A decline in office vacancy and stable values may bode well for Chicago market

MLS Listings in Chicago, IL, have had many ups and downs in the past few years, but recent data points toward a brighter future.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index found that home values in the Chicago area fell 2.5 percent in February 2012, in addition to a 1.9 percent decrease in January. However, the Illinois Association of Realtors (IAR) reported that the median sales price of single-family properties in the Greater Chicago area rallied in March and stabilized at $130,000, approximately the same as a year earlier. The metric is the first time since June 2010 that the median price hasn't declined, according to the IAR.

Overall, the year's decline in home values has affected various market sectors, including the job market and local economy. In the past six months, homes that traditionally sold for around $143,616 fell 12.5 percent in value while properties slated for $244,611 closing rates decrease 11.1 percent in value, the Chicago Tribune reports. In total, the state experienced a decline of 9.4 percent over the past half year.

The record-low prices may be a positive note for prospective homebuyers looking to invest in property. With homes for sale in Chicago more affordable than ever, it is the perfect time to buy. There are definite signs of life in the near future, and many economists expect a steady recovery over the course of 2012.

The office market in the Windy City area has been dismal ever since the recession, but deals like the Chicago Board of Trade sale last Monday helps reduce vacancy in the area. A first quarter market reading by U.S. Equities Realty shows that both the downtown and suburbs of Chicago saw direct vacancy drops by approximately 0.9 percent in 2012 compared to numbers from a year earlier, Globe St. reports.

With new businesses setting up shop in Chicago, unemployment rates may fall and job seekers may be able to find work. This could spur the economic outlook in the area and encourage more people to purchase property in the metro area. The future looks bright for Chicago, and buyers may want to consider relocating to take advantage of low costs while they're still available. Applying for a mortgage now and purchasing homes through short sales can provide candidates with great deals on appreciating property.