9 percent

Renter-occupied housing units: 36.1 percent

Median household income: $47,209

Median household income of homeowners: $61,259

Median household income of renters: $30,174

See how many people are renting vs buying for Illinois' five biggest cities, including Rockford and Chicago, at Reboot Illinois.

2014-08-27-houseforsale.jpg

NEXT ARTICLE: Checking the state of housing in Illinois' biggest counties
Key to Quinn victory: Get out the vote
Cartoon: Chicago unites over the Jackie Robinson West Little League team
Watch: Illinois politicians participate in the #ALSIceBucketChallenge
Five ways Illinois fails its disabled citizens