Peoria Small Business Development and Real Estate

1/30/2020 8:17 AM

By Joseph Martin

Editor: John Perry

Choosing a place to live can be difficult, and with good reason. While our phones, tablets, and laptops allow for an endless supply of useful facts and specs, they have also made it easier than ever to get bad information. One wrong click and buyers may be scared away from a home and city they would love – or, just asbad, be convinced to invest in an areawith no growth potential. In a time of unbridled access, it can be hard to make that vital distinction between nuanced journalism and a poorly researched piece from a content farm.

 Unsurprisingly, the Peoria area housing market is no stranger to this jumble of conflicting info. In just the last month, the city has been deemed“ugly”byoneoutletandaretirementhavenbyanother.And while the latter is a welcome and positive take on the city, both provide limited information about the Peoria market at best. Like most cities in America, Peoria’s housing market ebbs and flows depending on the local, state, and national economies, but it also has a distinctly Midwestern feature: it historically tends to be out of “sync” with the rest of thenation.That in mind, Peoria-area REALTORS® feel the public might be interested in some hard facts – ones based on real data from the Peoria Area REALTORS® local multiple listing service (MLS).

 Let’s examine some of those statistics.

Between January 1st and August 31 of each year in Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties, there were the following number of repossessed homes and condos that sold or were under contract:

Out of 2,076properties for sale as of 9/20/19in the tri-county area,only70wereonthemarketduetoajobtransfer(corporate relocation). This equates to approximately 3.4 of the total number of homes for sale and is in line with the market, if not lowerthannormalyearoveryear.Outofthose70properties,29 had been on the Peoria market for over 300days. For potential buyers, this begs a couple obvious questions:

 Secrets are Lies

Q: Has the sale of real estate in Peoria been as robust as it was in 2005 or 2006?


A: No.


Still, that’s been the case in most parts of the country. While the national real estate market has certainly improved since 2008, its great achievement has been recovery and maintenance, not necessarily wild growth.


Q: Have the local business climate and/ or state economies impacted the Peoria Region’s real estate market?


A: Yes.


That said, the market’s fluctuations areconsistent with highs and lows tracked and recorded historically in most markets, including the number of properties sold, listed, foreclosures and property values. Or, put in layman’s terms: while the local job market has changed due to events like the relocation of Caterpillar’s HQ, or the state’s economic issues, that number has consistently dropped almost nearly month sinceAugust of 2017. In fact, our current market hasa lack of homes for sale in certain areas and price points. REALTORS® and Buyers report some areas of the regionare lacking in properties to select from. We could really use additional inventory in those areas. According to the US Census Bureau, there has been a modest amount of attrition in the area: the 2018 population for the tri-county area totaled 351,412, down from 2017 by 3,256.  But if thisseems like a bad sign, it is decidedly misleading. As of its June 2019 newsletter, the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council (GPEDC) has reported that the Peoria Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) led the state in job creation, with 4,000 jobs added over the past twelve months. Even more stunning, the region has seen 10,925 more people with jobs in the last 19 months.

 Open for business

For those keeping track, these are the Peoria area’s highest numbers in the past five years. According to GPEDC CEO Chris Setti, “Even though we don’t keep a list of companies opening in the Peoria region, it’s easy to see progress happening by driving around Peoria and the surrounding communities.” He points to recent gains in local medical jobs and more general urban development. “OSF is working hard on their newest investment in downtown Peoria,”Setti says. “And the Warehouse District is continuing to grow. Just look at the new businesses andapartments


But Peoria’s growth goes farbeyond just OSF and the Warehouse District. Peoria Heights, always the city’s chic heart of culture, seems to report new developments monthly. The groundbreaking for a 55-room boutique hotel called The Atrium began in May, while developer Katie Kimhas a new Samuel Avenue townhome project underway. After a short construction period, the Betty Jayne Brimmer Center for the Performing Arts has opened and is alreadyproviding a potent schedule of programming. The Peoria Journal Star recently announced Kim Blickenstaff’s new revival of the Al Fresco Park on the riverfront. (read article here)


Of course, the burstof development isn’t limited to the Heights. CharlieandHollieGreer,thenewowners of the former Associated Bank building (411 Hamilton Blvd.), envision building a rotating restaurant on its 20th floor. Andbeyond realestate, there has been a rich entrepreneurial vogue. The September issue of Peoria Magazine highlighted businessessuchasHeartlandFabrication LLCLuxBloxSimformotion, LLC; Jtec Industries Inc.; and the e-commerce company Bump Boxes. In addition, Normal, IL’s Rivian, an electric truck company, is gearing up to produce 100,000 vehicles for Amazon,whileGeneral Motors has tapped the company to help design its F10 150 hybrid truck.


Though the Peoria Region is a key part of Illinois, it can’t control the state’s image or   financial   decisions. At times, that can lead to confusion or misinformation, particularly for potential buyers from outside the state. But the area remains as vibrant as ever because we keep our focus local. We believe in ourcity,villages,andtownships,andpart of that is a constant drive to be business- friendly and encourage entrepreneurs. By allowing new and existing companies to grow and offer goods and services, we grow jobs, attract new people to thearea, and raisebudgets for our city and towns. Central Illinoisans care about the place they live and, as result, continue to invest in and improve it year after year.

small business open 

The American Dream is not only still

possible in the Peoria region

- it’s thriving.

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