IAR presented testimony on the state's housing market on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, before the Illinois House Committee on Economic Development & Housing. Testifying for IAR were (L to R) Policy Advisor Sharon Gorrell, President Jim Kinney and Director of Government Affairs Greg St. Aubin. They testified at the Stratton Building in Springfield, Ill.

IAR President Jim Kinney told members of the House Committee on Economic Development and Housing that Illinois’ housing market has dramatically improved since the recession.

But he warned Wednesday, May 20, 2015, that there are still many obstacles to making affordable housing readily available to those who want it.

“We have a rebounding housing market which has much promise,” Kinney told state representatives on the panel. “But to truly help Illinois residents achieve home ownership, we have to look at local, state and federal policies.”

Kinney, ABR, CRB, CRS, GRI, said the challenges for those seeking to buy a home exist at all levels.

  • Local home rule communities often layer on inspections, fees and other hurdles that can add to costs.
  • At the federal level, tight credit scoring and requirements for maintaining mortgage insurance can place a home out of a potential buyer’s price range, if they can get credit in the first place.

Citing research done by the Regional Economic Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois, Champaign, Kinney noted that in terms of median prices the state was about three-quarters of the way back to pre-recession levels.

The lowest median price recorded in recent history was $118,500 in February 2012, contrasting with March 2015 when the statewide median price is $165,000.

Kinney noted a study several years ago which showed the average home sale in Illinois has a direct impact of more than $28,000 to the state’s economy.

“The numbers show the promise — and the peril — of how public policy can have a broad impact not just on homeowners, but on the state as a whole,” Kinney said.

Kinney offered to testify at one of the committee’s future hearings on senior housing challenges. As IAR president, Kinney has formed a working group to review what can be done to meet the needs of this fast-growing demographic group.

“This dynamic will affect the state’s housing market and infrastructure for decades to come,” Kinney said. “As REALTORS® we take great pride in helping market a state we love. We are eager to work with policymakers at the local, state and federal level to make sure as many people as possible get the opportunity to live in Illinois.”

Also testifying with Kinney were IAR Director of Government Affairs Greg St. Aubin and Housing Policy Advisor Sharon Gorrell. The hearing was held in the Stratton Building in Springfield, Ill.