Area home sales down 18.4 percent from 2010

From press release

Rockford-area home sales were down 18.4 percent from 212 homes sold in February 2010 to 173 properties sold last month.

The three-month rolling average sales price hit $111,824, down 4.8 percent from the average price of $117,520 in January, and 6.5 percent lower than last February’s average price of $119,563.

“The real story is that without a federal tax credit this year and the major snow blizzard in February, the market didn’t have the muscle to bring out buyers, even though pricing was extremely affordable,” said Steve Bois, CEO of Rockford Area Realtors. “But remember, one month doesn’t make the market.”

Two factors appeared to have driven down this month’s average price: increased prices last year driven by the federal tax credit and resulting higher demand while current prices are being challenged by a still significant volume of distressed properties on the market.

During February open houses, Bois said Realtors reported higher traffic among moveup buyers. “Today’s market has created an environment where it is a great time to move up,” Bois said. “Interest rates are still at historical lows, the job market is improving, and affordability is near generational highs. Those with growing families and steady jobs are asking themselves if now is the time to trade up.

“Although the nation and the state economies are still facing many challenges in their efforts to recover from the recession, the long-term trends continue to show that both are moving forward and adding jobs,” Bois added. A local example, Bois pointed out, is Iscar Ltd., the Israel-based parent company of Ingersoll Cutting

Tools, which recently reported an increase of 41 percent in 2010 revenues.

He added: “You can’t underestimate the current state of historically high housing affordability conditions. Mortgage interest rates recently hit their lowest point ever, and prices have been stable following the correction from the housing boom.”

From the March 16-22, 2011, issue

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