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“Cautiously optimistic” might be the best description of the feelings of members of Midwest Real Estate Data’s Board of Managers for the upcoming year in real estate. Most think we may have “hit bottom” in the difficult last few years and that 2012 will be a year of improvement and the start towards better things to come.

Tom Guttilla, Owner of Coldwell Banker Today’s REALTORS®, sees the real estate market improving at a slow but steady pace. “Rates will stay at historic lows and sales volume is improving but is still at lower levels,” said Guttilla. “This, combined with the pent up demand from the last few years, should ensure future sales increases and improving values, but the latter only after inventories are diminished.” Guttilla recommends agents aggressively market their listings, using technology to best do so affordably. “After the last four years, 2012 will be like a breath of fresh air,” added Guttilla.

Jim Haisler, chief executive officer of the McHenry County Association of REALTORS®, sees the outlook for real estate in 2012 as still struggling but improving. “I think signs are showing improvement but the foreclosures will continue throughout the year, even at a slower pace, which will keep prices low,” said Haisler. “Interest rates may become a factor as the economy improves, however.” Haisler recommends that real estate professionals stay focused on their businesses and education, especially staying current on market trends and changes with lenders. “2012 will be a good year,” added Haisler, “but I think the longer term outlook is even better for the next three to five years.”

Anthony Trotto, Attorney and Managing Broker of Anthony J. Trotto Real Estate, believes there are opportunities despite continuing high levels of REO inventory.

“The rental market is strong,” said Trotto. “Now is the time for buyers to really look at picking up some rental investment properties.” Trotto recommends that real estate professionals educate themselves about the finance and mortgage industry and accept that we are not going back to the great years we experienced from 2001 – 2006. “For those who continue to operate under the premise the housing boom is coming back and home prices are going to sky-rocket again, this year will not be good at all,” added Trotto. “But for those who adapt and learn about where we came from so we don’t go there again, the year should at least be fulfilling.”

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