The 2021 housing market has been a wild one so far with inventory dropping to record lows, prices steadily shifting higher and buyers competing against each other putting in multiple offers, often substantially above the asking price.

It is a story of supply definitely not meeting pent up homebuyer demand.

But this year’s frenetic market also points to a larger and more systemic issue: Illinois needs more affordable and accessible housing across the board.

Everyone deserves the chance for homeownership and Illinois REALTORS® have fought hard to push initiatives in Springfield this year that will further those goals.

REALTORS® have been out front in calling for statewide housing policy to create more affordable housing, a need that was only made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. REALTORS® proposed tax credits and other incentive approaches aimed at growing affordable housing and not stifling it with rent control as some opponents were advocating.

Several of the measures proposed by Illinois REALTORS® have been included in an affordable housing omnibus bill approved this spring.

Bill highlights include:

  • A measure that Illinois REALTORS® helped draft and support creates new property tax assessment policy that would reduce the assessed values on new or rehabbed affordable properties.
  • Illinois REALTORS® also backed legislation creating a state income tax credit similar to the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). The state version could create upwards of 3,500 new homes or apartments each year in Illinois.
  • The bill extends the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit through 2026 and provides a one-time grant to help finance affordable housing developments.
  • Provides for an income-based property tax assessment policy for LIHTC projects in Cook County rather than the traditional market-comp approach.
  • Increases the bonding authority for the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA).

The affordable housing legislation will make important strides towards increasing the supply of housing, but more must also be done to ensure equal opportunity. Illinois REALTORS® will continue to push for greater equality and fairness for all in the housing market.

There are still stark disparities in the homeownership rates of different racial groups, often the result of decades of discriminatory housing policies at the state, local and federal levels.

Illinois REALTORS® is also helping to address the issue of discrimination in housing appraisals, an illegal practice that hinders the ability of some populations to build long-term and generational homeownership wealth.

The association’s Discriminatory Appraisals Task Force is working to come up with solutions and sharing resources to help consumers report instances of discriminatory appraisals.

“We have long advocated for stronger measures to address the barriers to housing opportunity. We believe that government agencies, at all levels, must work with the real estate industry and community leaders to ensure the proper steps are taken to combat housing and racial discrimination,” said Illinois REALTORS® CEO Jeff Baker.

“We are committed to ensuring equal opportunity in housing throughout the state.”