Happy Earth Day! Tips for making your home more green

Earth Day is the perfect time to take a look around your home and see if there are steps you can take, both big and small, to make it more eco-friendly. The National Association of REALTORS® HouseLogic consumer website has tips, tools and inspirations to make your home more “green”


Illinois home prices rise in March, inventory remains tight but improved

Illinois home sales decreased 11.6 percent over previous-year levels in March while median prices increased 9.7 percent, according to the March housing report released today by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. Some insights into the latest market statistics:

“Low housing inventories and a decrease in the number of days to sell a home in Illinois are signals that consumers are feeling much better about the economy. While the number of homes on the market increased from February levels, it’s already clear the spring market will still be characterized by fewer choices and moderately higher prices.” – Phil Chiles, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and Broker-Associate with The Real Estate Group in Springfield.

“Although the annual sales rates have declined, the month to month changes continue to be strongly positive. In addition, positive housing price gains, continuing declines in the foreclosure inventory levels and the increasing share of sales of homes priced above $200,000 suggest a housing market that is responding positively to signals from the economy.” -  Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory of the University of Illinois.

“Relative to the number of homes available for sale in the marketplace, Chicago is still selling more homes than it did this time last year. Most of the transactions which closed in March are homes that went under contract in January and February, despite the inclement winter which definitely impacted an already anticipated slower winter market. Buyer demand continues to outpace available inventory; Sellers looking to make a move should be jumping off the fence now while buyers are still able to capitalize on attractive interest rates.” - Matt Farrell, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and managing partner of Urban Real Estate.

Morning Minute: In time for spring housing market, mortgage rates at six week low

The spring home buying season is here and buyers heading out to look for a home will have the added incentive of affordable, low mortgage interest rates. Freddie Mac reported that rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage averaged 4.27 percent last week, marking a six week low. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.33 percent. Read more.

In other headlines:

Rules of engagement in home appraisals – Chicago Tribune

Report: A Third of Home Owners in Foreclosure Have Equity – Daily Real Estate News

New-Home Construction Ramps Up in Midwest, Northeast - Daily Real Estate News

Morning Minute: Illinois REALTORS® make progress on Murphysboro Habitat build

Murphysboro’s strong Habitat for Humanity organization is one of the reasons the southern Illinois community was chosen to be the site of one of three IAR Habitat builds in Illinois this year, IAR President Phil Chiles told the local newspaper, the Murphysboro American. Read the full article and find out how you can help.

“As realtors we are all about home ownership,” said Chiles, “there is no better way to show people how much we care than to build homes.”

REALTOR® Jan Mandis, president of the Egyptian Board of REALTORS®, was also interviewed and said this is her first time helping with a Habitat build and the hands-on construction experience has given her a new perspective.

“It’s wonderful that they do this,” Mandis said, “It’s just good people doing good things.”

In other headlines:

It’s a buyer’s market for Midwest vacation homes – Chicago Tribune

Numbers backing up Realtors, homebuyers who claim market is finally on rebound – News-Gazette

Buyers in survey crave dining rooms, tubs – Chicago Tribune