Are you in the market for a room with a view? WGN’s Money Saving Expert Ilyce Glink takes a look at upscale apartment living.

Even if you can afford to buy a home, you may decide you’re better off being a renter.

And for renters with an unlimited budget, there are some pretty hot addresses that are open to you. WGN’S money-saving expert Ilyce Glink shows us what some folks are renting, and why they may opt not to buy.

With the second largest number of housing starts in the country, new construction is an old story in Chicago. Except you can’t buy in this building. All of the units are for rent.

“We are adding to our success with our latest building, Park Millennium,” says Jim Dunlap of Charles E. Smith Residential.

Charles E Smith Residential is a company that specializes in apartment rentals. But in a trend sweeping upscale rental housing, this building could easily be mistaken for a hotel. Residents can make free use of the business center, party room, rec room, indoor pool and sauna, and even a state-of-the-art gym.

The trend with today’s upscale apartment living seems to be to put every single amenity you could ever possibly want under one roof, and then never leave.

But all this trendiness doesn’t come cheap. Apartments here start around $1,200 per month. You can rent the penthouse for about $5,600 per month — three times what the average homeowner pays each month on his or her mortgage. Even if it is a smarter financial move to buy, some people prefer renting.

"We are getting people who are renters by choice. They want to live in a building where they can get services. They want to call downstairs, tell people what they need and it will get delivered," Dunlap says.

For homeowners who already own 1, 2 or even 3 other homes, renting makes a lot of sense.

"He has five other homes, all over the world, that needs a presence in Chicago for business. Someone coming from the north shore, coming from a very large homes and they’re used to the finest, finest services, best view, beautiful finishes," says Barbara Steward, Rubloff & Co.

This is the most expensive rental unit available in Chicago these days. The price? A cool $17,000. PER MONTH. And for that kind of cash, you’d expect the best. This place delivers: A Michigan Avenue address, marble, granite and views all over, and every imaginable luxury.

Copyright © 2002, WGN-TV

July 16, 2002