Category: economy

Finding the silver lining of falling housing prices

Bob Arnold’s certainly not a pessimist. How can he be? He’s found the silver lining in falling home prices. Arnold is a real estate agent with RE/MAX Team 2000 in Orland Park. You’d think he, of all people, would be sweating the lower housing prices. But here’s what he’s found: The lower housing prices in... Read more »

Trouble refinancing? Keep calling

People don’t like mortgage lenders. It’s not hard to understand why. I’ve been trying for the last two days to determine if I can refinance my existing mortgage loan. The problem is that I’m underwater, owing more on my home loan than what my residence is worth. To refinance, I’ll need to rely on the... Read more »

My bad housing day

I’ll have to mark today down as one my bad housing days. Of course, I’m far from alone. Many of us woke up this morning to the disturbing news that home sales had fallen to a 15-year low. This is amazing. Home sales dropped an all-time high of 27 percent from June to July. Yep,... Read more »

Here's the scary part: There's no rule that housing has to appreciate

We’re all waiting for housing values to start to rise again. Right? I know I am: I’m underwater on my home, owing more on my mortgage loan than what my house is worth. I’d love for this to change. But what if it doesn’t? That’s the question that a recent New York Times story ponders.... Read more »

Apartment vacancies starting to fall?

At least one group of housing-industry entrepreneurs are feeling a bit of relief in this dismal economy: the owners and managers of apartment buildings in Chicago and the rest of the country. According to a new survey from, a growing number of apartment property managers and owners are seeing lower vacancy rates in their... Read more »

First-time homebuyers still face challenges

First-time homebuyers still face challenges
Buying a home today is supposed to be easier than ever for first-time home buyers. Sellers are desperate, and are willing to compromise on everything from sales price to repairs to closing dates. At the same time, housing inventories are high, meaning that buyers have plenty of homes from which to choose. But Greg McCoy,... Read more »

No one's getting lucky in Chicago condo market

Heather Hillebrand Here’s the trick with selling a condo in Chicago: A lot of them are nearly identical. It’s not easy for owners to get their condos to stand out. It’s why veteran real estate agents tell their sellers to never list their condos for a pie-in-the-sky price in the hopes of landing a big... Read more »

Are you a 99er? Then you've probably lost your house already

Are you a 99er? If so, my thoughts are with you. For those who don’t know, a 99er is someone who’s been jobless for more than 99 weeks. This is significant because these people will no longer receive federal unemployment benefits. Congress in July voted to extend these benefits for people who’ve been looking for... Read more »

Multi-family housing still hanging tough

Mike Jehle, Midwest regional director for Arbor Commercial Mortgage, a direct mortgage lender, didn’t hesitate when I asked him which real estate sector was the strongest these days. He told me it was multi-family, by just about any measure you could use to evaluate success. I didn’t doubt this. Everyone I talk to tells me... Read more »

Even green building not immune to economic slump

The bad economy has hit real estate developers especially hard. Those that haven’t gone out of business — and many in Chicago and its suburbs already have shut their doors — are scrambling to find ways to save money. And investing in new technology or services? Forget it. This holds true even for green measures.... Read more »