What is the Real Cost of Living in Wilmette?

Wilmette Jena Radnay July 20, 2023

Wilmette, a picturesque village on the North Shore, boasts charming brick-paved roads, luxurious waterfront properties, and plenty of shops and green spaces. With an excellent school system and fun-filled activities for kids, it is no wonder why Business Week named Wilmette one of the top 10 places to raise children. Living in Wilmette offers all the perks of a small town, with easy access to the big-city amenities and entertainment spots.

Wilmette is a highly sought-after location for real estate seekers, with gorgeous properties promising incredible vistas of Lake Michigan. The cost of living in Wilmette is relatively high compared to other areas, but this is understandable given the town's idyllic surroundings.

If you’re intrigued by all that life in Wilmette has to offer, read on for guidance from trusted broker Jena Radnay and learn about the cost of living in Wilmette. When you feel financially prepared, you can make your move confidently!

Housing information

Rental units

If you are looking for a great place to call home, Wilmette real estate is worth considering! This lovely town offers a variety of outstanding housing options, including rental and owner-occupied homes. You will surely find something that suits your needs and budget.

However, rental prices have gone up in the past year. If you’re in the rental market, you might be wondering if homeownership could ever be on the table. It can! With an expert agent by your side, you can achieve all your real estate dreams and find a home that fits within your financial parameters. Let Jena guide the way!

Homeownership stats

In the charming town of Wilmette, it is common for residents to own and occupy their own homes, which adds to the area's close-knit sense of community and pride. Of the 10,292 residences in Wilmette, 9,742 are occupied by their owners. Wilmette is home to quite a few vintage houses, with several properties in the area built before 1940. The majority (78%) of Wilmette homes are single-family detached properties, with 84% of properties featuring three or more bedrooms.

Wilmette real estate is quite competitive, as properties are selling quickly in a seller’s market. On average, homes are only available for about 16 days before eager buyers snatch them up. Also, 56% of Wilmette homes sold in May exceeded their original list price. Since the demand is so high, the median price of homes in Wilmette has increased by 15.5% over the past year. Overall, Wilmette remains an attractive and highly desirable place to call home.

Income information

Wilmette is an affluent area, and income reports reflect that. Based on data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau, households in this area earn a median annual income of $173,967, which is considerably higher than the median income in the entire U.S.

In addition, almost 40% of Wilmette residents commute to Chicago for work, indicating the easy big-city access and convenient commute times in the area. Another 13% work in neighboring towns. Surprisingly, only 6% of locals both live and work in Wilmette. The town's primary industries include education, retail, healthcare, and hospitality services.


Next, let’s take a closer look at the cost of living in Wilmette, from utilities and food to transportation services.

The cost of utilities

Wilmette is a town with below-average utility costs compared to both the national and state averages. As a whole, the utility costs in Wilmette are 5% lower than the national average and almost 3% less expensive than in other areas in Illinois.

This translates to savings for Wilmette residents on their monthly energy bills, which typically average around $100. Compared to the rest of Illinois, the difference may not be a fortune, but it does add up over time. Illinois pays around $110 monthly, and the national average is about $132.

Food costs

You have plenty of fantastic options if you are looking for a great place to eat in and around Wilmette. There are some fancier dining destinations like Sophia Steak, but if you are in the mood for something more casual but still trendy, Pescadero is a great spot for a drink on the outdoor patio. Just keep in mind that dining out can cost more, depending on where you go. Also, grocery shopping in Wilmette tends to be a bit pricier than other areas. Food prices in Wilmette are about 12% higher than in other parts of Illinois and 6% higher than the national average.

The cost of transportation

Did you know that most people in Wilmette work in an office? Only a small percentage (17%) work from home as of 2020 — although recent data will likely trend higher in the post-pandemic world.

Interestingly, more than half of Wilmette residents own multiple cars, which suggests a preference for private transportation. Also, more than half of workers prefer driving alone, while less than 4% choose to carpool. The average commute time is about 33 minutes. If you must commute to downtown Chicago, you can expect to spend around 45 minutes covering the 19-mile distance.

Some commuters prefer to take a bus or train instead. About 22% of commuters rely on public transportation to reach their workplaces, highlighting the transit system's availability and convenience through the Metra and CTA rail. Regarding transportation expenses, Wilmette is significantly pricier than the rest of Illinois by a whopping 26%. The cost of getting around in Wilmette is also nearly 33% higher than the national average. That said, the amazing way of life in Wilmette is worth it!

Jena is here for you

Are you drawn to Wilmette's charming small-town vibes and stunning scenery? Finding a home in a competitive market can be daunting, but you do not have to go through it alone!

Jena Radnay, a renowned luxury broker in the North Shore, is at your service. With her expertise and exceptional negotiation skills, she can help you secure your dream home at the best possible price. Jena's outstanding abilities have earned her a loyal clientele, with most of her new clients being happy referrals.

Whether you are in the market for a new home, hoping to sell, or planning to build a new piece of Wilmette real estate, Jena will ensure a seamless and stress-free transaction. Reach out to Jena today for top-notch assistance.

*Header photo courtesy of Jena Radnay

Work With Jena

Jena Radnay, and the focus of her real estate business, is all about people. Radnay’s love for real estate, houses, marketing, and people have allowed her business to grow organically, albeit explosively, in large part from referrals from her extensive network of contacts and connections.