Monmouth Escapes Housing Crisis
By Emily Friedrich
(Monmouth, Ill.) Housing foreclosures that started in California and Florida spread like wildfire in many other urban areas throughout the country. Although some communities have become virtual ghost towns, Monmouth is surviving.
Some locals believe Monmouth’s location geographically played a role in the community which came out relatively unscathed amidst a national housing crisis. Wood Stortzum, Market President of Wells Fargo in Monmouth said, “We are an agricultural economy that gives us a really good base. We have been affected, but not with the dramatic examples that would be on some of the coastal cities.”
Being a regional economy does not come without disadvantages, Stortzum noted. “What happens in Galesburg, what happens in Macomb, even sometimes what happens across the river in Burlington, we have a ripple affect.”
Linda Doyle, owner of Monmouth Farm and Home Realty agreed with Stortzum’s take on Monmouth’s housing market. “We’re faring very well. I would say we’re hanging in there. Our market is stable,” said Doyle.
Doyle credits the local banks for practicing smart lending. Doyle’s partner at Monmouth Farm and Home Realty, Bob Meling, explained that local banks did a good job staying out of the sub-prime housing market. “100 percent loans are something that a lot of people should not get involved in…they get themselves in a position where they don’t make their payments and they can walk out on it very readily and become a foreclosure.”