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Champaign County Area Home Sales Show Slight Dip, Marginally Lower Prices in March

Two Champaign County area real estate benchmarks showed slight decreases in March compared to a year ago.

            Residential home sales dropped 2.93 percent, from 205 in March 2018 to 199 last month, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. At the same time, the median home sale price declined 2.62 percent to $145,000 from $148,900 a year ago. The average home sale price stood at $168,714, a decrease of 1.85 percent from $171,888.

            Slower sales activity in the first month of spring indicates calmer market trends for both home sellers and buyers.

            “For any properties below the median home sales price there should be strong demand. Homes are selling about as quickly as last year; the current pace gives buyers a little more time to make a decision. Sellers need to price their homes competitively and move quickly to list early if you don’t want to compete against your neighbors who are also looking to list their property as well this spring,” said Eric Porter, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. “In comparison when looking at the upper end of the market, we may see softer conditions with properties taking a bit longer to sell.”

            On an unexpected note, mortgage rates began declining at the beginning of the year, fueling demand and bringing more buyers into the market.  The average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage for the month of March according to the Federal Home Loan Corporation (Freddie Mac) was 4.26 percent, down from 4.4 percent in March 2018 and down from 4.37 percent in February of 2019. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage for the week ending April 18th was 4.17 percent according to Freddie Mac.

“The flattening home prices coupled with lower mortgage rates bodes well for housing affordability, encouraging more buyers to make their move now that  the market is blossoming in their favor this spring,” said Porter. “Lower interest rates will be a great stimulus to the market this spring and we should see an uptick in inventory of homes for sale this year as we enter the peak buying months.”

According to realtor.com, nearly 60 percent of all spring home shoppers are considering purchasing a home that needs renovation.

            “With inspiration at their fingertips – like Pinterest, Instagram and various home renovation TV shows—some home shoppers are comfortable tackling home renovation jobs to find a home that balances their needs within their budget,” said Danielle Hale, realtor.com, chief economist. According to the realtor.com home shopper survey three out of five shoppers under 55 years old are considering a home this spring that needs renovating. Middle age shoppers, 35-54 years old, were the most likely to consider a home that needs renovating, at 65 percent. Just over half of spring home shoppers considering homes in need of renovation—51 percent—are willing to spend more than $20,000 on their home renovation.

            Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS® does not anticipate any interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve in 2019. “If there is a change at all, I would say the Fed will lower interest rates in 2019 or 2020. That would stimulate the economy and the housing market,” he said in the recent NAR pending home sales report. “But the expectation is no change at all in the current monetary policy, which will help mortgage rates stay at attractive levels.”

            The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade organization serving Champaign County and surrounding areas and is the leading resource for REALTOR® members and an advocate for homeownership and private property rights. Data compiled by Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC as available on April 14, 2019.

Monday, April 22, 2019/Categories: News Releases