Real Estate News: Area home sales hit six-year high in August

September 12, 2012

Staff Report

After months of good news for homebuyers, the Rockford-area housing market is full of positive news for home sellers this month, according to the latest housing statistics.

Rockford Area Realtors sold 401 properties in August, the highest monthly total in 28 months and the highest August total in six years, showing more signs that 2012 looks like the beginning of a true housing market recovery.

August 2012 sales were 21 percent higher than last year when 330 homes were sold in August 2011. July to August 2012 sales were up 10.2 percent, from 364 to 401 homes sold, whereas typically sales increase 6.4 percent from July to August — 59 percent more homes sold in August over July than historically sell in this time period.

The last time total monthly sales rose above 400 was in May 2010 when 414 homes were sold. The last time August sales were above 400 was when 577 homes sold in August 2007, the first year of the housing recession.

The sales momentum we saw building in the first two quarters of the year is continuing into the later half of the year,” said Steve Bois, CEO, Rockford Area Realtors. “Low interest rates and affordable home prices will give the market a solid foundation for the rest of the year.”

According to Fiserv, a technology provider to the financial industry, first-quarter 2012 home prices show Rockford ranks as the third most affordable housing market in the nation, when comparing median home price as a percentage of median annual income. Rockford has a history of ranking in the top 10 markets for housing affordability.

The three-month average rolling average of homes sold in August was $112,170, 7.9 percent above the average price of $103,981 in August 2011, marking the fourth straight month of year-over-year price increases.

For the first eight months of the year, 2,464 homes have been sold, 19.4 percent above 2,064 sold for the same period last year.

As we find both home prices and sales up,” Bois said, “sellers should take advantage of this window of opportunity.”

Two other local market factors are also aiding sellers. The monthly inventory of homes has dropped to the second lowest level of the year with inventory levels more than 30 percent lower than in August 2011. And the absorption rate, the average time it takes to sell a home, is 8.6 months, the lowest level since 8.1 months in May 2008.

Bois said: “With demand reviving and inventories of homes down, home prices may very well be on the way back up this year. And with steadier job growth and improving consumer confidence, we should continue to see a boost in home sales going forward.”

From the Sept. 12-18, 2012, issue

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