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The mayor of America’s top real estate market explains how it flipped the housing script – Fox Business

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With a lot of hard work and a little TLC, this quintessential American town has turned its real estate story around. Now, the mayor is opening up on how Rockford, Illinois, is currently the No. 1 housing market.

“This really took a team effort,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said in an exclusive, first on FOX Business interview during “The Claman Countdown” Wednesday.


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“So we pulled together experts throughout our city, and we listened to what they had to say. We then listened to our residents, and we just put action into focus, and we invested really in hard work,” the mayor added. “We invested in partnerships throughout our community. We invested in physical infrastructure as well as human capital to get us where we’re at.”

Last month, The WSJ/Realtor.com Housing Market Ranking recognized the Illinois metro area, just west of Chicago, as the country’s top real estate market. The accomplishment comes after formerly being known as the underwater mortgage capital in 2013.

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Nearly one-third of homes in Rockford back then were worth less money than what was owed on them.

Rockford mayor on top real estate market

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara reacted to the town being named America’s top real estate market in an exclusive interview on “The Claman Countdown.” (Fox News)

Then this March, the median home price in Rockford reportedly soared to $235,000, up 51.7% from the previous year and marking the largest gain of any metro area on the list, according to The Wall Street Journal.

When Mayor McNamara took office in 2017, he shepherded much-needed legislative and community changes, like cutting property taxes by 37%. He noted the city was able to pull it off by living within their means.

“Our workforce is one-third the size of all of our comparable communities. We invest heavily into our employees, but we also have a very lean workforce,” the mayor said. “We also allowed our employees to tell us what they thought we should cut. Where can we increase revenue and cut expenses?”

After asking the same questions to small businesses and municipal finance experts, “most importantly, we listened to them and made some difficult decisions. So, we’re here through a lot of hard work, a lot of help from a lot of community members.”

In addition to cutting taxes, Rockford also launched a suite of programs, including some for the homeless, nonprofit work and personal finance assistance.

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“We’ve done a number of programs,” McNamara said Wednesday, “We know that it provides an individual a lot of dignity to stay in their home… We did a critical home repair program, we partnered with Habitat for Humanity… We also created a community development financial institution… So we’re putting people to work.”

The WSJ/Realtor.com analysis also gave Rockford a high ranking due to statistics weighing quality of life, which is enhanced by the city’s access to parks, retail and its low climate risk.

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