The Illinois Association of REALTORS®’ offices in Springfield will be closed Friday, April 3, in observance of Good Friday. IAR offices will reopen at 8:30 a.m., Monday, April 6.
IAR board member Dan Wagner has been named as 2016 Committee liaison to the Commercial Group of the National Association of REALTORS®.
Wagner, president elect for the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, is senior vice president for government relations at the Inland Real Estate Group. In addition ot being an IAR board member, Wagner serves on the Business Issues/License Law Forum, the Commercial Industrial Investment Committee and is a Federal Political Coordinator. He’s vice chair for the RPAC trustees and serves on the Strategic Planning Committee.
Wagner is particularly engaged on issues that involve commercial real estate and has lobbied federal representatives about the 1031 Exchange rules which are under review by Congress. He recently represented Illinois REALTORS® at the MIPIM international trade show in Cannes, France.
Illinois REALTORS® joined their counterparts in several other states to lobby for private property rights on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., this week.
The visit was part of an effort by the REALTOR® Great Lakes Caucus, which encompasses Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Meetings were held with members of Illinois’ delegation, including U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Daniel Lipinski.
Among topics discussed: Keeping FHA financing affordable, expending rural lending opportunities and keeping the 1031 Exchange.
The fund all Illinois real estate licensees pay into for industry regulation has been targeted by state lawmakers seeking a short-term fix to the state’s budget crisis.
The Illinois House voted 69-48 on Tuesday to pass a broad measure that takes $1.3 billion from a multitude of special funds including the Real Estate License Administration Fund. The measure was part of a package that seeks to resolve an immediate $1.6 billion budget deficit for the current fiscal year.
The fund had about $35 million. Under HB318, about 87 percent of the money, or $30 million, would be used to help close the budget gap for the current fiscal year.
The measure passed in the House on Tuesday was substantially more severe than a Senate bill that came out of committee. The Senate bill called for $7 million to be taken out of the fund. That bill is still pending.
The money paid by licensees is the sole source for administration and regulation of real estate laws in the state.
“Taking these funds greatly minimizes the opportunity for industry regulation and more importantly, consumer protection,” said Gary L. Clayton, CEO of the Illinois Association of REALTORS®
Clayton said taking the real estate funds doesn’t solve a much deeper issue of addressing systemic budget shortfalls faced by the state. While IAR’s members understand the state’s budget dilemma, he said taking the funds is a one-time solution to a much larger problem.
The real estate fund is at the core of the Real Estate License Act which governs how property transactions are handled in Illinois.
“If the money is diverted for other uses, it leaves a very open question as to how this vital part of the state’s economy will be adequately policed for consumers,” Clayton said. “The fund has a very specific purpose, and that’s to make sure the real estate industry is operated in the most professional manner possible. That benefits everyone.”
The fund has grown to $35 million because the state has not appropriated the staffing to expand services and regulation, as was the intent of the Real Estate License Act, Clayton said.
IAR has long pushed state officials to use the fund to better regulate the industry.
Illinois home prices continued to strengthen as the statewide median price experienced a double-digit annual gain in February, marking 30 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. Read the news release and share a new IAR infographic. The statewide median price rose 13.1 percent annually to $149,900 while statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in February 2015 totaled 7,865 homes sold, down 1.7 percent from last February.