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Chicago home prices drop in November

A home for sale in Chicago's West Humboldt Park neighborhood. (WBEZ/Ashely Gross)

It got cheaper to buy a home in Chicago in November. According to the Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index, prices are now back to 2001 levels.

After rising a bit last year, Chicago home prices have started going in reverse again. They fell 3.4 percent in November compared with October, and that was the biggest drop of any city in the 20-city index. Compared with a year earlier, prices slipped almost 6 percent.

Stephen Baird is CEO of the real estate company Baird & Warner and, full disclosure, he also sits on the board of WBEZ.

"Every transaction has angst in it. Buyer angst, seller angst," Baird said. "There aren’t any easy transactions anymore."
He says buyers lack confidence and are scared to take the plunge because they think prices will keep falling. On the flip side, David Cihla, a broker with RE/MAX Signature, says it's a tough time to be a seller.

"A lot of sellers are putting their properties on the market and testing the waters and are having a rude awakening that they're not going to get even close to what they were expecting," Cihla said.

Baird says there’s also a larger shift going on.

"People are fundamentally rethinking the whole American dream thing," Baird said. "Is it a good idea for me to buy a house?"

He says younger people in particular want to stay mobile and are afraid to get tied down to a house.

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