Urbana homebuilding permits nearly triple

Urbana homebuilding permits nearly triple

URBANA — So far this year, nearly three times as many one- and two-family building permits have been issued for Urbana as last year.

Urbana has had 33, Champaign 35, Savoy 27 and Mahomet 24, according to data compiled by Libby Horwitz, economic development coordinator for Urbana.

She pulled the permit numbers from listings in each Sunday's business section of The News-Gazette, which receives the listings from each of the cities.

At this point last year, Champaign had 98 one- and two-family new construction permits, Mahomet had 35, Savoy 34 and Urbana 12.

Urbana officials are crediting the increase to their Think Urbana tax incentives, which reduce property and sales taxes on new homes built in Urbana's enterprise zone.

"We're very happy with our Think Urbana program," said Mayor Diane Marlin. "These are tremendous statistics for Urbana."

Many of the new homes are being built in The Atkins Group's Stone Creek development, Horwitz said.

For homes built in the enterprise zone that went into effect in January 2016, owners receive a 100 percent discount on their property taxes from the increased value of their new home.

That drops to 80 percent off the increment in the second year, then 60 percent, then 40 percent, then 20 percent.

"And that travels with the property, not the owner," Horwitz said. "If somebody buys that (after the second year), they get the third, fourth and fifth year of that incentive."

On the sales tax end, home builders don't have to pay it on materials purchased in Illinois that will be permanently part of the property.

Urbana pulled these incentives together and markets them as Think Urbana. Horwitz has also been taking real-estate agents and brokers on tours.

"Over the last year, we've met with dozens and dozens of Realtors, brokers and developers to get the message out that Urbana is open to business," Marlin said.

Building permits for new one- and two-family homes, from Jan. 1 to June 17 for each year.

City 2015 2016 2017 2018
Urbana 9 6 12 33
Champaign 33 86 98 35
Savoy 28 36 34 27
Mahomet 46 44 35 24

Source: Data compiled by city of Urbana from listings in The News-Gazette

Home sales up slightly in May

On Thursday, the Champaign County Association of Realtors released its May housing report, showing sales ticked up 5.9 percent.

In May, 341 homes were sold in the county, up from 322 a year ago.

"The numbers are great," said Max McComb, CCAR's president. "It's still a great time for buyers to be out there. Rates have edged up a bit, but they're still near historical lows."

The median home sale price in May rose 5.9 percent compared to a year ago, from $149,200 to $158,000.

And pending home sales increased 6.3 percent, suggesting June's home sales report should also be good.

But the inventory for homes declined 11 percent from a year ago, from 948 to 843.

"It's still a great time for trade-up buyers," McComb said. "It's still a bit of a buyer's market in the upper ranges and a seller's market in the lower ranges. ... It's still in the mid- to entry-level ranges where we're a little tight on inventory."

Sections (3):News, Local, Business
Topics (2):Economy, Housing