The Chicago real estate market is in a somewhat unusual situation - the region was especially hard hit at the outset of  the recession, but has started to inch upwards towards improvement in recent months. One reliable indicator of Chicago real estate is the level of foreclosures in the city and its suburbs. According to a July 16, 2009 article in the Chicago Sun Times, “The number of homes hit with foreclosure filings in Cook County in June spiked 23 percent from a year earlier, but dropped 17 percent from May, RealtyTrac said in its monthly report released Wednesday.” In other words, the real estate market in the Windy City is in much worse shape than a year ago, but is starting to inch upwards towards stability compared to last month.

It is somewhat difficult to gauge overall statistics regarding home sales in Chicago because of the diluting effect of foreclosures on the market. According to Clear Capital, a real estate valuation and analysis company, “In the past 90 days, 43 percent of home sales in Cook county have been bank-owned foreclosures.” An article in the Chicago Tribune found that “Foreclosures, meanwhile, continue to roil the market, being scooped up more quickly and cheaply than traditional listings.”The high rate of foreclosures also helps to explain artificially deflated prices and days-on-market statistics that seem much lower than they should be naturally.

The Chicago Sun Times reported in a June 23, 2009 article that “Home sales and median prices plummeted in May from year-ago levels in the city of Chicago, metropolitan area, and statewide, the Illinois Association of Realtors said today.” On the other hand, a comparison of prices from month to month found a slightly brighter picture, as the Chicago Tribune reported on June 24, 2009 that “sales of existing homes in the Chicago area posted the fourth consecutive monthly improvement during May.” A later article in the Tribune stated on July 18, 2009 that “Tax credits dangled in front of first-time buyers caused builders to pour more foundations for homes last month and made for a slightly more optimistic report on the housing market Friday.”