Illinois home sales increased 13.6 percent over previous-year levels in March and median prices increased 3.6 percent, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in March 2013 totaled 10,992 homes sold, up from 9,679 in March 2012. Statewide sales have posted monthly year-over-year gains since July 2011.
“We are entering what is traditionally the busiest period of the year in the real estate market,” said Michael D. Oldenettel, CRS, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and Managing Broker/Owner with RE/MAX Results Plus in Jacksonville, Ill. “The decreasing time it takes to sell a home, coupled with shrinking inventories shows there is keen interest on the part of homebuyers who are rushing to lock in favorable interest rates and take advantage of low, but increasing prices.”
Today a panel of four industry professionals will discuss the housing economy and environment within their core competency as part of the Illinois Housing Leaders Conference presented by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.
Grigory Pekarsky – Managing Broker/Partner, Vesta Preferred Realty, Chicago
Grigory specializes in property leasing and sales in the urban core. Transactions for young professionals and first-time buyers are common in Pekarsky’s day-to-day business. He understands the value of transit oriented developments and the benefits of live near work principals and how they meet the demands of today’s clients. Vesta is a residential real estate firm that has a niche rental focus in downtown Chicago. Grigory was honored in 2012 by the National Association of REALTORS® as one of the national “30 under 30” rising stars in real estate.
Cedrick Hunter – Managing Broker, Hunters Realty, Oak Park
With a business focus in the inner ring suburb of Oak Park in Cook County, Hunter is nationally known for his work with real estate auctions and disposition of distressed properties. Understanding both the challenged property and purchaser, Hunter has a firm grasp on utilization of programs such as Illinois Building Blocks and Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).
Rob Schaid – Managing Broker, RE/MAX Plaza, McHenry
He began is career in 1997 as an agent at RE/MAX Plaza, a company he later bought and has expanded to three offices. He’s a past president of the Heartland REALTOR® Organization, and was the association’s REALTOR® of the Year in 2009. He’s a trainer and mentor working with the Tom Ferry organization, Richard Robbins International and Buffini and Company.
Bob Huber – Broker/Owner, Coldwell Banker Today, Peru
Huber understands the real estate of the Illinois small town and rural community. Whether second home properties by one of the beautiful state parks or low-income housing, Huber understands the uniqueness of the small town and how programs like the USDA Rural Lending program are instrumental in keeping liquidity flowing to those areas.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Attorney General Lisa Madigan are also scheduled to address the Illinois REALTOR® audience. A second panel of representatives from the Illinois Housing Development Authority, Federal Home Loan Bank, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and Illinois Attorney General’s Office will discuss housing regulatory issues and opportunities. The conference kicks off the association’s annual lobby day, the IAR Capitol Conference, on Tuesday, April 16.
This week the new Federal Political Coordinators for the Illinois Association of REALTORS®, along with other policy and political leadership, attended the National Association of REALTORS®’ (NAR) Annual REALTOR® Party Policy & Advocacy Conference and Training in Washington, D.C. They were met with detailed agendas and presentations on everything from the current political climate and predictions of what will become priority issues in the 113th Congress, to detailed discussions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the future of conventional housing finance.
The Federal Political Coordinators (FPCs) who attended will work with the newly-elected members of Congress on issues that are priority for both NAR and the IAR. Illinois REALTOR® members, Bob Dohn, Cedrick Hunter, Tracey Taylor, Jeff Gregory and Matt Silver spent the first day learning what the key role of the FPC is and NAR expectations. They represent Congresspersons Tammy Duckworth, Danny Davis, Bobby Rush, Bill Foster and Brad Schneider respectively. They will play a key role in educating the members of Congress on the implications and impacts of legislation on real estate and property owners of all types.
The IAR and NAR housing and finance policy team had the opportunity to meet with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan this week in Washington, including NAR staff Lora McCray; Illinois REALTORS® Mabel Guzman and Kay Wirth, leaders of the NAR Conventional Finance committee; IAR Housing Policy Advisor Sharon Gorrell and NAR's Charlie Dawson.
Wednesday’s agenda was packed with several experts in housing finance including academics, economists, Congressional staff and analysts who shared their thoughts and points to consider as the country moves forward and the real estate markets continue to slowly heal. Comments were made regarding the future of the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), servicer issues related to short sales and foreclosure, HUD condominium problems, the Qualified Mortgage (QM) and Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rules in addition to capital markets and liquidity that affects both commercial and residential real estate.
These meetings helped prepare the FPCs, Political Action Committee Trustees, Policy Committee leaders and other attendees for the new legislative cycle and what resources are available from NAR. REALTOR® Party programs were explained and key NAR staff were on hand to present and answer questions on what the program includes.
Also present in D.C. were IAR members who serve in a variety of leadership capacities in NAR policy and advocacy including; John C. Kmiecik, Mike Drews, Chris Tenggren, Mike Onorato, Steve Volkadov, Mabel Guzman, Kay Wirth, Ed Neaves, Jean Crosby and IAR President Michael D. Oldenettel and IAR CEO Gary Clayton.
Economic development is a team effort and the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® (PAAR) is teaming up with the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois (EDC) to promote job creation and economic growth.
The Peoria Area Association is the sponsor of the EDC’s latest guidebook, “Open! How to make and keep jobs in your community.” The publication is a step-by-step economic development guidebook created by professionals with a proven track record for keeping jobs. It will be made available to community leaders throughout Central Illinois.
Representatives of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® were on hand Friday in Berwyn as Gov. Pat Quinn announced a pilot program targeting vacant and foreclosed properties in six Cook County communities.
Called the Illinois Building Blocks Pilot Program, the effort provides $40 million in Illinois Jobs Now capital funding and an additional $10 million in aid from Cook County. The money will be used to help acquire and rehabilitate property in Berwyn, Maywood, Park Forest, Riverdale, Chicago Heights and South Holland.
REALTORS® Anthony La Monica, Robert Eby and IAR President, Loretta Alonzo in Berwyn for the press conference with Gov. Pat Quinn to announce the new Building Blocks program.
Quinn also announced an effort to provide grants and other assistance for those buying vacant properties and rehabilitating them to residential use. A third part of the plan would help existing homeowners stay out of foreclosure.
On Wednesday, Quinn announced in his State of the State speech to the Illinois General Assembly that he wanted to focus on housing issues. Shortly after the speech, his office provided details on a hotline that was being set up to assist homeowners facing foreclosure.
The Illinois Association of REALTORS® leadership and lobbyists have been in conversations with Quinn’s office since last summer about strategies to deal with the problem of foreclosures and vacant and distressed property. On hand for the announcement Friday was Loretta Alonzo, CRB, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® and Broker-Owner of Century 21 Alonzo & Associates in La Grange Park.
Quinn plans to hold a housing conference to examine strategies for addressing the state’s foreclosure problem March 26 in Springfield in conjunction with the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.
“Anything the state can do to help keep families in homes and keep vacant and distressed property on the tax rolls is a positive step forward, Alonzo said. “We look forward to continuing our dialogue with Gov. Quinn on how to address the state’s foreclosure problem next month at the housing conference in Springfield.”
Foreclosures are a challenge for Illinois, where there are more than 110,000 cases. Many of those court actions are backlogged in the legal system, and that’s having a dampening effect on median home prices, said Dr. Geoffrey Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois, in a report late last month for the Illinois Association of REALTORS®.