The recession may be over, but Illinois is still struggling to get back on track. Thanks to a weak state economy and a high cost of living, many Illinoisans are actually worse today than they were during the recession. As of January 2013, 15% of people in the Prairie State were living in poverty – compared to 12% during the recession.
But what about people who are holding their own, financially? Are they investing in the local housing market?
It seems that they are!
In December 2012, the number of home sales in Illinois jumped more than 15%, and the median sales price rose more than 5%. Overall, the number of home sales in 2012 was 22% higher than it was in 2011. Realtors around Illinois say those numbers are proof that the market here is in recovery mode. In fact, the word that the Illinois Association of Realtors is using is “resilience”, because of the strides that the state’s housing market took, especially towards the end of the year.
What about the state’s biggest city – Chicago? After all, Illinois can’t see true housing market recovery without big strides in the Windy City!
Luckily, the end of the year sales rush was especially-strong here. Realtors in Chicago say the number of home sales went up 14% in December. For 2012 as a whole, more than 90,000 homes were sold around the Windy City. That’s the highest number of sales since before the recession began!
But an increase in sales isn’t the only thing that Chicago realtors are bragging about. People here are also thrilled to see that selling prices have also taken a big step forward. In December, the median sales price went up a whopping 19%, to $151,500. Even though that price is still well below what it was before the recession hit, prices here have been on the rise for nine straight months, so things are certainly headed in the right direction.
Buyers are also snapping up homes in Chicago faster than they have in awhile. And, thanks to a decrease in demand, lots of sellers are getting multiple offers – so selling a home here has become a whirlwind process!
There’s also good news in Springfield, where the number of home sales was 9.4% higher in 2012 than it was in 2011. In fact, realtors in Springfield were just as busy last year as they were before the recession began!
Economically, Illinois may have a long way to go. Luckily, there is enough demand for housing in spite of those economic weaknesses that the market looks to have a strong 2013!
Living in Illinois
Do you want to live in a place that’s got plenty to do – from museums and amusement parks to the serenity of state parks and eagle-watching tours? Welcome to Illinois!
Known as the “Land of the Lincoln,” Illinois is also rich in history. It’s home to Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, while Ulysses S. Grant and Barack Obama were elected while living here.
If you decide to live here, count on experiencing humid summers and cold winters. The north part of the state gets at least 38 inches of snow. Winters in the southern tip are milder, though, with only about 14 inches of snow.
Here are the fast facts about Illinois:
- What is the population of Illinois?
- The population of Illinois is 12,875,255
- What is the capital of Illinois?
- The capital of Illinois is Springfield
- What is the largest city in Illinois?
- The largest city in Illinois is Chicago
Illinois is considered one of America’s leaders in manufacturing – with food, chemical, transportation equipment, machinery, fabricated metal, plastic, rubber, computer and electronic product manufacturing all done here. Corn production is very important to Illinois, as it is used to create 40 percent of the ethanol consumed in the country. Illinois is also a top refiner of petroleum. Long story short, there are plenty of career opportunities here!
Away from work, this state has so much to offer, especially if you enjoy museums and historical sites. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, located in Springfield, contains life-size dioramas of the White House, Ford’s Theater, as well as Lincoln’s childhood home.
The Historic National Road Scenic Byway encompasses the first highway in American history covering 164 miles, from the Wabash Valley, to the Mississippi River. The Great River Road follows the Mississippi River along the western side of Illinois for more than 550 miles.
If you like learning about architecture, the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise offers an excellent tour of more than 50 buildings along the Chicago River.
Illinois is also known for its motor racing tradition, from the Chicagoland Speedway and the Chicago Motor Speedway to the Gateway, the speedways offer fast-paced fun for everyone.
If you crave roller coasters and other thrills, the Six Flags Great America theme park is located in the Chicago metropolitan area.
Bottom line – there’s something for everyone here!