REALTORS® urge voters to re-elect Werner as Worth village president

Illinois REALTORS® mailed postcards to registered Worth voters asking them to re-elect Village President Mary Werner on April 4.

The postcards are part of an independent expenditure campaign by Illinois REALTORS®. Independent expenditure activities take place in support of a candidate for public office without any coordination with the candidate or the candidate’s campaign.

The postcards say Werner has saved the village money, has overseen three consecutive annual budget surpluses since her election and is on track for a fourth surplus year. Please support her if you are a resident of Worth.

Illinois REALTORS® gets funding approval for Bicentennial Plaza

 

The Bicentennial Plaza would be located on the north side of the Illinois REALTORS® headquarters in Springfield. (Rendering by Massie Massie & Associates.

Springfield aldermen unanimously approved a measure Tuesday which provides $1 million in funding for a plaza to be built on property owned by Illinois REALTORS®.

The REALTORS® Bicentennial Plaza would be built on the north side of the association’s headquarters at 522 S. Fifth St., and could play a key role in efforts to redevelop a corridor extending from the Abraham Lincoln Home National Historic Site to the state Capitol.

The Springfield City Council vote allows use of funds from a tax increment financing district in the downtown area. The plaza, once built, would commemorate the state’s 200th birthday in 2018.

The plaza’s approval comes as the city determines next steps for a large lot nearby lot which once was home to a vacant, three-story YWCA building. That structure was torn down last month, and now city leaders are debating what to do with the large, undeveloped property located across from the Executive Mansion and Illinois REALTORS® headquarters.

Illinois REALTORS® sees the Bicentennial Plaza as a way to enhance the downtown area. The space could be used for performances or even street fairs once completed.

“We are grateful that Illinois REALTORS® can join with the city of Springfield in celebrating the role the city has played in the state’s rich history,” said Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter. “We look forward ultimately to having a space that can serve as a community focal point, and which will enhance the historic downtown area well beyond the birthday celebration.”

The plaza would be constructed at an overall cost of $2.6 million, and would require an old bank branch owned by the association to be razed to make way for the public space.

Illinois REALTORS® has launched plans for its more than 44,000 members to celebrate the state’s 200th birthday by having local REALTOR® associations adopt historic properties throughout Illinois. The association’s theme for the commemoration is: “REALTORS® Working with Heart in Every Community.”

“Our members are at work throughout the state to make communities great places to call home,” said Dixon REALTOR® and Illinois REALTORS® Bicentennial Task Force Chair Vicky Turner. “REALTORS® truly are working with heart in these communities. The Bicentennial Plaza and plans to have members pitch in at historic sites reflect our deep commitment to the state’s heritage.”

Former Illinois REALTORS® President Jim Kinney serves on the state’s Bicentennial Commission. The association plans to work closely with the state on commemoration of Illinois’ statehood.

Illinois home prices increase in February; sales lower amid tight inventory

Median home prices in Illinois rose 6.3 percent in February over previous-year levels while statewide home sales decreased 2.8 percent for the same period, according to Illinois REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in February 2017 totaled 8,461 homes sold, down 2.8 percent from 8,704 in February 2016.

The statewide median price in February was $170,000, up 6.3 percent from February 2016, when the median price was $160,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“Inventories plummeted in February, no doubt frustrating some potential buyers but creating opportunities for the sellers who did have properties on the market,” said Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter, ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR of Mokena, managing broker of Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell in Orland Hills. “As we move into the spring, more properties should come on the market, but it will take some time for supply and demand to find equilibrium.”

The time it took to sell a home in February averaged 74 days, down from 81 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 51,227 homes for sale, a 14.9 percent decline from February 2016 when there were 60,168 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.17 percent in February 2017, an increase from 4.15 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In February 2016 it averaged 3.66 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in February 2017 totaled 5,891 homes sold, down 5.2 percent from February 2016 sales of 6,214 homes. The median price in February 2017 was $210,000 in the Chicago PMSA, an increase of 12.0 percent from $187,500 in February 2016.

“Prices continue to move in a positive direction,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “While consumer confidence reflects optimism about the economy, the housing inventory continues to shrink suggesting that while more optimistic, many homeowners are not yet tempted enough to consider moving to a larger or more expensive home.”

According to the data, forty-six (46) Illinois counties reported sales gains for February 2017 over previous-year numbers, including Rock Island County, up 74.3 percent with 122 units sold; Peoria County, up 13.0 percent with 148 units sold; and Kane County, up 0.3 percent with 385 units sold. Fifty (50) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Lake County, up 28.0 percent to $215,000; Cook County, up 10.5 percent to $210,000; and McLean County, up 6.0 percent to $158,000.

The city of Chicago saw a 4.0 percent year-over-year home sales decrease in February 2017 with 1,505 sales, down from 1,567 in February 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in February 2017 was $246,000, up 4.2 percent compared to February 2016 when it was $236,000.

“We’re in an active home sales environment,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “We are seeing listings offered in advance of the spring market, with condos, in particular, benefiting from increased consumer confidence. The recent announcement of a rate hike, plus the hot stock market and higher wages, heralds an increase in home prices and a rapid decline in market time in the months to come.”

Sales and price information are generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 28 participating Illinois REALTOR® local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of March 13, 2017 for the period Feb. 1 through Feb. 28, 2017. The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

(Note: Due to technical difficulties the housing reports were compiled on March 13 instead of March 7).

Illinois REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association whose more than 44,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, Illinois REALTORS® works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation to safeguard and advance the interest of real property ownership.

Find Illinois housing stats, data and the University of Illinois REAL forecast at www.illinoisrealtors.org/marketstats.

Third Pro Standards Video gives 3 reasons why mediation tops arbitration

In many instances, mediation helps preserve the unique dynamic of cooperation between REALTORS® who are also in competition with each other, says REALTOR®/Trainer Diane Disbrow, GRI, CRS, ABR.

In “Professional Standards Toolkit 3 – The advantages of mediation,” Disbrow says mediations are better than arbitration because they promote communication between real estate agents and help both parties work better together in the future. Sometimes, the discussions reveal surprises that make resolutions come about more easily – such as buyer disloyalty.

Compared to arbitration hearings, mediations are:

  • Quicker,
  • Less formal and
  • Help restore the relationship between REALTORS®.

See all three videos in the Professional Standards Toolkit series.