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Low Mortgage Rates Fueling Home Sales

Median Home Sale Price Increases 6.61 Percent in January

           With 30-year fixed mortgage rates at below 4 percent, home sales bounced back in January after a slight drop in December, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®.

            A total of 148 homes were sold in January, up 14.72 percent from 129 home sold in January of 2014. The median home sale price (for all single-family homes and condominiums) during January 2015 was $145,000, up 6.61 percent from $136,000.

            Pending sales, a forward-looking indicator, also were up 14.54 percent. There were 189 pending sales reported in January, up from 165 in January 2014. Pending sales reflect the number of active listings that went under contract and are awaiting closing (usually 30 to 60 days in the future).

            Dollar sales volume for the month of January stood at $23,042,094 up 13.64 percent from $20,275,999 in January 2014.

            "While spring officially starts in five weeks the home sales market in the Champaign County area is proving that winter is not a slow time. There is no time like the present for sellers to get their home listed and on the market. Inventory levels need to keep pace with the numbers of buyers who are ready to make their home purchase," said Jeffrey Barkstall, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. "Interest rates are almost a full percentage point lower than they were a year ago and that is helping to improve buyer affordability."

            Champaign and Savoy region sales were up 31.57 percent to 75 sales in January from 57 sales a year ago. The west region, which includes Mahomet saw sales rise 31.25 percent in January to 21 sales from 16 a year ago.

            "Renters being squeezed by higher rent payments need to investigate their buying potential. Consumers are saving dollars at the gasoline pump, and combined with an improving financial outlook and job market, this is giving a much-needed confidence boost to the area housing market," said Barkstall. "There are mortgage options available with as little as three percent down making buying increasingly attractive this year for many first-time buyers who are looking at keeping their monthly payments fixed."

            A Feb. 4th study by RealtyTrac reported that out of more than 78 million U.S. single family homes and condos in 1,792 counties, more than 68 million (87 percent) would qualify for a down payment assistance program available in the county where they are located. See study.

            The average fixed rate mortgage for the North Central Region, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) was 3.65 percent in January, down from 4.43 percent in January a year ago and down from 3.85 percent in December of 2014.

            "The Champaign-Urbana metro area continues to have among the largest percent increases in job growth for all metros statewide," said Barkstall. "We are seeing sustained growth in our median home sales price. Housing starts are expected to ramp up this year and we are already starting to see signs of expansion of new construction in the Champaign County area. Nationally, housing starts are expected to rise sharply by some 30 percent this year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. This will also help to improve the total housing inventory available to buyers and will work to further strengthen the area's housing recovery."

            According to the January University of Illinois Regional Economics Applications Laboratory, the statewide sales forecast for January, February and March 2015 suggests positive year-over-year growth. The three-month average forecasts point to an increase in home sales between 7.1 percent and 9.3 percent for Illinois.

            The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade organization serving Champaign County and surrounding area 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.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015/Categories: News Releases