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Champaign County Home Sales Finish 2015 Highest Since 2007

Median Home Sale Price Up 5.64 Percent

The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® reported 2015 was the strongest year for annual home sales activity since 2007. Year-end 2015 total home sales of 2,780 units were reported up 3.96 percent from 2,674 in 2014 and the highest on record since 2007 when 2,929 home sales were reported. CCAR reports there were 233 home sales reported in December, an increase of 16.5 percent from 200 sales in the month of December 2014.

            The median home sale price for 2015 for the Champaign County area stood at $145,000 up 5.64 percent from $137,250. According to CCAR, the median home sale price for December 2015 increased 2.07 percent to $135,000 from $132,250 in December 2014. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half for less.

            "Champaign County area annual home sales rose to their highest level in eight years with positive gains also reported in the area median home sale price each month this past calendar year," said Stefanie Pratt, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. "Our pending sales volume for December shows there is a robust start to the new year with the pending home sales pace up 20 percent ahead of last year. We anticipate housing activity will grow in 2016 more modestly, driven in large part by a strengthening labor market and pent-up demand on the part of buyers including millennials who are driving much of the expanded household formations."

            The total volume of sales in Champaign County for 2015 was $461,869,424 up 7.39 percent from $430,073,021. Total volume of sales for December 2015 was $35,997,919 up 15 percent from $31,302,190.

            "The relatively mild winter weather conditions have helped sustain ongoing foot traffic as more buyers are out searching for properties to take advantage of lower mortgage rates. Improvements in the labor market and overall consumer job security and wage growth has stimulated ongoing demand for home ownership," said Pratt. "The Champaign County area also saw gains in 2015 in new home sales with 154 new construction (single-family or condominiums) sales reported, up from 127 sold in 2014. We anticipate expansion in new construction inventory in 2016 as further housing demand increases."

            Dr. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, forecasts existing home sales should rise nationally about 1 to 2 percent in 2016 to around (5.30 to 5.40) million. The national median existing home price is expected to rise 5 percent in 2016.

            According to Dr. Geoffrey Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois, median prices are forecast to continuously grow in 2016 but within a narrower range compared to 2015. On a year-over-year basis, these gains will range from 3.1 to 7.4 percent in Illinois. By December 2016, Dr. Hewings expects the statewide median price of homes to be $173,546 in Illinois. As for sales, they are forecast to experience positive gains in most months in 2016 with milder growth rates and a narrower range compared to 2015. See Dr. Hewings 2016 annual housing forecast.

            CCAR indicates there were 179 pending home sales reported for the month of December reflecting an increase of 20.13 percent from 149 pending sales reported 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 30-year fixed-rate mortgage from the North Central region, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) was 3.85 percent in December 2015 and was at that same rate reported in December 2014. Freddie Mac projects that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will average below 4.5 percent for 2016 on an annualized basis.

            City of Urbana home sales were up 6.81 percent in 2015 to 470 sales from 440 a year ago; December sales are also off to a strong start with 36 sales reported inUrbana up 33 percent from 27 a year ago. For the Champaign and Savoy region sales were up 14.77 percent in December to 101 sales from 88 a year ago and with 1,242 sales reported for the year, up 2.55 percent from 1,211 a year ago. The west region which includes Mahomet saw sales rise 22 percent in December to 44 sales from 36 in December 2014.

            "While the Federal Reserve board acted to raise short-term interest rates slightly in mid-December, we do not expect this to negatively affect housing sales. Signs are the Federal Reserve will apply a gradual and steady increase in rates so as not to derail the nation's economic recovery," said Pratt.

            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.

Friday, January 15, 2016/Categories: News Releases