Prices hit record as Rockford-area housing recovery gains steam
Realtors and community leaders are hailing a new milestone for the Rockford, Ill., area housing market.
The three-month rolling average price of a single-family home sold in Winnebago, Boone and Ogle counties rose to a record $149,497 in August. That's $2,500 higher than the previous record, set in November 2007. It's a whopping $61,355 above the average price of homes sold in the area in March 2014.
There's more good news: Single-family homes in the region are selling at a record pace. Homes sold in August were on the market for an average of 34 days, compared with an average of 62 days for homes sold at the end of 2017.
"You look at what we've done in the past five years, it's quite significant," said Conor Brown, CEO of Rockford Area Realtors. "We've almost seen a 67% increase in our housing values in the region."
Affordability, a solid job market and relatively low interest rates are contributing to the recovery in the local housing market, Brown said.
"What's most remarkable about this phenomenal housing appreciation is that the Rockford market remains in the top 15% of affordability of homes in the United States, even taking property taxes into account," he said.
An additional factor in the housing market's recovery, according to the Realtors, is the dramatic decline in sales of distressed or foreclosed properties.
Just 3% of total housing sales in the region were from distressed or foreclosed properties in August, compared with 45% in January 2013.
"We are becoming a move-to community," Transform Rockford Executive Director David Sidney said. "People want to live here and invest here. It just speaks to the transformation journey that we're on."
New home construction continues to lag.
Of the 4,532 houses sold in the year ending in August, just 2.3% were newly built homes.
"Some of it is prices — the fact that materials and labor costs have gone up," Brown said. "Also, building standards have gone up, too. We have a statewide energy code that adds to the cost of new construction."
The rebound in the local housing market is a further sign of renewed community pride, according to Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, who urged area taxing bodies to hold the line on or reduce their property tax levies.
"We have to make sure that this community is a livable place and a big piece of that is property taxes," McNamara said.