Sue Fox, @Properties. Direct 773.816.1788

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Buyers on prowl for bargains in 2012

filed under: Buyers, Foreclosures, Market conditions, Short sales posted on January 3rd, 2012

West Town, Chicago home

SELLING SHORT IN WEST TOWN: It's been a long road for this short sale, a modern 5-bedroom house located at 1634 W Erie. It was built in 2006 and originally priced just over $1.2 million. But despite being billed as a "smart" house with skylights throughout, high-end appliances and a media room with stadium seating, it never sold. By 2009 it was marked down to $680,000 and offered as a short sale. It's been under contract -- but failed to close -- four times in the last two years. The home is now priced at $615,000 and the listing says it's an "approved short sale" that can close in 60 days.

Happy 2012! Especially if you’re a home buyer.

From what I’ve been seeing over the past few weeks, Chicago buyers are already out shopping for their next home. Even during the height of the holiday season, I witnessed: One of my condo listings go under contract two days before Christmas, two separate buyers (in the Loop and Uptown) who are preparing to make offers this week, and another three new buyers who are starting their single-family home searches (in Bucktown, Irving Park, and Andersonville).

Home sales are on the rise throughout Chicago… but home prices are not. And neither, for the time being, are mortgage rates. That’s why it’s such an incredible time to be a home buyer. At no other moment in the past decade could you find home prices so low in Chicago (the median is now $160,000, nearly back to the levels of 1999), nor interest rates hovering below 4% for a 30-year fixed mortgage. Savvy buyers with solid income and credit scores are seizing the moment — and many people are simply paying cash for their properties these days, if they can afford it.

A major trend in 2012 will undoubtedly be the flood of foreclosed and short sale properties hitting the market; they already make up almost half of Chicago’s home sales. Illinois now ranks fourth in the nation for foreclosure activity, with 12,398 properties receiving foreclosure filings in November alone. In Cook County, foreclosure activity jumped 20% in November, according to a recent story in the Chicago Tribune, which attributed the rise to a 57% increase in homes sent to court-ordered auctions.

Buyers are out there, but they are definitely looking for bargains in 2012. And with homes now selling for about 30% less than what they commanded just a few years ago, bargains are not hard to find. It’s much harder to find home sellers — particularly the traditional kind who aren’t in foreclosure or attempting a short sale — willing to accept the new market reality and price their properties accordingly.

Written by Sue Fox //

  1. Ginny Brzezinski

    Sue is absolutely right. If you are a buyer in Chicago, now is a great time. Prices are down and interest rates cannot get much lower. If you are a seller and it is hard to wrap your mind around the reduced price for your property, keep in mind that whatever you are buying is also lower. If you are a move up buyer, the numbers are with you. Sue clearly knows her market, and is the Realtor you want to call in Chicago whether you are buying or selling.

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