For the first time in a long time, prospects are looking up for a city revenue source that’s been battered by the housing industry meltdown.

Members of Evanston’s Economic Development Committee were told Wednesday night that as of the end of October, Real Estate Transfer Tax revenue for the city was running about 15 percent ahead of the amount generated at the same point last year.

And that doesn’t count two major sales announced in the past few days — the $39 million sale of the 909 Davis St. office building and the bank purchase of the 72 unsold units at the Winthrop Club condo tower downtown.

Each of those sales could add around $200,000 to the city’s transfer tax revenue for the year.

But even if the tax for the fiscal year ending in February comes in well above the $1.6 million projected in the city budget, it will still fall far short of the $4 million the city received from it in years at the peak of the housing boom.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said the recovery in transfer tax revenue may be a sign that the economy is starting to get better. 

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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