FridayPosted Mar 3, 2017 at 12:32 PM Updated at 1:55 AM
By Susan Vela
BELVIDERE — Boone County property values are on the rise for the second straight year.
In 2015, the equalized assessed value of all property ticked up for the first time in seven years. The 1.68 percent increase brought the total value to about $889.4 million. In 2016, assessors estimate a 5.35 percent increase, to a total value of $937 million.
Boone County officials say the two-year trend is a significant sign the local housing market is rebounding from the Great Recession. Before the housing bubble burst, and many people lost their homes through foreclosure, the county's property values peaked at $1.26 billion in 2008.
"Finally, a healing local economy," County Administrator Ken Terrinoni said. "If your values are going up, then there's a demand for housing. The sales are pushing the numbers up."
With demand growing, Boone County officials are starting to dream of a new subdivision development, which hasn't happened since 2008. Realtors sold more homes in Boone, Winnebago and Ogle counties in 2016 than any year since the Great Recession.
"We have record low inventories," said Michelle Huber, a Realtor specializing in Boone County property for Dickerson & Nieman in Rockford. "People are fighting (over homes).
These days, she may receive several offers for one home. Some of her clients also are more willing to wait for homes considering what's available.
Poplar Grove is a hot spot because of the Sherman Oaks and Candlewick Lake developments, Huber said. Too often, though, available homes are pricey, running up to $500,000.
"I would like to see a new subdivision where it's an affordable price range," Huber said. "I would like to see someone figure out how to build my clients a nice $155,000 to $165,000 house."
Mayor Mike Chamberlain wouldn't mind hearing from developers interested in building apartment complexes.
"After the downturn, we had maybe one in seven houses that were in some kind of transition," he said. "I need someone to build some lifestyle apartments for people who don't yet want to invest in a house."
Rachel Condon and her husband, Michael, moved into their first home in Poplar Grove about 10 years ago. They stayed there longer than they expected because of the Great Recession. Their mortgage was larger than their home's value.
With three growing children, they eventually were forced to consider a different home. They sold their home over the summer but then moved in with Condon's mom. The family wanted to stay in Poplar Grove.
"Unfortunately, there was just nothing for us to purchase," Condon said.
Condon and her husband have an offer on a home with a big yard for their 9-, 6- and 5-year-old children. It has four bedrooms, two full bathrooms and, at about $170,000, is in the family's price range.
"We've been fortunate that we've been able to stay with family," Condon said. "(But) it's nice to see that it is becoming a hot spot again. It's nice to see that people are moving into the homes and there are families able to live there again."
Jane Eurek, also a Dickerson & Nieman agent specializing in Boone County property, said she's been canceling showings because homes are selling quickly.
"It's kind of crazy out there. (But) it's a good thing," she said.
She wants to see new homes in the $150,000 to $200,000 range.
"Then the first-time buyers can get into the market," she said. "It's going to be a good 2017. That's for sure."