Illinois REALTORS® can make their voices heard today

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The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. today for the Illinois Consolidated Primary, so keep up the time-honored Illinois REALTOR® tradition of participating in local elections.

Candidates who advance from the primary will be on the April 4 Consolidated Election ballot.

If you’re not sure about the polling places in your town, the Illinois State Board of Elections can provide contact information for your local election authority.

REALTORS® – Vote Tuesday in Illinois Consolidated Primary

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In municipalities throughout the state of Illinois Tuesday, registered voters will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite local candidates during the Consolidated Primary elections.

Polls will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m., according to the Illinois State Board of Elections’ (ISBE). Check to make sure you’re registered to vote.

If you need to contact local election authority to get polling place information, the ISBE offers assistance.

For information on many voting topics, visit the ISBE website.

Morning Minute: Springfield named to ‘Best State Capitals to Live In’

On the strength of a fourth-place ranking in affordability, Springfield received a 20th overall ranking in a comparison of state capitals conducted by the personal finance website, WalletHub.

The study analyzed information in 42 key areas, including: cost of living, number of attractions and K-12 school system quality. The net result was the ranking, the “2017 Best State Capitals to Live In.”

In other real estate news . . .

“Room with a View: How to Accent Your Listing’s Stellar Outdoor Views” — Styled Staged & Sold, REALTOR® Mag Blogs.

“Four Listings presentation questions you should always expect” — Inman

Morning Minute: Tips for getting a jump-start on your home search

Thinking about buying a home this spring? Then get a jump-start on the process by reading “The Early Bird Guide to Buying a Home,” from The article offers a variety of action steps you can take now to make your search easier later including: finding a buyer’s agent, getting your financial house in order and beginning to look at the homes available on the market. Read the full article for all of the tips.

In other headlines:

Area home sales jump 12.7 percent in January – State Journal-Register

When Buying, Selling and Renovating, it’s an Animal House, Say Realtors® – National Association of REALTORS®

Morning Minute: Fourth quarter brings home price gains

Despite historically low housing inventory, buyer demand remained strong in the fourth quarter of 2016 and helped propel home prices higher in Illinois and in many U.S. metro areas. What’s ahead for early 2017?

Expect home prices to experience continued positive growth in the first quarter of this year with home sales also increasing at a mild growth rate, according to a new first quarter forecast from the Regional Economics Application Laboratory at the University of Illinois. Download the forecast, which also breaks down expectations for the state’s 10 metropolitan statistical areas (or MSAs). You can find additional information about the Illinois housing market at Illinois REALTORS® MarketStats.

Nationally, the fourth quarter housing market was stronger in a majority of U.S. metro areas, the National Association of REALTORS® reported today. Home prices were back to previous peak levels in more than half of the markets NAR measures. Read NAR’s news release on the data and market trends.

“Buyer interest stayed elevated in most areas thanks to mortgage rates under 4 percent for most of the year and the creation of 1.7 million new jobs edging the job market closer to full employment. At the same time, the inability for supply to catch up with this demand drove prices higher and continued to put a tight affordability squeeze on those trying to reach the market,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in the release.

In other headlines:

Mortgage Rates in Holding Pattern – Freddie Mac

The Number One Design Style for 2017 Is … – NAR’s Styled, Staged & Sold