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Looking for a Chicago home? It’s getting tougher

If you’ve been looking for a Chicago condominium or single-family home, you’ve probably noticed something: There isn’t a ton of product out there.

The HousingWire real estate news service confirmed this with a recent story reporting that the volume of Chicago-area homes for sale – including condominiums and single-family homes – has dropped by a rather surprising 50 percent from December of 2010 to the same month in 2012.

HousingWire, which took its data from a report by Midwest Real Estate Data, says that there’s a reason for this drop in housing inventory: Buyers have returned in force to the metropolitan Chicago area. REALTORS®, according to the story, are even reporting frequent bidding wars on those homes that are priced right and sit in the city’s most popular neighborhoods.

For sellers, this lack of inventory is good news. The HousingWire story quotes an official from Midwest Real Estate Data who says that the shrinking inventory might even lead to stronger price increases in Chicago’s housing market. This makes sense: If there are fewer homes from which to choose, buyers will more often be competing with themselves for the best properties.

This could result in an increase in bidding wars which, in turn, can lead to a steady rise in housing prices throughout the Chicago area.

Sellers shouldn’t be fooled, though. Even though inventory levels have dipped and median sales prices have been increasing as of late, housing prices in Chicago are still far below the heights they achieved in 2006 and early 2007. Sellers today still have to price their homes properly for their market. Buyers today are too savvy to overpay for homes, even those in the top Chicago neighborhoods.

My advice, as always, is to work with a skilled and knowledgeable REALTOR® who knows your neighborhood. This professional can help you set the right price for your home and increase your odds of closing a fair and timely sale.

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