Hopeful outlook for home construction in so. IL

By Julia Bruck - bioemail

MARION, IL (KFVS) -  Recent reports show the home construction and applications for building permits dropped last month, the same time the home buyer tax credit ended. This is raising concerns that a weaker housing market will hurt an economic rebound. So what does this mean for the Heartland?

Some builders and banks say while southern Illinois has been impacted by the economic decline, they are hopeful better day are ahead.

Charlie Sharp, Co-Owner of New Horizons Homes, shows off a model home. He says so far this year they have sold six homes.  Then the federal tax credits of up to $8,000 expired.

"The year started out extremely strong, that lasted right up when the tax credit seem to go away, then activity of people walking in the door just slow down considerably," Sharp said. "It has not begun to pick back up."

One of the places consumers can finance new home construction is at their local bank. Director of Marketing Mel Bower with Banterra Bank says they have started to see an increased in the number of people interested in construction loans.

"We're forecasting by the end of the summer there will be an increase in that area even thought we haven't seen that materialize yet," Bower said.

It is a possible indicator of more consumer confidence in the economy.Bower says when more high priced homes are bought, many in the area benefit.

"Individuals that are building their own home are usually at lot higher bracket, which means there's going to be more dollars funneling through the economy at various levels," Bower said.  "More people employed, as well as, more products and services being purchased."

Which has both Bower and Sharp hopeful, even without governmental home-buying incentives, building will pick up.

"One of the big things we're looking forward to is that destination development," Sharp said.

Another thing Sharp and other developers are banking on is the STAR Bonds Bill. If signed by Governor Quinn, the multi-million dollar entertainment development in Marion is expected to bring a lot of new development to the area.

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