ROCKFORD (WREX) — Housing sales in the Rockford area took a hit due to COVID-19. But the decline is not because the virus is deterring people from buying.
In Winnebago, Boone or Ogle counties, houses draw in buyers like a moth to a flame.
"Buyers are hungry for what's out there. If it's in good condition, good price, it's going to go quickly," said Gambino Realtors Vice President Heather Porter.
But even with the high demand and an average sale price $16,000 above last year, Rockford Area Realtors say it still saw a nearly 9 percent decrease in homes sold last moth compared to April of 2019.
"That represents a 12 percent sale increase so the average home sold during the month of April was $141,000 and some change. That's remarkable considering the circumstances that we are operating under," said Rockford Area Realtors CEO Conor Brown.
Experts say it's the historical low interest rates that kept the decline from getting worse.
"It's almost like free money. It is. Three percent, that's extremely low for interests rates," said Porter.
"That has allowed them to buy a little bit more house or maybe to cushion the blow," said Brown.
But even with good rates the pandemic pulled some houses unexpectedly off the market.
"When we see such a decrease in the number of new listings, that is really putting a pinch on buyer choices. So what is out there is rather slim and that is why we are seeing all of these homes getting snatched up rather quickly," said Brown.
"Unfortunately because of the low inventory, people are cutting things off their wish lists because it's just not available," said Porter.
The low inventory leave the competition extremely high.
"It sold in one day. It was not even 24 hours on the market actually," said Porter.
So while numbers are down, demand is high. The hope is that inventory bounces back to support the need.
Gambino Realtors also said first time homebuyers along with others qualify for housing grants. For more information click here.