More homes are selling in Rock Island County than a year ago, but average sales prices still are falling.
Home sales were up 33 percent for the third quarter of 2011 in Rock Island County compared to the same quarter last year, according to a report published Wednesday by the Illinois Association of Realtors. Statewide, home sales were up almost 20 percent.
In Henry County, home sales were up 36 percent for the quarter, while sales were up 185 percent in Mercer County, from 7 units to 20, and in Whiteside County sales were up 50 percent.
The average price of homes sold in Rock Island County fell from $115,000 to $108,000, or 6 percent, in the third quarter compared to last year.
Caroline Ruhl, of Ruhl & Ruhl Real Estate, said that the drop in average sale prices for the third quarter was more a reflection of more homes with lower prices selling rather than a decline in the value of homes.
"It isn't that the prices are going down, it's that more homes are selling in the lower range of the market," she said.
The number of single family homes sold in Rock Island County in the third quarter of 2011 was 329, compared to 247 for the same months last year. In 2009, 358 homes were sold in the third quarter.
Although the numbers show improvements, selling a home still can be an arduous process.
Retired Rock Island fire marshal Larry Flaherty has had his home on 25th Avenue in Rock Island on the market for three years.
"I've had a lot of people looking at it that just couldn't get a loan," he said.
Mr. Flaherty initially tried to sell his three-bedroom ranch-style home on his own but now has turned it over to a real estate broker. He's asking $149,900 for the property but will listen to offers.
"It's very frustrating," he said. "I'll consider anything that's reasonable, I just want to be on my way."
Mr. Flaherty's experience is not the norm, according to statistics provided by Quad City Area Realtors Association CEO Shane Johnson. For the year to date, it took an average of 101 days to sell a property in the Illinois Quad-Cities, compared to 96 days last year.
There were 106 new housing units built for the year through September in the Illinois Quad-Cities and 256 in the Iowa Quad-Cities. Those numbers are down 6 percent on the Iowa side compared to last year and 4 percent on the Illinois side.
Despite the improvement in the third quarter, home sales are down for the year.
Ms. Ruhl said the numbers were skewed because of the federal tax breaks for first-time buyers and $6,500 for those moving to a different home that expired last April.
In the Iowa Quad-Cities, sales are down 4 percent through September, with 1,465 units sold, according to an analysis published by Ruhl & Ruhl.
In Scott County sales of houses priced more than $400,000 were up 39 percent and condos priced less than $175,000 made up 67 percent of sales.
Ms. Ruhl said the Quad-Cities region housing market is in much better shape than many other parts of the country and has escaped relatively unscathed from the foreclosure crisis.
She estimated 5 to 7 percent of sales in the region are foreclosed properties, compared to an average of about one-third nationally, a statistic that has dragged home prices down since the economic downturn struck in 2008.
If interest rates stay where they are now, Ms. Ruhl said, and the Quad-Cities continues its trend of declining unemployment, she sees a "good strong market" next year.
Roberta Miller is certainly hoping that's the case. She's been trying to sell her brick two-bedroom ranch style home on 19th Avenue in Moline for the last two years, with no luck. The retiree wants to move to Ohio to be closer to children but has had few people express an interest in buying her home.
"I had one offer I accepted and they were supposed to come back for the paperwork but I never heard from them," she said.
Ms. Miller has an asking price of $133,900 for her home. She has put the property on the market this summer and last summer, taking it off the market in the winter because she doesn't want to have to move in the colder months.
Rock Island County third quarter home sales 2009, 358 2010, 247 2011, 329
Median selling price 2010, $95,000 2011, $94,900
Average selling price 2010, $115,613 2011, $108,562
Source: Illinois Association of Realtors quarterly housing survey
Iowa Quad Cities Homes sold for the year through September, 1,465, down 4 percent from 2010 Average 2011 sales price, $164,000
Sales in the Quad Cities for the year through September, 2,896, down 3.3 percent from 2010 Sales in the Quad Cities for September, 345, up 11.7 percent from 2010
Today is Wednesday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2014. There are 91 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: It is rumored in the streets that the 13 negroes sent to Quincy on the Moline quota were refused. We think this must be a mistake. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Harvey McKenna, of Detroit, billiard player matched to play Wizard Schafer in New York in January for the world championship, was a professional friend and manager, Billy Catton in Rock Island. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Levi Cralle, former Rock Island county sheriff, had come from his farm near Mitchell, S.D. to visit friends in the city. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Rehearsals for the 84th season of the Handel Oratorio Society chorus will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the stage of Centennial Hall, Augustana College. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Rock Island City Council's plan announced this week to have the federal government vacate Valley Homes public housing and move residents to Arsenal Courts to reduce density may not be feasible.