Welcome Home Illinois helps 2,800 first-time home buyers in first two months

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced today that 2,830 first-time home buyers in 85 counties have reserved more than $360 million in financing since the Welcome Home Illinois program was launched in April.

The program – administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) – set an IHDA record for public response to its mortgage financing.  Welcome Home Illinois offers $7,500 in down-payment assistance, with an interest rate as low as 3.75 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, to qualifying Illinois residents.

Quinn, who has proclaimed June as “Homeownership Month,” seeks to make homeownership more affordable to first-time buyers through the program, and thus spur economic growth in the state. He announced the project will create about 1,400 new jobs in Illinois.

Read more about the Welcome Home Illinois program, including details on eligibility requirements and a list of participating lenders.

Morning Minute: Illinois to use $30 million in federal funds to demolish blighted properties

The Chicago Tribune reports today that the Treasury Department has given Illinois the go-ahead to use $30 million in federal hardest-hit funds to tear down vacant and blighted properties. The idea is to target communities with high vacancy rates that were hit hard by the foreclosure crisis for the Blight Reduction Program, to be administered through the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the newspaper reports. Click here to read the full Tribune article.

In other headlines:

February Pending Home Sales Continue Slide – NAR

Regulators Seek to Raise Qualifications of Appraisers – REALTOR® Magazine

Illinois home sales and prices continue upward climb in August – IAR releases August 2013 home sales data

Illinois home sales increased 17.3 percent over previous-year levels in August and median prices increased 13.6 percent, the Illinois Association of REALTORS® reported today, closing out the summer selling season on a strong note. Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in August 2013 totaled 15,814 homes sold, up from 13,485 in August 2012. August marks one year of continuous annual sales and price gains.

“The spring and summer selling season was quite strong, and the data suggest continued momentum into the fall,” 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.  “A 13.6 percent median price gain in August for home prices in the state is an indicator of unflagging demand for homeownership.”

New lineup of IAR Let’s Talk Real Estate events scheduled for the fall

Lets talk real estate with members of congress

Mark your calendars for the next round of the Illinois Association of REALTORS®’ “Let’s Talk Real Estate with Members of Congress” events scheduled in October. Each two-hour program includes a breakfast or lunch, a presentation by the member of Congress, time for Q&A and networking.

Stay tuned for details on how you can RSVP for events with U.S. Reps. Cheri Bustos, Jan Schakowsky, Robin Kelly, Mike Quigley and Brad Schneider.

Rockford REALTORS® help revitalize downtown

Attendees on their way to their first stop of the tour.

The Rockford Area Association of REALTORS® presented “Raise the Roof,” a walking tour of five of Rockford’s most historic buildings with a rooftop party at each stop. The fundraiser attracted more than 375 attendees with proceeds helping to install a new roof at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent house.

Steve Bois, CEO of the Rockford Area Association said in a release that Rockford is pushing for more downtown living options. “Why is there so much action?” he asked, “Simply because there’s demand for it. Rockford-area residents want more downtown living options, but until now there’s been very little to choose from.”

Rockford Area Association Executive Steve Bois speaking at the event.

(Photos courtesy of the Rockford Register Star.)