By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — It’s starting to sound like a broken record. Home sale prices in the region have broken another record.
The three-month rolling average price of a home sold in Winnebago, Boone and Ogle counties reached $179,355 in October, according to Rockford Area Realtors. It’s the third straight month of new record high prices and the sixth time in 10 months a new record high was set. The average sale price is 15% more than October 2020.
The record-breaking prices are spurred by historically low mortgage rates, a low inventory of homes on the market and a nesting instinct inspired by the pandemic, according to the Realtors group.
“It’s an intense seller’s market,” Conor Brown, CEO of Rockford Area Realtors, said in a news release. “Buyers fear missing out on the housing boom.”
The average home sale price over the first 10 months of the year is up 14.5% to $168,045, compared to $146,790 during the same time period last year.
“Exactly when we will reach the peak in this housing market is hard to tell,” Brown said.
Bidding wars, where prospective buyers compete with higher and higher offers over the list price, are now common, Brown said. Some buyers are agreeing to waive contingencies around inspections and financing to make their offer more attractive.
“The boom is a boon for sellers, but a challenge for buyers, who increasingly must stretch their housing budgets,” he said.
The total number of homes sold in October was down nearly 5% to 487 compared to a year ago. It’s still the second largest number of homes sold in October since 2006, when 562 homes were sold. There were 512 homes sold in October 2020.
“Realtors are making sure their clients are financially prepared and have a sense of urgency to act on a home they want to purchase, to be ready to go when they see a house they want,” Brown said.
Homes across the region sold two weeks faster than October last year. Homes spent an average 16 days on the market. The record low is 13 days in June and July of this year.
There were 549 properties on the market at the end of October, down nearly 11% from 616 last year. It’s the second highest inventory of homes on the market this year, when the region has seen historic lows in homes on the market.
“Realtors have to go find the inventory for their buyers,” Brown said. “It takes more than waiting for the right home to appear in the MLS. In today’s highly competitive market, it has never been more important for agents to go find the listing for their clients. Realtors have to be not only resourceful but relentless as well.”
Interest rates are continuing to climb from historic lows. Over the last month, the 30-year fixed rate made one of its most significant increases this year, moving from 2.83% to 3.07%.