September sales up 3.4 percent; historically, sales fall 15 percent

From press release

Sales of homes and condominiums increased 3.4 percent from August to September, while historically sales typically fall 15 percent during this same time period.

In September, Rockford Area Realtors sold 274 properties, up 3.4 percent from 265 sold in August 2010. Since 1998, sales average a 15.1 percent drop from August to September, as activity typically slows down as summer rolls into fall. The three-month rolling average price stayed fairly constant, hitting its second-highest level of the year in September at $121,271, down slightly from $121,914 in August, the year’s highest price.

“As we entered a slower season in fall and winter, the area housing market made gains in September,” said Steve Bois, CEO of Rockford Area Realtors. “A combination of record low mortgage interest rates and lower home prices makes very compelling affordability conditions for buyers.”

Sales for the year and inventory level of homes for sale are running even with 2009. Through September, 2,644 properties were sold this year, compared to 2,647 in 2009.

“We have many potential buyers in a ‘wait and see’ mode to figure out whether interest rates will continue to remain low,” Bois said.

In third quarter 2003, the average 30-year mortgage interest rate was 6.26 percent; today, the average rate is around 4.5 percent. On a $200,000 home, this represents a savings of $219.37 in monthly payment.

Bois said facts indicate this may be the best time to buy in 50 years.

“It may be time to listen to people who better understand the opportunities that exist in real estate today,” Bois said. “People are buying homes today so they can take advantage of a 30-year mortgage with low interest rates that deliver interest payments that get locked in at record lows, while the price of homes traditionally rise.”

Bois commented that people who do not take advantage of this opportunity may look back on this time as many looked back on the 1950s and 1960s.

“If you are a first-time buyer, there are many great homes to pick from, you will have a place to call your own and a tax deduction as well,” Bois said. “If you are a move up or down buyer, you can make a move and lock in a long-term, historically low mortgage interest rate.”

From the Oct. 13-19, 2010 issue

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