2010 Real Estate Guide
House and sky
real estate
Home values: Median prices in 12 cities

Overview
The modern high-rise is "in a really hot, up-and-coming neighborhood: Uptown," says Lisa McGuirt, Realtor with Baird & Warner. This one-bedroom, one-bath condo is three years old and has enormous windows on two sides, hardwood floors and 11-foot ceilings, says McGuirt. "It's very loft-like," she says. The kitchen has stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. It also has a private balcony and comes with a washer and dryer.

Price: $210,936
Area median price: $210,100 (down 16 percent)
Amenities
1 bedroom/1 bath
748 square feet
1 parking spot
Features
Washer and dryer
Northeast view
Heated parking garage
Listed by: Baird & Warner

Price trend:
The median-price market in Chicago and surrounding areas "is fabulous right now for anyone who wants to buy," says Genie Birch, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors and broker associate with Koenig & Strey GMAC.

"You can get a single-family home, you can get townhouses or condos -- it just depends on what you want," she says. "There are a lot of choices out there."

In Chicago, buyers have 77 different neighborhoods to choose from, says Birch. And the neighborhood will determine what kind of options a buyer has. "The average home is about 1,500 square feet in the city," she says. And "in some neighborhoods, you can't buy a single-family home (for the median price of $210,000), so you limit yourself to condos or town homes."

In the suburbs, $210,000 will secure a home that's 1,800 to 2,000 square feet, Birch says.

It's a good time for buyers because sellers "are so realistic right now, they are priced right," Birch says. "They still have some competition with distressed properties."

In the fall of 2008, the median price in the area was $250,800, according to the National Association of Realtors. By the same time in 2009, it dropped to $210,100.

"It's the same product you're getting," says Birch. "So you're getting more for your money than a year ago."

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