CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill., (WCIA) — For the first time in seven months, home sales rose in Champaign County and surrounding areas. 

This September marked the highest number of sales in 17 years with 288 homes sold. 

This is a 3.97% increase since the same time last year. 

PJ Trautman, the Champaign County Association of Realtors president, said even though rates are up, it’s still a good time to buy. 

“With the higher rates, we have lower competition with buyers which makes it more appealing for buyers,” Trautman said. “We’re trying to get across the message ‘date the rate, but marry the house.’ Because rates will change, they’re not forever, but your house, that’s something you want to choose and stick with for a while.” 

He said he also anticipates the real estate market to slow down slightly because of rising interest rates. But, added that Champaign is normally able to recover from any downshifts in the market and can thrive year-round. 

“Champaign-Urbana tends to be very resilient to any shifts in the economy. We have a very robust economy here locally because of the University of Illinois. We have a very transient population with people coming and going fairly regularly because of the university,” Trautman said.

He said because of that, he normally sees homes on the market a little longer, but generally doesn’t see a drop in pricing or value.