Within a month, Tazewell County residents will be hiking, watching baseball and looking at houses.

Spring is apparently that magical time of year when a person’s fancy turns to thoughts of real estate.

“It’s just the pattern,” said Lisa Dunnigan, lead clerk with the Tazewell County Recorders Office. “When it gets warmer out, people tend to sell their property or move. Other people are coming into this area because of job transfers. In the spring, people who live in apartments start to look at other means of housing and buying their own homes. I call it ‘moving weather’ and ‘remodeling weather.’” 

According to Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman, area residents begin looking at houses in the spring before the real estate market peaks in the summer.

“Through March of every year, we’re traditionally low, and it piles up until our peak time, normally around June, July and August,” he said. “Then we see the filing of the deeds start to fall off again. I think people get geared up with home sales, with moving and with building expansion. I think that’s just part of the process. In the wintertime, that work tends to slow down. In the spring, it starts to kick back off and get going. People actually get the work prepared and ready to file. Then, in the fall, it starts to slowly taper off.”

According to statistics from the Tazewell County Clerk’s Office, August was last year’s busiest month for area real estate sales, with 498 deeds being filed. In 2016 and 2017, June was the most productive month for Tazewell County’s real estate market, with 533 sales and 492, respectively. Karl Kaebel, owner of Karl Kaebel Realtor in Pekin, believes the weather is a major factor for a slow market in the winter.

“Unless you really need to make a move quickly, people don’t like to get out when there’s 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground and it’s 10 degrees or zero or below zero,” he said. “We’ve always laughed about it and said ‘maybe it’s cabin fever.’ But people do like to get out and make a change when spring comes. It’s just an exciting time of the year, and it seems like spring is the time of year when people like to get out and make their move. School will be out in a couple of months, and if they’re looking right now, by the time they close their loans and everything, school (will be) pretty much out. They’ll be set for their new school for next year. 

The Tazewell County real estate market has been steady over the past three years, according to Ackerman.

“We’re not seeing massive swings,” he said. “Our (monthly sales) numbers vary from the high 200s to the high 400s. Over the last three-year period, it’s been somewhat reliable on how (the real estate market) is going to go. This past December, (the market) was unusually high. We got right back on track in January and February. At Christmas, for some reason, we saw a spike of more activity than normal.”

Dunnigan added that a possible reason for a December spike in real estate sales was the arrival of new businesses and the subsequent purchase of commercial property.

“We had a lot of businesses come through, and those businesses were buying ground,” she said. “In Pekin, we had a hotel come through out by Gold’s Gym, and Planet Fitness came in.”

So far this year, 65 residential lots have been sold in Pekin, compared to 37 in Morton, 40 in East Peoria and 48 in Washington. Washington appears to be Tazewell County’s fastest-growing community, according to Kaebel.

“Their population seems to have grown a little faster than Morton, East Peoria and Pekin,” he said. “I think people enjoy Tazewell County. When people move into the area, it’s pretty easy to get to Peoria from Washington, Morton, Pekin or East Peoria. They’re just comparing around and it’s what people evidently like. It’s a nice community, and it seems like people have fallen a little bit more toward the Washington lifestyle.”

As a lifelong Pekinite, Kaebel said he believes that the Pekin lifestyle has plenty of attractions that people new to the area should consider when buying a home or establishing a business.

“Pekin is the county seat,” he said. “It has a great hospital. Our park system here is way above everyone else. And we have an easy commute to Peoria. So, Pekin is, I think, the ideal community to move to.”