Real Estate News: Monthly housing sales reach 40-month high

Rockford Area Realtors sold 416 homes in October, the highest monthly total of the year and the highest total in 40 months, when 434 homes were sold in June 2009.

This marked the fourth-straight month of year-over-year sales increases, with gains in nine of 10 months in 2012. The strong sales report was coupled with data showing the average rolling price of a home was $101,792, a 1.4 percent drop from $103,281 in October 2011, as Illinois continues to lead much of the nation in the number of mortgage foreclosures. The average three-month rolling price in September was $106,403.

The headline from the first 10 months of 2012 is one of continued market growth,” said Steve Bois, CEO of Rockford Area Realtors. “Prices, interest rates and consumers’ feelings about the economy are fueling improvements in the Rockford-area housing market.”

Mortgage interest rates continue at historic lows. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.39 Nov. 1, the second-lowest average in history.

The month also marked an expectations-beating jobs number, indicating a steady job trends nationally, although the unemployment rate of Boone and Winnebago counties continue to trend higher than the national jobless rate.

Americans’ confidence in the economy surged last month to its highest level in nearly five years. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased in September, improved again in October. The index now stands at 72.2, up from 68.4 in September, now at its highest level this year and the highest reading since February 2008, two months into the Great Recession.

It’s a good sign,” Bois said, “consumers are considerably more positive of their assessment of the current economy, with improvements in the job market as the major driver.”

He added that the Consumer Confidence Index is watched closely as consumer spending drives close to 70 percent of the economy.

Rockford-area housing sales jumped 14.3 percent from September to October, whereas they historically drop 3.6 percent for the same period.

The consistently recovering local housing market is marked by added positive statistics. Monthly inventory was 2,415 properties in October, the lowest supply in more than five-and-a-half years (before the recession began). Pending sales, an indicator of future sales, was at the highest level in seven years. And both housing showings and local housing website activity are at among their highest levels of 2012.

From the Nov. 7-13, 2012, issue

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