ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Houses in Rockford are selling for record-breaking prices, the highest in 10 years.

Prices are rising in the region, but are still significantly more affordable than anywhere else in Illinois, according to the Northwest Illinois Alliance of Realtors (NIAR).

The average sale price of a property stands at $198,000, compared to the former average of $89,000.

“Higher prices have led to some opportunities for some folks, but also it’s been some challenges for home buyers as well, with some of the dwindling inventory and some of the challenges that presents,” said NIAR CEO Conor Brown. “But with that, we also think that the time is right for people to start building new construction as well, too.”

NIAR president Ginger Sreenan said it is a seller’s market.

“Now’s a wonderful time [to sell], because they’ll reap the benefits of the strength of our market and the low inventory,” Sreenan said.

Buyers like Eva Marcial had been on the search for a home for over 2 years.

“It was competitive,” she said of the home-buying process. “I mean, there were times (that) people were really forgoing inspections, just things that were wild that, you know, for me as a homeowner that I would never imagine. So, getting into bidding wars, I can’t tell you the number of offers that I made and lost out on. It was … selling within 24 hours.”

Marcial said one of her concerns was rising mortgage interest rates.

Sreenan says buyers need to be patient, and persistent, and not let the interest rate deter them.

“They will be building wealth, rather than seeing their leases and their (rent) going up,” she said.

Buyers can always refinance when the interest rates come down.

Realtors say they are excited about the housing market.

“I think that the community should take pride in the fact that we are no longer, what I would call ‘affordable,’ because of no equity building and no value rising in the homes that they’ve owned,” Sreenan said. “I like that we have housing here that is attainable for people with jobs, for people that are workforce housing. So and that’s my goal, that they keep looking. They live here, they work here, They play here.”