Chicago real estate is gearing up for an active season

Real estate in Chicago, IL, is a sensitive subject, as the housing decline of the late 2000s significantly affected the region. Recently, however, there have been positive signs that the area will make a full recovery, with home sales experiencing a boost in March 2012 within the city proper as well as in the greater nine county Chicago region, according to the Chicago Tribune. Respectively, these markets saw a 12.1 percent and a 23.8 percent year-on-year uptick during March.

The Greater Chicago area is also receiving some much-needed attention from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The two agencies have begun to provide prospective homebuyers and current homeowners with guidance on how to navigate through potential foreclosures. The goal of these educational efforts is to assist clients through short sale processes, and explain how it can benefit both buyers and sellers, Marketwire reports. The established guidelines by the two firms show people ways they can use low mortgage rates and median home values to their advantage, and many investors across Northern Illinois have already used these price points to help secure a stable future.

The commercial real estate market in the Greater Chicago area has shown signs of a slow but steady recovery. However, the multi-family market has accelerated at a rapid pace in the first quarter of 2012.

Investors have taken note of value in multi-family properties across the Windy City, as these structures remain among the top-performing assets in the state. Sales of buildings with approximately five or more units accounted for 348 properties sold in 2011, a 27 percent uptick over 2010's numbers. In the first quarter of 2012, sales in this sector were 14 percent higher than numbers seen at the same period in 2011.

Homebuyers and investors alike can take advantage of property values in Chicago, and as the market continues to stabilize, their purchases may prove to be worthwhile. Chicago is full of culture, history and entertainment, and while the real estate market is in flux today, its future looks bright. However, local experts warn buyers not to jump into home closings unless their finances are in line and well managed. If the funding is available, values are projected to appreciate over time and the low costs associated with ownership today make it a prime time to buy. With the national real estate showing marked improvements, consumer confidence may also be on the rise, influencing an increase in buyer behavior all across the U.S.