Tools can show your support for families that want to own homes

Visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website now for information you can share with local news media about families who beat the odds and purchased a home with help from a housing counseling agency.

The National Homeownership Month Toolkit provides talking points and key messages, HUD press contact information, stories and infographics about 12 families that attained homeownership.

Even though only a week remains in National Homeownership Month, the work to help these Americans “Dare to Own the Dream” continues year-round.


Illinois housing market makes gains in May with higher home sales and prices

Statewide home sales picked up in May and properties sold quickly even as median prices tracked higher than a year ago, according to Illinois REALTORS®.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in May 2017 totaled 17,077 homes sold, up 3.8 percent from 16,450 in May 2016.

The statewide median price in May was $209,000, up 8.3 percent from May 2016, when the median price was $193,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

“Buyers are running headlong into a tight market, with nearly 10,000 fewer homes on the market statewide than there were in May 2016,” said Illinois REALTORS® President Doug Carpenter, ABR, AHWD, GRI, SFR of Mokena, managing broker of Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group in Orland Hills. “Rising prices show sellers are being rewarded for listing in a market that in many areas has been marked by multiple offer situations.”

The time it took to sell a home in May averaged 52 days, down from 59 days a year ago. Available housing inventory totaled 56,535 homes for sale, a 14.9 percent decline from May 2016 when there were 66,424 homes on the market.

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.01 percent in May 2017, a decrease from 4.05 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. In May 2016 it averaged 3.60 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single-family and condominiums) in May 2017 totaled 12,491 homes sold, up 5.1 percent from May 2016 sales of 11,884 homes. The median price in May 2017 was $246,900 in the Chicago PMSA, an increase of 5.6 percent from $233,900 in May 2016.

“The market appears to be in a “wait and see” mode in both Illinois and Chicago” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.  “The state’s economy has stuttered and the fiscal cloud hanging over the state has seen enhanced net out-migration that has contributed to a dampening of demand.”

According to the data, fifty-four (54) Illinois counties reported sales gains for May 2017 over previous-year numbers, including LaSalle County, up 23.8 percent with 125 units sold; Kendall County, up 13.6 percent with 318 units sold; Will County, up 8.8 percent with 1,131 units sold; and Sangamon County, up 3.3 percent with 311 units sold.  Fifty-three (53) counties showed year-over-year median price increases including DuPage County, up 8.9 percent to $280,000; Tazewell County, up 8.0 percent to $135,000; and Cook County, up 5.3 percent to $258,000.

The city of Chicago saw a 0.2 percent year-over-year home sales decline in May 2017 with 2,973 sales, down from 2,980 in May 2016. The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in May 2017 was $306,750, up 5.5 percent compared to May 2016 when it was $290,750.
“We’re in an interesting, sophisticated market at present, wherein inventory is restricting what’s available for those who are looking to buy,” said Matt Silver, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and partner at Urban Real Estate. “Sellers are having to price their properties appropriately, as educated buyers are prepared to be flexible on their wants and needs in a new home or wait for the perfect home to come on the market and pay accordingly.”

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 June 7, 2017 for the period May 1 through May 31, 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

Watch for Illinois REALTORS® May housing report Wednesday

Geoffrey J.D. Hewings

Wednesday morning, Illinois REALTORS® will release its May 2017 housing report, with data breakdowns for the state of Illinois, city of Chicago and the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA). Also included will be a housing market forecast by Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

Members of the statewide association can access member-only market statistics by using their passwords.

How far can REALTORS® go with criminal background checks?

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Tyler Craddock of the National Association of Residential Property Managers warned REALTOR® attendees at last week’s NAR Property Management Forum that if their leasing policies disallow tenants who have committed a felony, it could have a “disparate impact” on a certain group of people — which is a violation of fair housing law. Unfortunately, he said, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines on this issue are vague.

Property managers cannot consider arrest records when considering tenant applications, according to HUD, and only convictions related to threats to property or other tenants are relevant. “You have to look at the nature of the crime, the severity, the age of the [prospective tenant] at the time of the crime, and how much time has passed since conviction,” NAR’s Megan Booth said. She suggested property managers consider only the last seven years of a prospective tenant’s criminal history.

Look at work history and check credit on prospective tenants before conducting a criminal background check, said Booth. If the credit history and work history do not meet the owner/property management company’s standards, then a criminal background check may not need to be done.

When denying prospective tenants based on their criminal background, said Booth, property managers should be honest about that and give tenants an opportunity to explain their situation.