A Chicago brokerage, Lucid Realty, has launched a rebate program that involves clients paying an hourly rate in exchange for a commission rebate at closing. According to the Chicago Agent Magazine story:

“This 100 percent rebate plan solves two long standing problems in real estate,” said the firm’s Gary Lucido. “First, clients who require little assistance in buying a home are basically paying for clients who require more assistance. Second, real estate agents can spend a considerable amount of time engaged in low-value activities, earning very little on an hourly basis. Homebuyers who opt into this new plan will have an incentive to use their agent more effectively. It should be a win-win situation.”

Chicago-based Koenig & Stray announced several weeks ago it was charging retention fees for buyers.

Rental vacancies down, rents up

Apartment vacancies are plummeting to the lowest level in more than a decade. And as rental demand increases, so does the rent. Rates increased by half a percentage point in the last quarter. (Reuters via Chicago Tribune)

Is the foreclosure crisis over?

Reuters story looks at fact that pace of foreclosures will accelerate and what the impact will be on the economy. One expert says 2012 foreclosure rates could be worse than 2010.

RealtyTrac CEO Brandon Moore said the “numbers point to a gradually rising foreclosure tide as some of the barriers that have been holding back foreclosures are removed.”

The Reuters story is here:

In other news

Farmland prices and rents continue to rise. Prices can be $10,000 to $13,000 an acre. Bureau County Republican.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin pushes Project Rebuild Act. Seeks legislation to stabilize neighborhoods hit with vacancies and foreclosures. The Rock River Times.