Residential home sale activity in the Champaign County area increased 2.84 percent in 2014 over previous-year levels, while the area median price increased 1.85 percent, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®.
The median home sale price for 2014 for the Champaign County area stood at $137,500 up 1.85 percent from $135,000.
According to CCAR, the median home sale price for December 2014 reported even stronger gains up 13.08 percent to $132,250 from $116,950 in December 2013. There were 200 homes (single-family and condominiums) sold in the Champaign County area in December 2014, off less than one percent (-0.99) or by two homes from 202 homes sold in December 2013.
"The Champaign County area had a good year in terms of home sale activity even as we headed into the winter months, despite projections that home sales might be weaker in 2014. The outlook for 2015 definitely looks brighter. If economic conditions continue to improve that should lead to more demand for housing in 2015," said Jeffrey Barkstall, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®,. "The further expansion in the Champaign-Urbana economy and continued job creation within the region, along with incredibly low interest rates, definitely played a significant part in boosting home sales activity in our area while other areas of the state reported sluggish sales growth. Foot traffic and the current pending home sales activity point to the fact buyers are still staying motivated and engaged in this market, which should lead to a strong first quarter, unless weather factors impede buying activity. In 2015, the millennial generation and especially first time-buyers are expected to be a driving force in the housing market, especially as we see gains in household formation."
The total volume of sales in Champaign County for 2014 was $430,160,621.00, up 6.43 percent from $404,143,144.00 in 2013. Total volume of sales for December 2014 was $31,300,690.00 up 11.82 percent from December 2013 at $27,990,947.00.
Dr. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS® forecasts existing home sales should rise nationally about 7 percent in 2015 to 5.30 million.
According to CCAR, there were 154 pending sales reported for the month of December, reflecting an increase of 10.79 percent during the same period a year ago. Pending sales for the month of December, reflect the total number of active listings that went under contract and are awaiting closing, usually 30 to 60 days in the future.
The average rate on a fixed mortgage from the North Central Region, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) was 3.85 percent in December 2014 down from 4.48 percent in December 2013. The rate was 3.98 percent in November 2014.
Champaign and Savoy region sales were up 7.31 percent to 88 sales in December from 82 sales in December a year ago. The east region, which includes St. Joseph and Ogden, reported 15 sales in December as compared to 6 sales a year ago in December. The west region, which includes Mahomet saw sales rise 5.88 percent in December to 36 sales from 34 sales a year ago.
"Many economists predict that mortgage rates will be on the move upward this year. The National Association of REALTORS® projects 30-year fixed rate mortgages could reach 5% by the end of 2015," said Barkstall, a broker with Century 21 Heartland Real Estate in Champaign. "Potential buyers and existing homeowners should take advantage of the current low rates before they inch up higher."
Barkstall adds there is good news on the mortgage lending front as both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced in December that first-time home buyers can now qualify for loans with down payments as low as three percent. Freddie Mac launched Home Possible Advantage program, a conventional mortgage with a three percent down-payment while Fannie Mae launched its own program allowing for a downpayment as low as three percent.
"That will help to expand credit opportunities for many buyers who may have been sidelined because of higher downpayment requirements," said Barkstall. "We can't get more move-up buyers engaged if we don't have first-time buyers entering the market."
The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade association serving Champaign County and surrounding areas, and is the leading resource for REALTOR® members and an advocate for homeownership 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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