State Farm cuts viewed as ‘minor setback’ for local housing market

State Farm
The head of the Bloomington-Normal Association of Realtors said the “sky isn’t falling” in the local housing market even as State Farm intends to cut from its Bloomington workforce almost 900 information technology jobs. (WJBC file photo)

By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – The sky isn’t falling for the local housing market, according to the president of the Bloomington-Normal Association of Realtors, even as State Farm plans to cut nearly 900 information technology jobs in Bloomington.

The group’s president, John Armstrong, considers State Farm’s action a “minor setback” toward boosting home values.

The impact might be minimal, said Armstrong, because there’s low inventory with about 640 houses on the market compared to normal levels of 700 to 750 homes.

“This news is definitely not going to help home values, but it certainly can be minimized by the fact that we are in a low inventory level already,” said Armstrong.

The realtor said inventory is really low for homes in the $100,000 to $250,000-price range. Prices would slide if higher priced homes hit the market.

“If we have a lot of homes that are going to hit the market that are in the above $300,000 range, that price range can not take on much more inventory without having prices being adjusted,” he said.

Armstrong said State Farm’s plans to maintain a Bloomington workforce of about 15,000, and add 300 jobs in the company’s claims department might help soften the blow for the housing market.

By Howard Packowitz can be reached at


WJBC Voices: The safe, legal and rare fraud

At one time, Hillary Clinton’s mantra about abortion was that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.”  I suspected then that she really meant only the “legal” part, and time has borne out that suspicion.