On Real Estate: Home sales down in November, Realtors feel national gloom

December 8, 2010

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

The number of area homes sold missed the 300 mark in November, making it the fifth month sales of single-family houses and condominiums have dropped this year, agents reported last week.

According to staff at Rockford Area Realtors, agents sold 236 homes and condos last month. The total falls short of the 360 units sold in November 2009.

Following trends in most U.S. markets, Rockford’s low sales numbers come in wake of the federal income tax credit expiration. Since tax credits expired in June, real estate sales have continuously dipped. Area agents sold 232 houses and condos in October and 274 the month before. So far in 2010, agents have sold 3,112 homes, approximately 8 percent behind numbers reported a year ago.

The average price at the end of last month hovered just above $116,750, down from an average of $121,914 reported four months ago. According to analysts, slow employment growth continues to result in less demand for housing, causing homes to remain on the market longer, forcing sellers to reduce prices.

“The Rockford-area housing market is feeling pressure from an uncertain economy as we wait out the process and return to a new normal residential real estate market,” Rockford Area Realtors CEO Steve Bois said.

Nationally, some markets are predicted to see booms in the next two years. However, according to economists, the Midwest isn’t one of them. Some experts say an increase in home construction is on the horizon if mortgage rates remain low and lenders curtail foreclosures. The news, however, may not be great for Rockford.

“The Rocky Mountain states are the growth states,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said. “Over the past 40 years, there has been significant migration into the region. Expect higher growth in the Rocky Mountain states when the economy turns.”

From the Dec. 8-14, 2010 issue

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