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Champaign County Area Home Sales Steadily Improve in March

Housing Market Optimism Energized by Lower Interest Rates

Champaign County area home sales steadily improved in March while the number of pending home sales surged ahead, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®.

For the month of March, a total of 203 homes were sold as compared to 195 in the same month in 2015, a gain of 4.1%.   Pending home sales, a forward looking indicator, were up 31.40 percent in the Champaign County area in March. There were 364 pending home sales reported in March, up from 277 reported in March 2015. The March median home sales price in the Champaign area (for all single family homes and condominiums) was $145,000, up 1.75 percent from $142,500 a year ago. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less. The median price year-to-date is $135,000 down 6.57 percent from $144,500 a year ago.

            CCAR year-to-date home sales through March of 2016 totaled 499 reflecting an increase of 7.77 percent from 463 home sales a year ago.  As of April 15th, there were 1,375 single-family residential listings on the market.

            "It's not surprising that contract signings are up with all of the positive indicators for housing, including the fact interest rates dropped last week to the lowest level since February of last year," said Stefanie Pratt, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. "With increased buyer demand, it is not unusual to see some homes sold within minutes and hours. We are seeing cases where people are getting homes listed on the market and sold that same day."

            Total dollar sales volume for residential real estate sales for the month of March was $31,819,914 up 8.88 percent from $29,223,576 in March 2015. Year-to-date dollar sales volume stood at $76,768,337 up 7.42 percent from $71,465,570 through March 2015.

            Urbana home sales were higher in March with 39 home sales reported versus 37 in March a year ago, up 5.40 percent. The Champaign/Savoy region reported 85 home sales as compared to 78 home sales in March 2015, a gain of 8.97 percent.

            The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) was 3.70 percent in the month of March, down from 3.75 percent in March 2015 and up from 3.66 in the month of February.

            "Sustained job creation and the low cost of obtaining a mortgage continue to support housing demand," said Pratt, a broker with Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell of Champaign. "With the Spring and Summer months coming, we are optimistic that 2016 will be another good year for home sales in the Champaign county region. The biggest challenge is making sure that inventory levels keep pace with demand from the numbers of buyers.  Buyers need to be ready for some competition in their bid for properties and should be pre-approved for a mortgage prior to home shopping."      

            In the latest Freddie Mac March forecast, this year is shaping up to be the best year for housing in a decade. Home sales, construction housing starts and house prices are set to reach decade-level highs, according to the Freddie Mac forecast.

            "The housing market in Illinois continues to record comfortable increases in both sales and prices," notes Geoffrey J. D. Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois in his March housing forecast.

            The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is hosting a Spring Open House Event on April 24th. REALTORS® are inviting sellers to open doors to spotlight their homes and be among 100 open houses in the Champaign county area on that day. Buyers can check out open houses scheduled in the Champaign County area at www.illiniopenhouses.com. The new website is devoted exclusively for buyers to check out facts on upcoming open houses. The site gives property details, property photos and links to more facts and features on the property including the date and exact times for open houses scheduled.

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

Monday, April 18, 2016/Categories: News Releases