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Chicago Mortgage Refinance

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The third most populous city in the United States, the city of Chicago is home to 2.8 million people living in an area of 234 square miles on the shores of Lake Michigan. Within the greater Chicago area, also known as Chicagoland, nearly 9.7 million people live in an area that stretches from Wisconsin through Illinois and into Indiana. The city of Chicago is comprised of four main areas: the Downtown including the Loop, the North Side, the South Side, and the West Side. The most densely populated residential section of the city is the North Side, and here along the lakefront are located many of the city's high-rises. Within these five areas are 77 named communities, each with its own distinctive character.

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Mortgage refinance - Chicago

Mortgage rates are at all-time low levels. There has never been a better time to refinance and lower your mortgage payment. If you have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) you can refinance and get a low fixed rate. You don't need perfect credit to apply.

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  • Refinance your home
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  • Purchase a home

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Chicago has not been immune to the real estate crisis. According to Crain's, in the first quarter of 2010 the percentage of people who own their own homes in Chicago fell to an eight-year low of 67.4%. The previous high was 71.2% in the third quarter of 2002. Nationwide, the percentage of homeowners is similar, now standing at 67.1%, having fallen from a peak of 69% in 2006. The Chicago home vacancy rate, another indicator of the market's health or lack thereof, in May 2010 was 3.2%, a dramatic increase from the previous level of 2%. The home vacancy rate is a reflection of an increase in the foreclosure rate and weakness in the job market, which hurts both buyers and sellers - for every unemployed person who loses his or her home to foreclosure, there is another unemployed or underemployed person who cannot afford to buy the foreclosed property. And so round and round it goes.

In downtown Chicago, the condo market is the primary home real estate indicator. The good news for sellers is that according to Chicago Now, at the end of April 2010 the supply of two and three-bedroom condos in Chicago was at its lowest level in four years. In addition, the number of condo rental and sales contracts written in April was almost double the previous year. The market supply is measured by the number of properties that can be sold in a month, and in 2009 the Chicago market held a 16-month supply of two and three-bedroom condos, which by the early summer of 2010 has been cut in half to an eight-month supply.

Like any other large city, conditions vary by neighborhood. On the Near South Side there's a two-year supply of condos, but that's an improvement over the recent seven-year supply that plagued this area known in the past for intensive flipper and speculator activity. In The Loop, inventory stands at ten months, while in Rogers Park inventory has shrunk to under ten months after hitting a January 2009 high of 50 months. The Uptown market was at its worst in January 2009 with a 32-month supply, which by May 2010 was cut to seven months, about the same as it was in May of 2007.

For homeowners who want to refinance as a source of cash or to lower their monthly payments, from Trulia we get a selection of refinancing rates as of June 2010. For a $300,000, 30-year fixed-rate refinance, annual percentage rates (APRs) range from 5.125% (at BankFinancial) to a low of 4.444% (at United Home Loans). Lenders include Sterling Home Mortgage, Oxford Lending Group, and Mortgage Capital Associates. Homeowners should keep in mind that if the value of their home has declined substanstially, refinancing may have to be put off until home values rise again.

Many analysts believe that Chicago is recovering. In April 2010, overall home sales in the metropolitan Chicago real estate market rose 48 percent over April 2009, according to RE/MAX Northern Illinois. The time required to find a buyer decreased. It remains to be seen whether these gains were the result of the federal tax incentive, and if a "double dip" recession takes the steam out of the recovery. People who are thinking about buying property in Chicago should work with a reputable local realtor who knows the neighborhoods and can find the best deals.