ROCKFORD - The local housing market is a classic case of a taking one step forward and one step back.
First, the good news. Rockford Area Realtors sold 284 homes in March, that's up from just 266 compared to last year.
Now, for the bad news.
The average sales price for those homes is only $88,142, the lowest average in March since 1999. Rockford Area Realtors say distressed property transaction numbers are unusually high, making up around 40% of March sales.
Still, the group is stressing the positives of the latest report.
"The increase in March home sales was unexpected because the unusually harsh winter weather continued its toll" says Steve Bois, CEO of the Rockford Area Realtors. "Perhaps the pent-up demand that has been building over the last four years may finally be letting steam."
One trend RAR noticed in March is the increase of first-time home buyers. Bois credits affordable homes, favorable interest rates, and improving employment levels.
"[It's] encouraging because these buyers are crucial to the housing market."
RAR is optimistic the housing market will have a strong spring, predicting a 22% increase in average sales statewide.