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October Median Home Sales Price Increases 4.92 Percent

While Area Home Sales Cool

The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® reported steady increases in median home sale prices while home sales totals experienced a seasonal slowdown in October. Year-to-date home sales are still on a pace ahead of last year, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®.

            For the month of October, a total of 171 sales (single family and condominiums) were reported for the Champaign County area compared to 216 sales reported in October 2014. A total of 2,387 homes have been reported sold year-to-date through October as compared to 2,308 in the same period a year ago, a gain of 3.42 percent. The City of Urbana home sales was one of the strongest in the region with 35 sales reported in October, up 12.90 percent from 31 sales a year ago.

            The October median home sales price in the Champaign County area (for all single-family homes and condominiums) was $138,500 up 4.92 percent from $132,000 in October 2014. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less. The median home sales price year-to-date is $147,000 up 6.52 percent from $138,000 a year ago.

            "It is not uncommon to see a seasonal slowdown in the fall months and this year was hard to outpace substantial gains reported last October (up 28 percent). We just had the best September in nine years so it is not unusual to see a drop off in sales activity following that sizeable sales volume. So far we have seen increases in home sales activity in six out of ten months this year and total home sales are currently on pace to be ahead of last year's level," said Stefanie Pratt, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. "We anticipate buyer demand should stay healthy this fall as interest rates continue to hover below 4 percent with no significant rate increases on the horizon at least until the Federal Open Market Committee meets again in December to consider their rate strategy.

            "The Champaign-Urbana area job market has showed continual improvement which is a bonus for our local economy and buyer consumer confidence.

A top factor for buyers considering whether to purchase now is the potential impact of rising rents which could rise as much as much as 8 percent nationally so you are better off financially if you can buy as soon as you can to put that money towards your own home equity."

            Total dollar sales volume for residential sales for the month of October this year was $28,112,573 down 17.47 percent from $34,067,553. Year-to-date sales volume stood at $400,441,153 up 7.44 percent compared to $372,701,636 a year ago.

            There were 208 pending home sales reported for the month of October, reflecting an increase of 3.48 percent from 201 pending home sales reported in October 2014. Pending sales for the month of October reflect the number of activity listings that went under contract and are awaiting closing, usually 30 to 60 days in the future.

            As of November 19, there were 1,377 residential homes listed on the market in the Champaign County area, down from 1,407 reported on October 11, 2015.

            Pratt indicates the Federal Housing Administration has published new guidelines under its condominium approval process intended to increase affordable housing options for first-time and low-to-moderate income buyers. The new guidelines were announced at the National Association of REALTORS® Conference and Expo in San Diego on November 12th by Federal Housing Administration Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Ed Golding.  Those include changes to the lengthy and complex recertification process, burdensome owner-occupancy requirements and limits on the types of property insurance that are considered acceptable coverage under FHA's rules. The Federal Housing Administration announced changes to the FHA condo financing rules that will be effective immediately in its recently released mortgage letter. Effective immediately, FHA will streamline the condominium recertification process and expand its definition of acceptable "owner-occupied" units to include second homes not owned by investors. These provisions are set to be in place for one year until the agency can implement a more comprehensive condominium rule change.

            "Condos are an affordable option for homebuyers, especially first-time buyers, and making sure FHA financing is an option is vitally important in supporting homeownership. The changes could qualify more condo complexes for FHA loans," said Pratt, a broker with Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell in Champaign.

            National Association of REALTORS® presented an economic forecast at the 2015 REALTORS® Conference and Expo in San Diego on November 13. According to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, national existing home sales this year are expected to finish 2015 at a pace of 5.30 million and then expand 3 percent to around 5.45 million in 2016. The national median home price is expected to rise to around 6 percent this year before slightly moderating to around 5 percent in 2016. According to the 2015 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, first time buyers made up 32 percent of all home buyers nationally, down from 33 percent last year due to tight underwriting standards and reduced inventory on starter homes and weaker wage growth. The typical buyer in 2015 was 44 years old, while the median age of a first-time buyer was 31 years  old.

            The average commitment rate for the North Central region for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation was 3.76 percent for the month of October, down from 3.98 percent from October 2014 and down from 3.89 percent in September this year.

            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 home ownership 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.

Friday, November 20, 2015/Categories: News Releases