11 Facts You Should Know about Today’s
Illinois Real Estate Markets
Think locally and long-term and do your homework.
1. Best buying opportunity in years!
If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, your timing
couldn’t be better. With current inventory levels and prices
stabilizing, plus historically low interest rates and the
homebuyer tax credit, you have an unprecedented buying
2. Housing remains an excellent long-term investment.
Owning a home is how many families begin to accumulate
wealth. Given the leverage you get in purchasing a home, the
average return on a 5% down payment over 10 years is usually
three to five times greater than stock market returns. And
you can’t live in a stock! In Illinois the median price in
2008 was 23% higher than it was 10 years earlier in 1998.
3. The Illinois market is cushioned from extreme highs
Our Midwest market did not experience the extreme
increases (and declines) in home sales and prices during the
real estate boom as did housing markets in California,
Florida and the Southwest. In 2009, Illinois single- family
home prices trended back to pre-boom levels (before 2001);
condos back to 2004 levels.
4. Affordable, safe mortgages are available even for
people with less-than-perfect credit.
A mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration (www.HUD.gov)
can be the answer for first-time buyers who have a hard
time getting financing and enough money for the down
payment. Also, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA.org)
offers Illinois residents special loan programs.
5. Interest rates have one way to go—UP!
Mortgage rates reached 50-year lows in 2009. This is an
ideal time for buyers to save thousands of dollars by
obtaining home financing at record-low rates.
credit for long-time homeowners.
Long-time homeowners who buy a new principal residence by
April 30, 2010, may qualify for a tax credit equal to 10
percent of the purchase price up to $6,500 (or $3,250 for a
married individual filing separately). According to the
IRS, the long-time homeowner must have lived in the same
principal residence for any five-consecutive year period
during the eight-year period that ended on the date the
replacement home is purchased.
7. First-time buyers, hurry to get the $8,000
More first-time buyers are out in force taking advantage
of the affordable entry-level home prices and the federal
first-time homebuyer tax credit equal to 10 percent of the
cost of the home up to $8,000. Eligible taxpayers must buy,
or enter into a binding contract to buy, a principal
residence on or before April 30, 2010 and close on the home
by June 30, 2010. If the credit is more than the taxes owed
in 2009 or 2010, the buyer will get a refund check for the
8. It pays to own versus rent.
A typical homeowner’s net worth is 49 times that of a
renter’s, according to the National Association of
REALTORS® estimates using the latest figures from the
Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances. Owning
a home provides both equity and tax benefits over time, plus
important social benefits such as shelter, security and
9. Getting help from an Illinois REALTOR® is a smart
It has never been more important than now to work with a
REALTOR®, the local market professional, to properly gauge
local neighborhood conditions. Some markets have two levels
of pricing—distressed sales and traditional sales. REALTORS®
can help both buyers and sellers navigate today’s complex
10. Sellers can recoup on the buy side.
To sell quickly in today’s market make sure your home
carries a compelling price, not just a comparable one. The
low interest rates and price declines in today’s market give
trade-up buyers a unique opportunity. What a seller may lose
on the sell side can be more than recovered on the buy side.
11. Current market conditions won’t last long.
In Illinois sales volumes are on the rebound. As sales
increase, inventory levels will decrease and prices will
begin to rise. Buy now for the long-term while you have the