Housing inventory struggles to meet demand

OREGON, Ill. (WIFR) -- It's a time to sell in Rockford area.
With home prices reaching a near decade high and sales hitting their highest levels in 11 years.

Rockford Area Realtors say 450 homes were sold in July this year, a 12% increase from this time last year.

Realtors say home sales are expected to continue rising through the rest of this year, keeping the area on pace for a 5% increase in home sales.

Home prices have also hit a new milestone, averaging just under $133,000, reaching its highest point since December of 2008.

Though it's the perfect time to sell a home, if you're in the market for buying, it may be difficult.

The Drew family started searching for a forever home in Oregon this past fall.

"We realized that we were quickly outgrowing our house, and two toddlers was not going to be sufficient with we were living," says Lindsay Drew.

The Drews quickly realized the process wouldn't be as simple as they'd thought.

"There were a few times that we had interest in a house, but our house had not sold, so we got bumped, or we just could not seem to get ahead of the game,” recalls Drew.

The Drew family aren't the only prospective buyers in the area who've found that finding a home isn't quite as easy as they planned.

“I'm working with a number of families who are, you know maybe in their first home when they first got married. And now their financial and family situation is different, and they want to upgrade to a larger home, but number 1. There's no inventory out there for them to upgrade to, and number 2. They know, if they list their home, chances are, they'll get an offer quickly, and they'll be forced to move in with family or rent," says ReMax realtor, Rebecca Hazzard.

With July home sales increasing 12.5% in the Rockford area since last year, and only about 6 homes built, the demand is higher than it's been since before the recession.

“A very important component now is new constrution, and new construction hasn't been here for several reasons, and one of them is, the average price of the home has to continue to increase to make it profitable for new construction to exist, so we're kind of at a tipping point as to when exactly that's going to be," says Rockford Area Realtors CEO, Steve Bois.

The Drew’s eventually found a home, and say the struggle made finding the perfect place even more satisfying.

"My advice would be to just hang in there, that you will find the house you're looking for.”

Bois tells us there is no way to predict what housing numbers will look like in the upcoming year, but he hopes that more homes will continue to be built to meet the demand.