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Lots of lots: Elgin housing growth at a steady trickle

An empty lot waiting for next home be built 577-acre HighlWoods Elgin.  September 18 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

An empty lot waiting for the next home to be built on the 577-acre Highland Woods in Elgin. September 18, 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

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Sales, and foreclosures, up

Sales of existing homes, and foreclosures, are both up this year for the area.

According to numbers compiled by RE/MAX, sales in August of attached and unattached homes across the seven-county Chicago metro area reached a total of 9,145 units, which was 26.5 percent higher than in August 2011 and the highest August total since 2007. In Kane County, which holds most of Elgin, the combined sales were up 25 percent from August 2011.

RE/MAX reported that foreclosures and short sales accounted for 37.5 percent of all sales, up from 36.4 percent a year ago and 36.1 percent in July of this year.

Illinois had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate in August, with one in every 298 housing units having a foreclosure filing, according to real estate information company RealtyTrac.

A total of 17,781 Illinois properties had a foreclosure filing in August — an increase of 42 percent from August 2011, according to RealtyTrac.

Illinois foreclosure activity was up across the board — foreclosure starts increased 18 percent annually, scheduled foreclosure auctions were up 116 percent annually, and bank repossessions were up 41 percent annually.

August marked the eighth consecutive month where Illinois foreclosure activity increased on a year-over-year basis.

RealtyTrac reported that in Elgin, one in 96 homes (367 properties) received a foreclosure filing in August. In total in August, there were 950 foreclosure homes in the 60123 ZIP code on Elgin’s west side and 1,127 foreclosure homes in the 60120 ZIP code on the east side.

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Updated: October 20, 2012 6:16AM

ELGIN — It could take as long as 10 years for Elgin to build out all housing development already platted.

And it could take another 40 years to complete housing now awaiting final plat approval.

Elgin Community Development Director Marc Mylott brought up the issue at a recent city council meeting. The matter surfaced during discussion about a proposed ordinance that would require sprinkler systems on future construction not yet annexed into Elgin.

Data supplied to The Courier-News by Mylott shows that almost all of this housing is west of Randall Road. The largest planned development yet to see a home built is Shodeen’s Pingree Creek, where 2,387 single-family houses, 342 townhomes, and 274 apartments on a 780-acre site southwest of Pingree Grove are awaiting final plat approval.

Also near Pingree Grove were three projects from now-defunct developers Pasquinelli and Kimball Homes that await final plat and where no construction has occurred: HPI West 1, approved to hold 652 single-family homes on 330 acres; HPI West II, which would have 141 single-family homes and 388 townhomes on 160 acres; and HPI East, which would hold 1,068 single-family homes and 494 townhomes on 740 acres.

“Whoever seeks to develop the land is bound by the terms and conditions of 20-year annexation agreements — which, in conjunction with approved planned development ordinances, regulate the number and types of homes that can be built, the architectural standards of those homes, and the amount of parkland provided and open space preserved,” Mylott said.

“Annexation agreements and planned developments can be amended, but only through a public process.”

The HPI and Pingree Creek parcels are just northwest of the 577-acre Highland Woods, where 833 single-family homes and 309 townhomes have been approved, and 177 single-family houses have been built thus far.

Better and worse

With a total of 120 permits issued through August by the city, “We are projecting to end 2012 at approximately 160 detached single-family home permits issued,” Mylott said.

Last year, Elgin issued 141 single family housing permits, and since 2009 the city has been at or near the head of pack when it comes to the Chicago-area housing starts, which had been hit hard by the recession.

Mylott provided numbers from 2000 until last year showing that these are neither the best of times nor the worst of times when it comes to single-family housing permits issued by the city this century.

The low point in that period was in 2001, when just 36 permits were issued. Single-family housing permits in the city peaked in 2005 with 1,050 issued.

Mylott estimated the 10-year build-out for platted homes and the 40-year time frame for those waiting for final plat approval based on current rates.

“Elgin continues to be one of the leading communities for home construction in the region,” he said. “That’s certainly not to say that things are like they were in 2005 and 2006, but the new construction numbers are looking a little bit better than last year. We’re not ready to call it a trend, but we’re cautiously optimistic that things aren’t going to get worse.”

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