Bloomington named best market for first-time home buyers

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — The City of Bloomington gained national attention on Thursday, April 8, after Realtor.com named Bloomington the best market for first-time homebuyers.

Low-interest rates, affordable housing, job availability and the share of 25-34 year old’s are the main components that make Bloomington the top place to look for homes.

Realtor and custom home builder B.J. Armstrong said expansions at the Rivian plant in Normal and expansion at Ferrero in Bloomington are driving up the demand in the twin cities’ real estate market.

He said with more new hires moving into the area, he’s now seeing an influx of customers looking to buy a new home.

“We can go develop new lots, we can go build new apartment buildings, we can do spec homes, homes built on the speculation that somebody will buy it. We weren’t willing to do [that] in the last couple of years because it was just a losing money proposition,” Armstrong said.

The recognition from the home selling site is another success for the City of Bloomington, amid new businesses opening and retail expansion all amid a pandemic. Bloomington city manager Tim Gleason said the city’s successes are being realized on a national scale.

“I’m not going to suggest there hasn’t been a negative financial impact to the community because there has, but we have done better than many downstate communities,” Gleason said.

The McLean County Chamber of Commerce CEO/President Charlie Moore said businesses big and small, in all communities, benefit from more people buying and selling homes.

“When you have new people buying homes, new residents moving into the community, those people are using businesses which are then paying taxes; whether it’s sales tax, retail tax, that goes back into the communities,” Moore said.

Armstrong said he’s feeling the affects of real estate boom in the area.

“I got into business in 1993 and business was really, really good right, really good, but never like this,” Armstrong said. “We’re getting this one month of inventory in some of these price points, it’s ridiculous. We’re getting 10 offers on properties at one time.”

Armstrong also said with the additional 1,800 jobs, new constructions should also pick back up in the area for the first time in nearly a decade.

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