Real Estate News: Rockford home sales continue historic sales run

May 9, 2012

Staff Report

The Rockford housing market continues its historic run of year-to-year increases, now totaling 11 straight months.

Rockford Area Realtors (RAR) sold 299 homes in April, 37.2 percent higher than 218 properties sold in April 2011. The longest previous sales streak ran for eight months ending in October 2001 (the longest since stats have been collected dating back to 1998).

For the first four months of this year, 1,012 homes and condos have been sold, which is almost 33 percent more than 762 properties sold from January to April 2011.

There’s no doubt that these are strong numbers to open the spring selling season,” said Steve Bois, CEO of RAR. “Further, in the last month there was a more even spread of sales prices compared to previous months where homes that sold for less than $150,000 dominated the market.”

Bois said Realtors are reporting multiple offers on homes in higher price ranges, a market dynamic not seen since the housing downturn began in 2007.

April also marked the third straight month of gains in the average home sale price. The three-month rolling average price rose 7 percent from $95,920 in March to $101,999 in April, a gain of more than $6,000 per home.

Another positive housing trend signaling a recovery was the fact that the absorption rate, the time it takes to sell a home, has dropped for the 10th straight month. The average time to sell a home is now 9.3 months.

Sales are up, time-on-the-market levels are down significantly from a year ago, and prices appear to be stabilizing,” Bois said. “These are encouraging signs in the market.”

Bois added, “Realtors are continuing to see an increase in the number of buyers looking to buy a home today, for many of the reasons we’ve been pointing out: interest rates are jaw-droppingly low, distressed houses are keeping prices competitive, and people are feeling better about the economy.”

Mortgage rates hit a record low this past week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported May 3 the rate on 30-year loans fell to 3.84 percent, the lowest since long-term mortgages originated in the 1950s. The previous record rate of 3.87 percent was reached in February.

Bois said while Realtors are still closely monitoring the impact of distressed properties now and those that may enter the market in the coming year, continued stabilization of the market will ultimately come from buyers looking to make a long-term investment in a home.

A newly-released survey by the Illinois Association of Realtors of 600 homeowners and renters in the state found that 82 percent of Illinois residents stated home ownership was one of their most important life goals, and 34 percent believe prices will increase in the next five years.

From the May 9-15, 2012, issue

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