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RELIABLE

Every Chicago are real estate closing I participate in has some sort of allocation of property taxes between the buyer and seller; the tax pro-ration. Calculating the pro-rations amount is based, in part, on the day of the year on which the closing takes place. So, as a lawyer who helps clients buy and sell their homes, I refer frequently to the "day of year" counter on my title-company issued desk blotter monthly calender. Which is why I am so very aware of the fast approaching chronological mid-point of the year.

So, how are we doing in residential real estate?

The Illinois Association of Realtor's monthly activity report came out again this week. Analysts who sifted through the data were able to find a few shiny nuggets of good news, but things still are not quite trending the way we might hope they would be. 422 fewer condos sold in Chicago, (1,053 fewer total residences sold in the metro area) May 2009 compared to May 2008. Drops of 27.5% and 18.7% respectively.

Put that into perspective from the previous year's numbers: Chicago area home sales in May 2008 were down 29.0 percent from 9,751 sales in 2007. Chicago condos were down

Real Estate Brokerages are feeling the squeeze. Coldwell Banker NRT, the area’s largest residential real estate firm announced last week that it plans to close a Naperville office by summer’s end. That would be the 3rd office closed this year. It closed 2 others late last year too. Sudler Sotheby's closed its old flagship office on Wells Street. Baird & Warner also closed an office just down the street from Sudler's. Both had been Old Town presences for more than two decades.

The pool of mortgage lenders is shrinking too. Many, like Residential Loan Centers of America are simply shutting their doors. Others, are folding into larger firms (Professional Mortgage Partners, Revere Mortgage and others for example have all morphed into Wintrust Mortgage).

Title Insurance Companies also continue to shutter offices and reduce staffs.

Me, I am still accepting new clients for all manner of real estate transactions.

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