Visit this blog if you want to better understand Chicago’s place in this current real estate market, the health of Chicago
neighborhoods and an urban green lifestyle . Those were our specialties at the Sun-Times Real Estate section while I was the editor, and I plan to write a bit about that here.
If you’d like to learn where Chicago stands in the data from mortgage insurance central â€” the PMI Group â€” and hear from Chicago real estate players about where we are heading, download the Sun-Times Jan. 18 cover story here.
There’s no place like home
By Sally Duros
Toto, this isnâ€™t Kansas. Itâ€™s better â€” itâ€™s Chicago.And arenâ€™t we fortunate to be living here now, when the curtain has been pulled back on the vast markets in mortgage-backed securities that fed the illusion of the mighty and powerful Oz â€” Oz being the idea that homes would always appreciate at unheard of levels, and that we could trade them like so many horses of a different color.
Sure Chicagoans â€” like everyone in the rest of the country â€” are adjusting to the wheezing rattling machinery of a Wizard defrocked. But here in the flyover monkey zone, data indicates we are holding the levels of our own market. That could be because most of us already know what Dorothy had to learn from her time on the yellow brick road: when looking for our heartsâ€™ desires, we donâ€™t have to look any farther than our own backyards.
We donâ€™t need ruby slippers, just that decisive moment that arises from each of our hearts and tells us to sell or to buy or to not. How that moment arrives is a mystery, but we feel it when it happens.
As Rich Hanson, president of Mesa Development, told me, â€œHomes will regain their value. All the buyers who are working hard to afford a home will someday be able to afford a home again. Itâ€™s a very emotional buy. As bad as it is going down, when it decides to go up, it will go up. Because everybody around still needs a house.â€
In looking ahead to 2008â€™s real estate market, we spoke with seven experts to get their thoughts about what Chicagoans will see in the year ahead. The statements that appear here were gleaned from interviews conducted over the past several weeks, the notes from which have been edited for flow and clarity.