Several indicators suggest Chicago housing market is on the mend

Prospective homebuyers look for signs that the market is ready to make greater strides in recovery before they consider making an offer on a home. Fortunately, there have been several encouraging reports filed, all of which show real estate in Chicago, IL, to be on the mend.

Jobs often influence home sales, as unemployed professionals are very unlikely to put down payments for new homes. Therefore, the jobless claims report recently released by the United States Labor Department could indicate that the housing market may soon be a beneficiary. According to the survey, initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined nearly 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted rate of 370,000. What's more, the four-week moving average dropped 5,500 claims to 370,000 on the year, Reuters reports.

A booming job market is a good sign for the national economy. When more people have new work opportunities and are able to submit payments for their mortgages, the overall housing sector stabilizes further. However, there is still a long way to go in Chicago, as almost 667,000 homes with a mortgage in the seven-county area were underwater on their payments in March 2012, the Chicago Tribune reports. Approximately 13 percent of those homeowners were also delinquent on their payments by over three months.

As some of these properties went through foreclosure, sales in Chicago increased, which is a positive sign. More condos were sold in the city in April 2012 than in any month since June 2011, according to the Chicago Tribune. In addition to more sales, the prices were the highest since September 2011.

As a whole, the Chicago-area market looks much stronger than in the past few months. Median sales prices only fell 1.5 percent on a year-over-year basis during April, which is the smallest decline in more than 12 months. All-in-all, about 6,814 homes sold in April in Chicago, an uptick of 19.3 percent from the previous year, the news source reports.

With jobless claims decreasing and houses for sale in Chicago being purchased more regularly, prospective buyers may be inclined to consider the Windy City for their next home. Entering the marketplace today may offer better deals on property, as values are still relatively low, and competition can be scarce in some communities. Buyers should consider their financial standings and survey the available properties in the seven-county Chicago area.