Year-end figures compiled by Midwest Real Estate Data for 2017 show real estate sales in Woodstock continue to rise and the average sales price is on an upswing as well.

“We’re experiencing nice, steady growth,” said Rick Bellairs, broker with Berkshire Hathaway Starck Real Estate. “The good news is the average sales price [in 2017] was up about 5 percent over 2016. The bad news is that it’s 15 percent lower than 10 years ago.”

Bellairs cited figures for comparison based on real estate transactions that have taken place in the 60098 zip codes, which includes properties inside the city limits as well as rural Woodstock.

A positive trend he noted is that the number of sales has increased significantly in the last 10 years. There were 417 single-family homes sold in 2017 compared to 178 in 2008.

In 2017, the average sales price for homes in the 60098 zip codes was $230,633.

He explained that for many years since the economic crash of 2008, people couldn’t afford to sell since the prices had dropped below what they had invested in the property, but now we’re in the back side of the drop and prices are slowly coming back.

One indicator of recovery is that no homes valued more than $1 million sold in 2016, but two such homes sold in 2017. Another indicator is, over the last few years, about half of the real estate market was distressed sales, but now, he said, most of those distress sales are gone.

The return of new construction in the area is another indicator of recovery. Building in developments such as Apple Creek and the Sonatas demonstrates builders have the confidence to come back into the market.

The bulk of sales recorded in Woodstock in 2017 were for homes in the $150,000 to $250,000 range.

“We’re still recovering from the bottom up,” said Bellairs.

Looking ahead in 2018, Bellairs predicted a continued upward trend, with the average sale-price increasing.

“I’m not sure if the new tax plan will have an impact,” he said. “But interest rates are still low.”

Sellers have an advantage right now because there is a shortage of inventory available for interested buyers, however the number of properties listed will increase as summer approaches.

Arturo Flores, managing broker, owner, of Success Realty Partners, Woodstock, agreed that inventory is low.

“It’s a good time to be listing property,” Flores said. “This is the best time [for those listing] to get the most for their property.”

The average time a home spent on the market in 2017 was 101 days, about half of what it was in 2008. Buyers need to move faster when they find something they are interested in, and they don’t necessarily have the luxury of waiting until the price comes down.

“The market is very strong,” Bellairs said, but he feels prices have not yet peaked.

The high tax rate in McHenry County continues to hinder real estate sales in Woodstock and surrounding communities. Twenty years ago buyers faced a tax rate of 2 to 2-1/2 percent of the purchase price, compared to today when it hovers around 4 percent. The tax burden becomes amplified for properties over $500,000. Bellairs has to advise buyers of properties in this price range to plan annually for property taxes of $30,000 to $40,000 per year.

“Even if you can afford it, you have to ask yourself, ‘do you want to?’” he said.

Overall, though, Bellairs considers Woodstock a great area to live in with something for everyone, from entry-level priced housing to estate property. In contrast to many other suburban communities, he said, “We have quite the mix of homes in the area and we still offer more bang for your buck.”

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