Where to Buy Now (Cover Story) – Good news for homebuyers: the time to snag a great deal is now. After seven years of falling home prices, most economists say the Chicago market has finally hit bottom. But not all great deals are great buys. If you want a property that will increase in value, you need to be sure to buy a home that has strong fundamentals and not just the biggest markdown. Chicago magazine’s real estate expert, Dennis Rodkin, pored through Chicagoland housing data and property listings to compile this authoritative, highly practical guide to the 21 best-value neighborhoods and suburbs for buyers in every stage of life—whether you are a first-time buyer, move-up buyer, downsizer, or pied-à-terre seeker. Plus: The latest home price data for 273 local communities that both buyers and sellers can use, and how the Chicago market compares nationally.
The Yes Men – When Richard M. Daley left office, several aldermen proclaimed it would be the beginning of a new era—no more unanimous budget votes or disastrous parking meter deals. Rahm Emanuel even said he too wanted a strong City Council that wouldn’t just bend to his agenda. But nearly two years after Mayor Emanuel came into office, aldermen are still rubber-stamping everything he wants. Why can’t they say no? And why should this trouble Chicagoans?
Green Awards – Chicago’s seventh annual environmental honors spotlight a venture capitalist who is investing in clean energy technology, a zero-waste hard cider maker, an eco-minded architect, an urban farmer on the South Side, and a biologist who is putting Loyola University Chicago on the national map for turning used cooking oil into vehicle fuel.
Highest Sales of 2012 – Elsewhere in real estate news: While Chicago’s median home prices are bottoming out, big-ticket prices are soaring. Chicagoland’s most expensive homes reached new heights last year. We recap the 10 biggest sales.
Must-See Dance Performances – Spring is dance season in Chicago, with more than a dozen local companies premiering new performances. We select the four shows most worth seeing.