When it comes to rentals in Rockford, developer Sunil Puri says the market is as strong as he's seen it. Which leads him to believe another boom is soon to follow.
"Single family homes, new home construction is coming right behind it," says Puri. "All these people who came in here are living in these apartments for three years. Now they've established and put roots here and are going to be looking for those single family homes."
Rockford Area Realtors says there are a few things scaring renters away from making the switch to ownership. First off, not realizing how low down payments can be.
"Some down payments are as low as 3%," says Rockford Area Realtors Executive Director Steve Bois. "I mean there are some really good programs out there."
Bois says a second thing pushing away potential buyers is the area's property taxes. The tax rate is nearly 15% in Rockford. This means a home worth about $140,000 pays more than $6,000 in property taxes. Bois admits the rate is high, but says some people can still get a home and pay less than they do in rent. On top of that, he's hopeful change is on the horizon.
"We'll have a changeover in administration that's going to be an opportunity to get some economies of scale and some consolidation of services," says Bois. "Really that's what has to happen for the taxes to come down."
Finally Bois says it's the area's housing stock that's the biggest concern. Which could mean a boom in another industry is soon to follow.
"We have the lowest inventory since we've been keeping record which is quite some time. So that means at some point in time we'll need new construction."