Did you get out of bed today?

I know what you’re thinking. ‘Here we go again. It’s the Bear Market of 2008 back to punch us in the stomach and take our lunch money one more time. There goes the stock market. There goes the real estate market. There goes the global economy.’scary3

Certainly the events of early August have been unsettling, even maddening. The triple whammy of a slowing U.S. economy, the ongoing European debt crisis and Standard & Poor’s downgrade of U.S. credit has rattled an already fragile consumer confidence.

Lou Barnes, a mortgage banker from Boulder, Colo. said it best in an August 8 interview with The Wall Street Journal’s Developments blog: "Who wants to get out of bed today, let alone buy a house?"

Yet a lot of people right here in Chicagoland did get out of bed today and buy a house. Why is that? Is it because the same fundamentals that existed yesterday – record low mortgage rates and record high affordability – still exist today? Is it because local apartment rents are rising faster than Starlin Castro’s batting average? Or could it be that real estate (like our now AA+ rated US debt) is still considered a relatively safe long-term investment?

That’s a radical concept in 2011. But an investment that can also shelter you and your family, provide a large tax deduction, serve as a hedge against inflation, and allow you to put down roots in a top community or school district has to be given serious consideration – especially if it comes at a discount of more than 33% off its peak value… especially if it’s in the business, cultural, tourism and innovation hub of the Midwest… especially if you plan to live there for a while.

As it stands today, there are only 18 nations in the world rated AAA by Standard & Poor’s. Among them are Guernsey, Liechtenstein and Isle of Man. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather live in AA+ Chicago, Illinois, USA.scary1

What will the stock market do tomorrow? What will the housing market do tomorrow? If we knew that, we’d all be sipping fruity drinks on our own private island. But if the last century of American economic history is any indication, the long-term trend is up. I believe that, which is why I’m in the real estate business. And @properties believes that, which is why we’re continuing to invest in and expand our business even in tumultuous times.

As in 2008, we’re keeping a cool head, focusing on hyper-local market conditions and framing most conversations about housing, not around the headline of the moment, but around your individual wants and needs at your particular stage in life.

I’m here to help, so please contact me if you have any questions or are getting ready to buy or sell. And remember I always appreciate your referrals.