chicago real estate news alert: IL GOVERNOR BLAGO - What Are You Thinking, Man! - 01/26/09 04:07 PM
Yes, it's true!  I live in Chicago.  I'm a bit rough and tumble sometimes.  Always honest, I like to think, but - hey, I know the angles as well as the next Guy from Chicago!
And a life-long Dem to boot! Made my mind up when my mother and father stood up and spoke, for my little brother and me to hear, these immortal words back in '68 -
"Sons . . . your mother and I have decided to support Richard M. Nixon for President this year!"
But what's going on with our current Democratic Governor here in IL - Rod … (11 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: ULTRA-LOW-FIXED-RATE NEW HOME LOANS - The Latest Home Builder Incentive! - 01/22/09 02:35 PM
Hope you're warmer where you are, than it is here in Chicago.  Temperatures appear to be moderating, however - for now!  We're just below the freezing mark!
The latest promotion by a major home builder to stir sales in a continued-weak housing market comes from PA based Toll Brothers Builders.  The national builder, with several large developments in the Chicago Suburbs, is offering very low Fixed-Rate Mortgage Loans to qualified buyers for its newly-constructed homes.
As summarized in Dawn Wotapka's article in today's Wall Street Journal, Toll Brothers, whose local projects stretch from the Chicago Suburbs of Bloomingdale to Barringtion and Elgin to Morton … (2 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: AS FORECLOSURES RISE, J.P. Morgan Chase Considers Expanding Loan Mod Efforts! - 01/21/09 02:15 PM
Now, in an even bigger way, one of the largest mortgage lenders in the U.S. has gotten even more aggressive on attempting to stay the rising tide of foreclosed homes on its books. 
In the January 16th edition of The Wall Street Journal, Robin Sidel reports that lender J.P. Morgan Chase - one of the largest banks by retail presence in Chicago and in many other markets nationwide - is expanding its loan modification program for distressed homeowners.  It now plans to modify loans for buyers whose loans have been sold to other investors, and are no longer owned by the … (6 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: RENTS COMING DOWN, Due to Competition, in High-End Residential Buildings in Downtown Chicago! - 01/19/09 04:19 PM
Good Evening, Everyone!
Today, many sellers of High-End Condo Units, in many of the Top, Most Exclusive Chicago Neighborhoods, are having difficulty selling their units.  To generate some cash flow - even if it is below what their house payment totals - these owners elect to lease their units.
But the greater supply of these condo units for rent, combined with a still-increasing pool of premium rentals in lease-only buildings, is driving down the rents for prospective tenants here!
These luxury condo units for rent are in very chic neighborhoods - Streeterville, River North, and The Gold Coast, among others.
And many … (5 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: FANNIE MAE TO ADD MORE LOAN FEES - Especially for Condo, Low-Down-Payment Borrowers! - 01/18/09 03:39 PM
Here in Chicago, the real estate market, and the condo market, continues to struggle.  Rising unemployment, tight mortgage loan underwriting standards, and too-high inventory seem to be standing in the way of a quick turnaround in the housing market here.
As summarized in Mary Umberger's column in today's Chicago Tribune, recently-introduced fees by giant U.S. Loan Guarantor Fannie Mae will add fees for those putting less than 25 percent down on their new homes and condos, or whose FICO Credit Score fall below 720, on a 850-point scoring scale.  For prospective condo buyers, including many here in Chicago, the fee would … (3 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: FINAL TALLIES IN FROM REALTY TRAC - CHICAGO FORECLOSURES UP 53% LAST YEAR! - 01/18/09 03:35 PM
Folks, there's good news, and there is bad news.
The bad news first - across the U.S., according to CA-Based Foreclosure Listing and Research Company RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings increased 81% in 2008 versus 2007.
The good news - well, a bit better news, anyway - foreclosures in the Chicago Metro Area, although showing a sizable increase - jumped less than the national aggregate.
According to data summarized by The Associated Press in last Thursday's Wall Street Journal, over 2.3 Million homeowners across the U.S. struggled with some stage of the home foreclosure process in 2008 - an 81% increase over 2007, according … (1 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: CHICAGO FORECLOSED PROPERTIES, Abandoned, Ripe For Serious Winter Damage! - 01/12/09 10:29 AM
Good Evening, folks! 
If you live here in Chicago, batten down the hatches for another wild week of winter weather - 4 inches or so of fresh snow tonight, blizzard-strength winds around midnight, and sub-zero temps beginning tomorrow.
Gee, I wonder if it would be difficult to get my Aruba Real Estate License!  You think?
Wintertime - especially THIS winter, during a still-waiting-to-rebound Chicago Real Estate Market - poses special challenges on area homes, old and new.  When these houses are abandoned as a result of a bank foreclosure, damage can be catastrophic!
Indeed, you don't have to be a homeowner … (3 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: IL SENATOR PROPOSAL Would Allow Modification of Certain Primary Home Loans in Bankruptcy! - 01/11/09 03:12 PM
Currently, judges in cases involving personal bankruptcy have no power to modify the term and mortgage rate of the debtor's primary home mortgage.   Most homeowners, unable to repay these loans, even under the umbrella of their bankruptcy, often ended up losing their homes.  This could change under proposed legislation by IL Democratic Senator Richard Durbin.
Many lenders oppose this proposal to allow "cram downs," or loan modifications to those in bankruptcy.  According to a story by James Oliphant of the Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau, from January 9th, many warn of increased risk for mortgage lenders, resulting in less mortgage money available … (2 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: IN CHICAGO, THOSE LIVING IN HOMELESS SHELTERS EXPECTED TO RISE THIS YEAR! - 01/07/09 03:51 PM
Hey, folks!
If you've got a minute, I'd like to share with you a personal story from about 15 years ago. 
It was a hot summer day, and I had parked near the Wilson Avenue Station of the Chicago Red Line L, in the then-economically-depressed Uptown Neighborhood of Chicago.  I was on my way to catch a Cub Game at Wrigley Field, about a mile south.
As I entered the station, a panhandler, likely homeless, approached me for some spare change.  It was an odd number - something like $1.78 or so - that he requested.  I caught his eye briefly, … (2 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: FOR CONDO OWNERS, MANAGERS IN 2009 - More Challenges! - 01/04/09 12:29 PM
How will the downturn in the U.S. Economy, and the still-slow U.S. Housing Market, impact Condominium Owners and Management Associations, both here in Chicago, and elsewhere, in 2009?  Intuitively, many experts predict continued tough times, as well as deferred costly maintenance.
Here is a summary of likely developments, as summarized in an article by Pamela Dittmer McKuen in last Friday's Chicago Tribune -
1.  Expect Continued-Tough Loan Underwriting Standards.  According to Ken Perlmutter of Perl Mortgage in Chicago, lenders will want to see strong down payments - a minimum of 10%, perhaps 20% in some cases.  Source of buyer's income will … (2 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: LACK OF CONSUMER CONFIDENCE Key Culprit Stalling U.S. Housing Turnaround! - 12/30/08 02:16 PM
"FEAR!  It's a scary thing!" 
This sounds like a quote from Baseball Great Yogi Berra, but its true source is unknown.   But fear might be playing a key part preventing quick rebound in the housing market.
Which factors keep the U.S. and Chicago Housing Markets from beginning to rebound?  Fear over rising unemployment.  Reduced confidence in the U.S. Economy.  And the perception - generally true - that mortgage money is available, but often extremely tight for all but the most credit-qualified borrowers.
In their latest survey of Consumer Confidence, research firm The Conference Board surveyed 5,000 households to calculate a Consumer Confidence Index … (1 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: CHICAGO ASSISTANCE AGENCIES Ready to Help Homeowners Face Foreclosure Threat in 2009! - 12/28/08 04:25 AM
For homeowners delinquent in their mortgage payments, January, 2009 will usher in a frightening time.  Effective January 9th, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Foreclosure Moratorium, imposed during the holiday season, will end. 
Predictions for thousands of new foreclosure filings, fed by a weak U.S. Economy, a continued freeze in the credit markets, declining home values amidst high homes-for-sale inventory, and the ongoing threat of job loss will cause concern, and sleepless nights, for many others trying to stave off delinquency.
Several Chicago and Chicago Area assistance groups will be proactive in the New Year, while, at the same time, remaining … (1 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: HOME SALES DOWN AGAIN IN CHICAGO, But Lower Interest Rates an Encouraging Sign! - 12/23/08 03:14 PM
More snow here in Chicago tonight, slowing everyone's holiday travel plans here.  Be safe in your travels over Christmas!
The dark cloud continues over home and condo sales, both here in Chicago, across Illinois, and nationally. 
Figures released earlier today by the Illinois Association of Realtors for the City of Chicago indicate the sale of single family and condos sold dropped 41.3% in November as compared to 2007 numbers, while the median home and condo price fell 23.3% during the same period.  The current Chicago Median Price is $222,500, down from $290,000 one year ago.
Across Illinois, units sold 33.9% versus one … (6 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: LOAN MODIFICATION PROVES ELUSIVE - Not Surprisingly! - 12/22/08 01:54 PM
It is still freezing here in Chicago!  
You want proof?  Watch ESPN for tonight's Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers football game, and note the steam rising from the field, and from the players on both sides.
While you're watching the game - say a prayer that the Bears will pull this one off tonight and keep their post-season hopes alive.  Will ya?
Much has been said about Mortgage Loan Modification Programs, and their potential to make it easier for those in financial distress to keep their homes and fend off foreclosure.  Have you heard?
Indeed, several large lenders - including Bank … (6 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: FALLING RATES SPUR REFINANCING HERE IN CHICAGO - But Not Everyone Qualifies! - 12/21/08 12:06 PM
Rates on 30-Year Mortgages are falling here in Chicago, and they likely are where you are as well. 
But those who qualify to re-finance with these new, lower-rate loans - and not every family does - are being quite a bit more cautious with the money they may save each month.
Last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association indicated the average new 30-Year Fixed Mortgage had an interest rate of 5.18% for the week ending December 12th - the lowest average rate since the Association began keeping records 37 years ago.
There is a bit of a different complexion to today's rush to re-finance, … (1 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: POOR CONDITION OF REO HOMES Scares Away Many Potential Home Buyers! - 12/21/08 11:57 AM
Hey, folks!
If you've ever been inside a bank-owned home, especially one in Chicago during the winter, you know the condition can vary greatly.  Some recent foreclosures bear close resemblance to any recently-vacated home - clean and ready to move in.
A few, however - well, they could be pretty rough, especially in cases of burst pipes in the wintertime, or when squatter take up temporary residence.   This is a real shame, of course, as the poor condition of many homes re-acquired by banks are intimidating potential buyers, not willing to take on extensive repair and renovation right away.
But the … (6 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: ECONOMIC BOUNCE BACK IN 2009? Many Say It's Not Likely! - 12/21/08 11:43 AM
Man, is it cold here in Chicago!  We woke up this morning to an official O'Hare Airport low of Minus 6 degrees.  Now, it's a bit warmer - MINUS THREE!
It's likely nicer where you are, I would hope - unless your a Dakotan or a Minnesotan, I would assume!
More pessimistic predictions from local economists about 2009, I am sorry to report!  Many here are predicting tough times ahead for next year, and no easy recovery in the Real Estate Market, here in Chicago or elsewhere.
However, one spirited roofer in the Chicago Suburb of Naperville IL plans to attack the … (13 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: MORTGAGE RATE VOLATILITY HOUR-BY-HOUR - Although Best Rates Hug Historic Lows! - 12/18/08 07:17 AM
Quick!  What's the Average 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate?
Wait - it was even lower an hour ago!  And it has kept changing, often several times during the day, since the Federal Reserve Board lowered its benchmark Fed Funds Rate, as well as its bank-to-bank Discount Rate, last Tuesday afternoon around 1:20 Chicago Time.
After the Fed announcement, average 30-Year Fixed Rates almost immediately fell to 5.3%, from an average of over 5.6% last week. 
Yesterday, mortgage rates fell even further - to a 5.06% average - the lowest average in nearly 40 years!  It was reported that some lenders dropped their … (5 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: FANNIE MAE - For Tenants Current On Rent, No Evictions on Foreclosed Properties! - 12/17/08 01:38 AM
Got snowshoes?  Another 5 inches of white, fluffy stuff snow fell over Chicago last night.  Hey - we're tough here - no big deal!
On properties which have been taken back by the lender, long-standing policy allows the lender to evict any tenants who remain - often, with little notice, so long as the PRIOR OWNER of the property was properly served.  Often, delinquent owners would not inform tenants of a pending foreclosure, and these tenants wouldn't learn of a lender take-back until the county sheriff shows up at the door with an Order to Evict. 
Although details have yet to be finalized, … (0 comments)

chicago real estate news alert: FED KEY INTEREST RATE HISTORICALLY LOW - But How Will The Real Estate Market React? - 12/16/08 02:18 PM
This afternoon, around 1:20 Chicago Time, the Federal Reserve Board reduced it's benchmark Fed Funds rate to a target range of between 0% and 0.25% - the lowest in history!  Will the Fed's latest move to make financing to consumers and businesses more affordable spur the U.S. Housing Market?
That's unknown, of course.  However, previous Fed rate cuts, as well as aggressive economic action by the Treasury Department, have yet to turn the housing market around, despite lower mortgage interest rates.
For those who may have been snoozing this afternoon, the Fed completed their December meeting this afternoon by reducing it's benchmark … (5 comments)

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