Foreclosures may encourage homebuyers to invest in Chicago properties

When you're preparing to invest in your first home, you may want to consider how you can get a great deal in a safe neighborhood. Real estate in Chicago, IL, may be priced exceptionally low in some parts, but the Windy City remains an integral part of the world's economy and a cultural epicenter in the United States. Over the past few years, the metro area has been plagued with its fair share of foreclosures, but recent studies find that economic outlook in the area may finally be improving.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago put out a report on May 21, 2012, showing the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI), a weighted average of approximately 85 economic indicators, increased to 0.11 in April 2012. The previous reading in March found the CFNAI at -0.44. For reference, a reading below zero means below-trend growth in the economy and falling pressure on future inflation rates.

The most current reading focuses on slow but steady growth in the Chicago marketplace, and homebuyers may be inclined to invest in properties with stability returning to the metro area. After all, prospective homeowners need to be assured the properties they purchase will appreciate in value over time, rather than continue to decline and enter foreclosures.

However, homebuyers are finding use out of the influx of foreclosed properties in the greater Chicago area. Prices of these distressed properties declined 3.9 percent on a per-square-foot basis year-over-year. That reading compares with a 10.4 percent decline traditionally noted for those homes, The Chicago Tribune reports. Not only are foreclosed properties priced affordably in Chicago, but they're reaching historic lows due to economic pressures. What's more, approximately 38 percent of local home sales in Chicago were distressed properties, and these houses went through the short sale process.

In the Chicago, foreclosures continue to be a central part of home sales, and while distressed properties can bring down values in communities, these structures are being claimed. An increase in home closings may help neighborhoods regain the premiums they lost in the recession and help bring confidence back to the Chicago community. When looking for affordable housing in the United States, consider the Windy City for its resilience and ability to stand strong during housing adversity. You may may just find the home of your dreams for a low cost in the surrounding suburbs.