Home sales continued to show solid growth in the Champaign County area in March as sales increased for the fourth month in a row. According to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS® home sales increased 8.12 percent to 173 home sales from 160 sales in March 2013. Home sales reported year-to-date are 8.65 percent ahead of last year with 427 sales as compared to 393 sales year-to-date in 2013.
The median home sale price in the Champaign area showed a decrease of 7.54 percent to $122,500 from $132,500 in March a year ago. There were 288 pending sales in March, an increase of 15.47 percent from 252 sales in March a year ago. Year-to-date pending sales are up 6.89% from the previous year.
Dollar sales volume for the month of March stood at $24,157,207 up 0.38 percent from $24,063,897 from March a year ago. Total sales volume year-to-date stood at $64,181,416.00 up 13.25 percent from $56,666,554.00 in March 2013.
"March typically is the start to the spring homebuying season when we start to see an increase in home sale activity; but this year we have seen continued gains in sales in the Champaign area throughout the winter months which is different than what is occurring in other parts of the state. These solid sales figures continually reinforce the Champaign County market's stabilization and overall confidence in the housing market in our area," said Phil Trautman, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. "Homebuyers are starting to pick up on their interest in purchasing due to rising interest rates, knowing that the longer they delay it will affect their long-term affordability."
The average rate on a fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central Region, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) was 4.36 percent in the month of March, up from 4.32 percent in February and up from 3.54 percent in March 2013.
The city of Urbana region home sales were up 36 percent from a year ago. Urbana reporting 34 sales, up from 25 sales in March a year ago. The north region which includes the city of Rantoul, reported 21 sales up, from 11 year a ago. The west region, including Mahomet, reported sales gains up 45 percent to 29 sales from 20 sales a year ago.
"Despite extreme winter weather conditions, the Champaign market has remained strong proving there is built-up demand in the market and buyers were braving the cold and are eager to hit the streets to find the home of their dreams," said Trautman, managing broker-owner and Senior Appraiser of Champaign County Realty and Appraisals by Trautman. "There definitely is room for more inventory to be on the market. Hesitating to make an offer in this market may mean that you could miss your chance that the property you are really interested in could be easily snatched up by another buyer due to the demand we are seeing. The long term outlook for improving market conditions is bright as long as employment conditions continue to remain solid and improve. As temperatures begin heating up, sellers who have been waiting on the sidelines may want to meet with their REALTOR® and list soon to get their house in the market before the competition heats up."
The Illinois Department of Employment Security reported the Champaign-Urbana area was one of four metro regions which reported job growth in February. Champaign-Urbana had job growth of 1.6 percent with an additional 1,700 jobs reported in February, according to IDES.
On April 1, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced the formation of the new Welcome Home Illinois mortgage program specifically targeted to first-time buyers. The program provides $7,500 in down-payment assistance with an interest rate as low as 3.99 percent for a secure, 30-year fixed rate mortgage. The program is administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority. See more at Welcome Home Illinois. Home loans are limited to a first-come first-served basis.
"This is a special program for first-time buyers to lock in at a low long term interest rate with downpayment assistance," said Trautman. "Programs like these are needed to help more first-time buyers who are having difficulty facing hurdles to meet downpayment requirements and other tight debt-to-income restrictions."
The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade organization serving the Champaign County and surrounding areas, and is the leading resource for REALTOR® members and an advocate for homeoownership and private property rights. Statistics were compiled from local regions of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service, which covers Champaign County and surrounding areas.
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The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is the "Voice for Real Estate" in the Champaign County area of Illinois, whose over 400 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. CCAR was chartered in 1917.
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