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Chicagoland Market Update

by Jason Porterfield

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Geoffrey Hewings, the director of the University of Illinois’ Regional Economics Applications laboratory, went looking for a condo last summer. He was told during his search that he would have to provide his latest pay stubs as proof of employment. Hewings replied that he had been employed at the university’s Urbana-Champaign campus for 40 years, and was bothered that lenders didn’t use more common sense in evaluating potential borrowers.

“It seemed they couldn’t make judgments, and they were just checking off boxes,” Hewings says. “We don’t need that sort of a system. I can understand the conservatism, but it borders on maniacal.”

Hewings sees tight credit as a problem in a housing market that has continued to show slow but healthy improvement throughout the fourth quarter of 2014. He anticipates a gradual return to more flexibility as other factors, including unemployment, home prices and interest rates, return to more normal levels.

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