Morning Minute: U.S. new home sales jump higher in April

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There was good news this week on the new home front — sales of new construction homes climbed 6.8 percent in April compared to March and are 26 percent higher than a year ago, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department. Articles by Forbes, “New Home Sales Rise 6.8% In April, Jumping 26% Year-Over-Year,” and Bloomberg, “Sales of New U.S. Homes Climbed More Than Forecast in April,” have the details.

In other headlines:

REALTORS’® Confident About the 6-Month Outlook Improved in April 2015 – National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Over 80% of New Rentals Are Luxury Projects – NAR Daily Real Estate News

Deadline Wednesday for honoring deceased veterans at Memorial Day Remembrance Wall in Springfield

Help your community honor loved ones or friends who served in the military and have passed away by sharing information about the Memorial Day Remembrance Wall in the Illinois State Capitol Rotunda.

The deadline for participation is Wednesday, May 20.

Any deceased veteran will be honored, regardless of their branch of service or when they served. To participate, send a photo and a written remembrance (maximum of 250 words), along with the following information:

  • Name;
  • Military branch (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard, Navy); and
  • Conflict served (Afghanistan, Iraq, Sept. 11, Gulf War, Korea, Vietnam, World War I, World War II, Peacetime).

Military photos are preferred but not required.

You can submit your tribute and photo via email to or you can address a stamped envelope to the Memorial Day Remembrance Wall, 309G State House, Springfield, IL 62706.

The Remembrance Wall will be on display from Monday, May 25 through Saturday, May 30.

Questions should be directed to 217-782-2181. The Illinois State Senate Republican Caucus is organizing the display.

Morning Minute: Mortgage lending heads higher in early 2015

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Mortgage originations in the first quarter of 2015 marked a 17 percent year-over-year gain compared to early 2014, according to a recent lending report from RealtyTrac.

Originations were down slightly — 6 percent — compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, but low interest rates and the prime spring homebuying season is expected to bring more buyers into the market, RealtyTrac officials said.

In other headlines:

NAR Unveils New Realtor® Safety Resources – National Association of REALTORS®

CoreLogic: Cash sales to return to normal level by mid-2018 – HousingWire

REALTOR® actions needed to reform communication law

Illinois REALTORS® can support needed updates to the state communications law by sending an email to their state legislators and sharing information with friends through Facebook.

As mentioned in this blog last week, IAR has joined a coalition named the Illinois Partnership for the New Economy and Jobs that seeks changes to Illinois’ communication law that would help make the state more competitive, better meet consumer demand and create jobs.  More than 240 organizations have joined the coalition that wants to bring laws into the 21st century.

“Our organization is supporting an update to the state’s expiring communications law in 2015,” says a representative of the Illinois Partnership. “Please help us update the law by sending a quick message today.  Visit These steps will make a big difference to update the Illinois communications law.”

The coalition lists five reasons Illinois needs to update the communication law now:

  1. Modern communications networks help schools, families, businesses, individuals and public safety responders.
  2. Surrounding states have already updated laws to promote investment in modern networks.
  3. Investment in modern communications networks creates jobs.
  4. Create Illinois jobs without taxpayer money.
  5. Delay puts Illinois further behind.