PEORIA — Home sales were down slightly during the second quarter, the Peoria Area Association of Realtors reported Monday morning.

In part that's likely because the overall inventory of homes at this time of year is at its lowest point since 2013.

"There are less people looking to sell, there are buyers who are having a hard time finding what they want to. ... You've got buyers who want to buy, but there aren't properties," PAAR CEO Dallas Hancock said.

Numbers are lower because "we can't sell what isn't there," PAAR president Suzanne Miller said in reference to the low inventory and its connection to sales numbers.

There were 1,649 sales during the second quarter of this year, compared to 1,698 in the same period last year, a decline just shy of 3%. Inventory then was substantially higher than today, with 3,037 homes listed in the second quarter of 2018 compared to 2,518 in that period this year, according to data released by PAAR.

"As everyone will recall, in 2018 the Caterpillar incentive programs were successful in creating additional activity, which we noted had increased our sales when comparing last year to 2017," Miller said, suggesting that 2017 and 2019 are closer to an apples-to-apples comparison at the mid-point in the year, without special incentives offered.

In that year, 1,596 homes were sold during the second quarter, which also showed a higher inventory of homes throughout the quarter.

"We're hopeful consumer confidence, low unemployment ... low interest rates and the many positive reports about the region will continue to spur the housing market," Miller said.

Miller also suggested that the low inventory could make the market attractive to sellers, urging those considering a sale to consult a Realtor, and to bear in mind that the local conditions in a market are more relevant than statewide or national trends.

But, because of the tight inventory, "as a buyer you might only get one shot at that (home), because there are multiple offers, so be prepared," Hancock said.

The largest gain in sales activity came for homes priced between $175,000 to $225,000.