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
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.
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The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is the "Voice for Real Estate" in the Champaign County area of Illinois, whose over 400 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. CCAR was chartered in 1917.
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