Like many old Midwestern towns, Chicago's growth has stagnated over the past decade.
Tepid demand for housing has kept values reasonable, with the median home price in the area at just $170,000.
Rental costs, however, are comparatively high, at nearly $1,600 a month. That means a prospective buyer would need to have a very short time horizon and a bad credit history for it to make more sense to rent.
After only three years, a homeowner would pay 33% less in housing costs than a renter and 50% less after seven years, according to Trulia.
Source: Trulia Savings are based on a comparison of total housing costs for buyers and renters and include transactional cost, such as commissions, taxes, appreciation and opportunity costs, like the potential returns of selling a home. The calculation assumes homeowners will put 20% down on a 3.5%, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, will itemize deductions and are in the 25% tax bracket.
By Les Christie @CNNMoney - Last updated March 28 2013 12:23 PM ET