Downstate Illinois conservative activist Chris Grissom says the state’s plummeting housing market is caught in a vicious cycle.
“I think high property taxes have a lot to do with it and that’s led to much greater outmigration, which further depresses the market,” Grissom told the Carbondale Reporter. “There are not a lot of people moving in and there are a lot of homes for sale – not a good combination.”
The end result has been a market that saw home-price appreciation in Illinois drop to the slowest levels in the U.S. between the third quarter of 2018 and the third quarter of 2019, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. While annual home appreciation dipped across the country to a five-year low of 4.9 percent, that was still well over two times better than the recent rate in Illinois, where rates nosedived to just 1.9 percent during that period.
Illinois’ poorest-in-the-nation showing was particularly eye-catching when compared to neighboring states, where five of six Midwestern neighbors posted home-appreciation rates at or above the national average. Slow appreciation rates are known to impact the bottom-line cost of homeownership, including such areas as mortgage payments, property and income taxes and maintenance after accounting for appreciation.
Grissom says the state’s growing reputation as a tax-heavy, tax-and-spend haven only perpetuates the problem.
“And the progressive tax that Gov. Pritzker now wants to add to the mix won’t help,” Grissom said. “Instead, it will only accelerate outmigration and it’s going to hit small businesses and real job-creators really hard. We need to go back to growing the economy and cut the tax rates from being so burdensome.”
Government data also shows that the housing market in Chicago over the last year ranked near the bottom among other U.S. metro areas. According to Illinois Policy Institute, over the past four quarters the Chicago-Naperville-Evanston metropolitan area saw house-price appreciation of just 1.6 percent, ranking 95th out of the United States' 100 most-populous metro areas.
“It’s like we’re on a train headed down the wrong pathway and no one is at the controls,” Grissom said. “I don’t know if we can turn things around anytime soon because we don’t see any coordinated effort to do that.”