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Pending home sales unexpectedly rise in February

Pending sales of previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly rose in February, a trade group said on Monday, pointing to a modest pick-up in home sales. Get the full story »

New home sales plunge to record low in February

New U.S. single-family home sales unexpectedly fell in February to hit a record low and prices were the lowest since December 2003, showing the housing market slide continues. Get the full story »

Chicago-area home sales, prices fall from year ago

The weeks after the Super Bowl are considered the traditional start of the home-buying season, but home sales were a non-starter in the Chicago area last month.

February sales of existing homes in the Chicago area fell 8.8 percent from their level of a year ago, to 3,769 homes sold at a median price of $152,500. A year ago, in February 2010, the median price was $165,000. Get the full story »

Mortgage rates drop to 3-month low

Mortgage rates posted a sharp decline, with the benchmark conforming 30-year fixed mortgage rate falling to 4.91 percent, according to’s weekly national survey. Get the full story »

Housing starts see biggest drop since 1984

U.S. housing starts posted their biggest decline in 27 years in February while building permits dropped to their lowest level on record, suggesting the beleaguered real estate sector has yet to rebound from its deepest slump in modern history. Get the full story »

South Loop condos going rental

Another stymied condo development in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood is going rental.

Lexington Park, which originally was developed as 297 condos in a 35-story tower and additional space in a connected seven-story loft building, will be converted to more than 300 apartments, according to ST Residential LLC, which took possession of the property at Cermak and Indiana last year. Get the full story »

Rents could jump double digits as vacancies drop

Renters beware: Double-digit rent hikes may be coming soon amid rental vacancy rates that have dipped below the 10 percent mark, where they had been lodged for most of the past three years.

“Young people are starting to get rid of their roommates and move out of their parent’s basements,” said Peggy Alford, president of, predicting the vacancy rate will hover at a mere 5 percent by 2012. With fewer units on the market, prices will explode. Get the full story »

‘Apprentice’ Rancic sells Hinsdale home for $4.6M

Bill and Giuliana Rancic in their Hinsdale home. (Photo for the Tribune by Nathan Kirkman)

Elite Street | By Bob Goldsborough | Reality TV star Bill Rancic, the Chicago entrepreneur, motivational speaker and real-estate developer who won the first season of Donald Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice,” has sold his five-bedroom, 12,000-square-foot mansion in Hinsdale in a private transaction for $4.6 million.

The sale easily is the most expensive one this year in Hinsdale. Get the full story »

Citadel’s Ken Griffin buys $17M home in Hawaii

Ken Griffin, the chief executive of Citadel in Chicago, has bought an oceanfront home at the Four Seasons’ Hualalai resort in Hawaii for just under $17 million. Get the full story »

30-year mortgage rates nudge up

Mortgage rates were mostly unchanged in the latest week, with the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages edging slightly upward, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage rates.

Rates had risen earlier this year, hitting their highest level since April last month. They had slumped most of last year as Treasurys had declined amid economic uncertainty. The rates generally track the yields, which move inversely to Treasury prices. Get the full story »

Bobby Jenks selling Hinsdale house for $899K

ELITE STREET | By Bob Goldsborough | Former Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Bobby Jenks, who now throws for the Boston Red Sox, has listed his four-bedroom, 3,203-square-foot house in Hinsdale for $899,000.

Jenks, who turns 30 on Monday, is the latest former Sox to list a home in Hinsdale. As Elite Street first reported last month, fellow former reliever Scott Linebrink is asking $825,000 for his 11-room house in Hinsdale. Get the full story »

High-end home sales rise in major markets

After four straight years of declines, sales of million-dollar homes and condos rose last year in all 20 major metro areas, according to DataQuick Information Systems. On average, these cities saw an 18.6 percent jump in high-end home sales. Get the full story »

Sportscaster Kashul sticks with Naperville

Elite Street | By Bob Goldsborough | In the end, veteran sportscaster Steve Kashul couldn’t bear to leave Naperville.

In 2009, Kashul, who does Chicago Bulls broadcasts on WMVP-AM and hosts a weekly golf show on Comcast SportsNet Chicago,  told Elite Street that while he loved Naperville — hometown of his wife, Cindy — he wanted to move closer to his full-time job as membership director for the private Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Kildeer. Get the full story »

Geithner: Mortgage costs to rise with reform

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday that future mortgage costs likely will be “modestly higher” after reforms are completed to the national housing finance system. Get the full story »

Home purchase prices fall 4.3% in 4Q

The purchase price of U.S. homes fell 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter froma year earlier, as values declined across the country, according to Freddie Mac.

Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist, said Monday that low mortgage rates and the fact that foreclosed-property and short sales remain a big part of the market, helped push “homebuyer affordability to levels not seen in decades in most places.” Get the full story »