On Monday, the Illinois Association of REALTORS® released its data showing that Illinois home sales are down 21 percent in the third quarter from the same time last year. The city of Chicago median price was also down 4.5 percent in the third quarter compared to this time in 2007. So, what does this all mean?
Well, as C.A.R. President David Hanna put it, “The housing market is still unsettled. It is only natural at this time for all the participants to be looking to the new Administration to provide some direction for resolving the overriding economic issues we face.” The fact of the matter is, time and a significant boost from our federal government are really the only ways our marketplace, locally and nationally, will see the correction it needs.
The National Association of REALTORS ® has released its proposed Four-Point Housing Stimulus Plan, urging Congress to take specific measures to remedy the national housing crisis. Among the items it outlines are:
- Making the $7500 first-time homebuyer tax credit available to all buyers and eliminate the repayment requirements
- Making the 2008 FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits permanent as the 2009 rules will reduce them
- Getting the Treasury relief program back on track and targeting more funds for mortgage relief.
- Permanently bar banks from engaging in real estate brokerage and management.
In the interim, it is imperative that REALTORS® also continue to work with homebuyers on taking advantage of the many extraordinary buying opportunities in our market. The homebuyer tax credit incentive and affordable home prices have helped prompt many first-time homebuyers to jump into the market now, as interest rates are low and appealing to many.
The role of the REALTOR® has evolved into more than a catalyst helping a buyer or seller with their transaction; REALTORS® really bring both parties to the table, and work with other real estate professionals to help make it all possible, while understanding all the constraints of the current market. The dream of homeownership is still relevant to Americans today – it’s up to us continue to make it a reality for all.