About Stephanie Sievers

Stephanie Sievers is Senior Editor for the Illinois REALTORS®.

Illinois REALTORS® advocacy provides recap of recent efforts and successes

(l to r) Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Julie Sullivan, Member Involvement Group Chair Ginger Sreenan, Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs Greg St. Aubin, and Jeff Baker and Jim Morphew with Sorling Northrup Attorneys

Despite the ongoing lack of a state budget or much political consensus, Illinois REALTORS® and their lobbying efforts can be counted on to fight for the perennial, core issues that are important to the industry and private property owners.

“We’ve still got our 50 or 60 key bills that we’re lobbying year in and year out,” said Illinois REALTORS® Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs Greg St. Aubin. “It would be nice if we could fix the big picture issues, but that’s not primarily what we do.”

During the Public Policy and Governmental Affairs Member Involvement Group meeting at this week’s Illinois REALTORS® Business Meetings, the association’s state and local lobbying teams recapped their recent legislative and advocacy efforts.

Some of the highlights included:

  • Successfully opposed Home Rule pushes in several Illinois communities
  • Worked with legislators to improve legislation to eliminate REALTOR® concerns
  • Lobbied against bills and measures that would be detrimental (such as fire sprinkler mandates, changing existing rent control measures and more).





Morning Minute: Mortgage rates hit 2017 low, Freddie Mac reports

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Mortgage interest rates fell below 4 percent this week and marked the lowest levels so far this year, Freddie Mac reported today.

A 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.95 percent while the 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 3.19 percent. Read more from Freddie Mac.

In other headlines:

Existing-Home Sales Slip 2.3 Percent in April; Days on Market Falls to Under a Month – National Association of REALTORS®

Opinion: 9 signs the housing market will only get hotter in 2017 – MarketWatch

Illinois home prices increase in April; Sales lower amid tight inventory

Homes sold faster and prices rose, but home sales slowed in April with seasonally low inventory levels, according to Illinois REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in April 2017 totaled 13,958 homes sold, down 3.4 percent from 14,453 in April 2016.

The statewide median price in April was $200,000, up 7.5 percent from April 2016, when the median price was $186,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“Sellers flooded the market in March, and as a result inventories were struggling to keep pace with demand in April,” said Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter, ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR of Mokena, managing broker of Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group in Orland Hills. “It’s clear from the relatively short average time to sell that buyers really do want to find a home. The problem is they are having to work much harder to find one that meets their criteria due to a shortage of options.”

The time it took to sell a home in April averaged 61 days, down from 68 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 54,666 homes for sale, a 15.3 percent decline from April 2016 when there were 64,554 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.05 percent in April 2017, a decrease from 4.20 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In April 2016 it averaged 3.60 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in April 2017 totaled 10,157 homes sold, down 2.3 percent from April 2016 sales of 10,397 homes. The median price in April 2017 was $242,000 in the Chicago PMSA, an increase of 5.2 percent from $230,000 in April 2016.

“While sales will continue the usual early summer upward growth, there are some sharp differences in the forecasts for median prices” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.  “The forecasts for median price indicate continued positive changes, but the REAL Housing Price Index (HPI), which compares specific housing characteristics, suggests declines and may also be reflecting the employment losses in the state over the past two months.”

According to the data, thirty-four (34) Illinois counties reported sales gains for April 2017 over previous-year numbers, including Madison County, up 11.0 percent with 353 units sold; Rock Island County, up 1.3 percent with 153 units sold; and Kane County, up 0.2 percent with 662 units sold. Fifty-four (54) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including Will County, up 12.2 percent to $218,700; Winnebago County, up 8.5 percent to $108,450; and Cook County, up 5.5 percent to $253,000.

The city of Chicago saw a 4.4 percent year-over-year home sales decline in April 2017 with 2,586 sales, down from 2,706 in April 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in April 2017 was $297,150, up 3.9 percent compared to April 2016 when it was $286,000.

“With the spring market underway, buyer demand has not abated in the least,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “Rather, increased competition for homes that are priced well and move-in ready will continue to drive prices upward. Both motivated sellers and buyers should be prepared for these conditions to continue in the coming months.”

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 May 7, 2017 for the period April 1 through April 30, 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.

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.

Morning Minute: Closing on a home? Check out Freddie Mac’s infographic on what to expect

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If this is your first time buying a home, Freddie Mac has created an infographic that outlines some of the general steps that consumers can expect to happen on closing day and tips to help them be prepared. Find more homeownership resources from Freddie Mac.

In other headlines:

Why Mortgage Rates Keep Owners From Selling – New York Times (via REALTOR® Magazine Daily Real Estate News)

8 Signs It’s Time to Walk (and Maybe Run) Away From a Home – Realtor.com

Morning Minute: NAR takes a closer look at U.S. building permit activity

Available housing inventory has tightened in recent years and new home construction will play a role in meeting that housing demand. Economists with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) took a closer look at building permits and compared activity levels in 2000, 2005 and 2015. Read the full analysis, “Building Permits and Inventory,” from NAR and see this interactive map NAR has created.

In other headlines:

Flood Insurance, Tax Reform Top Issues as Realtors® Head to Washington – National Association of REALTORS®

Citizenship applications soar, and that means more potential homeowners – HousingWire

U.S. housing starts fall to five-month low; building permits weak – Reuters