The Power is Now

How hot is Washington’s housing market? One seller had 19 showings and an offer in 3 days – Peoria Journal Star

Chris Stevens, left, his wife Sarah, right, and son Walker, 3, stand outside the house they recently sold on Fieldstone in Washington.

WASHINGTON — Nobody has to tell Chris Stevens about the hot home real estate market in this city.

He lived it.

His family’s home at 1930 Fieldstone was listed for sale July 27.

After 19 showings in three days — 21 showings were scheduled — the high offer of $176,000 was accepted July 29.

The sale price was $3,900 lower than the list price of $179,900, but the home needs some upgrades, Stevens said.

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“One after the other, people came to see our home,” he said. “It was unbelievable. I was blown away.

“Mark (Helmuth), our real estate agent, said the market in Washington isn’t quite as hot as it was in April and May. But it sure was for us.”

What’s driving the hot market?

Helmuth, a third-generation real estate agent, is president of RE/MAX WRC Downtown, which has an office on the downtown Washington square. He’s been with the company since 1994.

What he’s witnessed over the past several months in Washington, with prospective buyers flocking to homes being put up for sale, has been eye opening.

“I haven’t seen this kind of home real estate market in Washington in my 27 years as a Realtor,” Helmuth said.

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“Home sales in Washington have been slowly ticking upwards for many years except for a very busy month in December 2013 right after the tornado, when about 1,000 homes were lost.

“This boom started last year when the pandemic hit and people’s lives changed. People started spending their disposable income on properties.”

Jennifer Essig, a real estate agent who works with Helmuth, said low interest rates and the soaring cost to build a new home because of material shortages are other reasons Washington homes for sale don’t stay on the market very long.

Prices up by more than one-third

Numbers compiled by the Peoria Area Association of Realtors tell the story of Washington’s home real estate market.

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Comparing homes listed by real estate agents from January-June 2020 to the same time period in 2021, the average price of a home sale went up 38% from $161,043 to $222,897, and the median price of a home sale went up 34% from $133,000 to $179,000.

Closings rose from 213 in 2020 to 258 in 2021, a 21% increase. Cumulative days on the market dropped 62% from 77 in 2020 to 29 in 2021.

‘Washington is a great small town’

Stevens is leaving Washington and his home on Fieldstone since 2012 because of a work opportunity.

He and his wife Sarah, who have four children ages 3-24, are travel nurses and will be relocating to Daytona Beach, Fla.

“Washington is a great small town,” Chris Stevens said. “Everyone is friendly, and it has a great school system. Our neighborhood is great.

“We’re going to miss our friends and family here. We’ll be back for visits.”

The Stevens’ 1,560-square-foot home on Fieldstone was built in 2000 and has three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and a 9,900-square-foot lot, according to

Downsizing and feeling safer

Richard Scoggins will soon be a new Washington resident. Working with Helmuth, he purchased a home at 611 Walnut St., for $100,000 after a price drop from $104,900.

After living at 1601 N. Linn St., in Peoria for 47 years, Scoggins will be crossing the Illinois River for several reasons.

The 75-year-old wanted to downsize to a home with one floor and a smaller yard. And he said crime is getting worse in his Peoria neighborhood.

“It can take me two days to mow the lawn at my current home. It was starting to look like I wasn’t able to take care of it,” he said. “I can probably mow my lot in Washington with a weed whacker.”

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Scoggins said he’s looking forward to living close to the sites of community events in Washington and seeing friends who live there.

It was a friend who spotted the “For Sale” sign at 611 Walnut and let Scoggins know about it.

Walnut also is U.S. Business Route 24, a main route through Washington, so there’s more traffic than on a residential street. And Scoggins’ new home is near St. Patrick Catholic School.

Scoggins said the noise from cars and kids won’t bother him. He’s used to a lot more noise.

“In Peoria, I live a block from Knoxville Avenue. I hear sirens and helicopters from two hospitals (OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center and UnityPoint Health Methodist) all day and night, and there’s also a major fire station nearby,” he said.

Scoggins said he hasn’t had to make a house payment since 1987, and he intends to continue that practice in Washington by selling properties to get the needed cash.

His 1,645-square-foot Peoria home, built in 1900, has four bedrooms, one bathroom and a half-acre lot, according to

His three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,064-square-foot home on Walnut was built in 1908.

Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.



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