Single-family home prices have fallen more than 25 percent this year from 2008. Now many Chicago artists are looking to take advantage of buying incentives for first-time home buyers due to the weakened economy.

Negative trends in Chicago’s housing market began to slow in May, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors. Median housing prices are expected to increase by more than 3 percent to more than $205,000 by July from roughly $197,000 in May, according to research by the association.

“There has been evidence of a modest recovery in both housing prices and sales fueled by consumers’ sentiments that the economy may have bottomed out, as well as historically low mortgage interest rates,” said Geoffrey Hewings, director of the University of Illinois’ Regional Economics Applications Laboratory, concerning housing trends over the summer.

Still, median home prices remain at historic lows, attracting some who might previously have thought homeownership out of the question. Many first-time buyers, however, are unsure about how to take advantage of these deals, especially when a family makes less than the state’s median household income.

Ken Carl is a freelance photographer explained that devaluation of properties in Chicago is a major concern for artists looking to buy homes.

“The general cost of living continues to be affected by the economy, but what I’m noticing is that people are really hesitant to purchase,” he said. “People appreciate the arts but are not able to purchase at this time.

Margaret Guzek, senior director with real estate company GVA Chicago, explained that the housing crisis does not only affect those with a lower income.

“It’s just a tough time for everybody,” Guzek said. “Even people with a lot of money are suffering.”

The constant across all income levels is credit. Good credit is a necessity for those looking to buy a home, experts note. With mortgage rates currently around 5 percent, Guzek said this is a welcome change from the mortgage rate of 6 percent last year when banks saw “everything as too risky,” and “could not appraise.”

Ileana Ionescu