ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Average home prices in Rockford have ballooned to over $200,000, a new record that’s good for the city’s economy but tough on the average buyer.

“We’re really excited that we’re breaking that $200,000 threshold. It’s just an incredible milestone to me,” said Connor Brown, CEO of the Northwest Illinois Alliance of Realtors.

The all-time high prices were hit in August, with the average cost of a home in Winnebago, Boone, and Ogle counties now around $205,000.

Why so expensive?

“We have a little over 300 homes in the three-county area that are on the market right now. That is a significant drop from what we saw last year, down about 26%. So, when you have fewer and fewer homes and still a large pool of buyers that are out there competing, it is pushing those prices further up,” Brown said.

Due to the low inventory, it is most certainly a seller’s market.

“Buyers are still scrambling. We’re still seeing multiple offer situations. We’re still seeing homes sell within a day. So, just a lot of activity. That hasn’t slowed down at all despite higher mortgage interest rates,” he said.

With a seller-friendly market, what advice is there for the buyer?

“The first thing a buyer should do is contact a local lender and they’re going to know exactly what sort of programs are out there, the best sort of financing that’s available for them,” Brown offered. “The second thing is to reach out to a realtor. They’re going to guide you through that process. It can be somewhat of a patient exercise because you are competing against other buyers but, if you find that next house, you need to be able to act on it quickly.”

According to NerdWallet, mortgage rates in the Rockford area are currently at around 7-8%.

Brown says there is some fluctuation of the market’s inventory projected for the colder months, but he added there will still be opportunities to buy.