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CCAR Home Sales Stayed Strong in February

Area Median Prices Report Gains and Pending Sales Increased More Than 30 Percent

Home sales dropped slightly in the Champaign County area by 4.29 percent while the median home sale price reported gains in February just before the conornavirus pandemic (COVID-19) tightened its grip on the housing market, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. During February, a total of 134 homes were sold, a decrease of 4.29 percent from 140 home sales in February of 2019.

The February median home sale price for the Champaign County area stood at $144,250, up 4.15 percent from $138,500 in February of 2019. The median is a typical market price where half the home sold for more and half sold for less. The average home sale price stood at $165,509, up 1.38 percent from $163,251 from February of 2019.

Also, during February there were 230 pending home sales reported, up by 30.7 percent from 176 pending sales in February of 2019. The sharp increase in pending sales for the month of February 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 30-year fixed rate mortgage according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation was 3.47 percent in February, down from 3.62 percent in January. In February of 2019, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.37 percent. According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.65 percent for the week ending March 19th.

“Locally, the year got off to a strong start based on both January total sales and pending sales reported during the month of February. Low interest rates, economic factors and mild weather were credited for that gain in the year-over-year increase in those homes under agreement in February,” said Julie Roth, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®.  “As concerns about COVID-19 grow in March, it’s making people more cautious about purchasing decisions and that is causing a shift in the marketplace. This economic impact could have a trailing effect on real estate and home sales.

On March 20th, Governor Pritzker issued a “Stay at Home” Executive Order requiring all Illinois residents to only leave their homes to perform “essential activities” in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The Executive Order provides that essential businesses and operations permitted includes real estate services. The Executive Order also includes appraisal and title services.

 The National Association of REALTORS® latest Economic Pulse Flash Survey conducted March 16-17 asked members questions about how the coronavirus outbreak has impacted home buyer and seller interest. Nearly half of REALTORS® 48% said home buyer interest has decreased due to the coronavirus outbreak. Almost seven in 10 REALTORS® - 69 percent—said there’s no change in the number of homes on the market due to the coronavirus outbreak, down from 87 percent a week ago.

 “The decline in confidence related to the direction of the economy coupled with the unprecedented measures taken to combat the spread of COVID-19, including major social distancing efforts nationwide, are naturally bringing an abundance of caution among buyers and sellers,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “With fewer listings in what’s already a housing shortage environment, home prices are likely to hold steady. The temporary softening of the real estate market will likely be followed by a strong rebound once the economic ‘quarantine’ is lifted, and it’s critical that supply is sufficient to meet pent-up demand.”

The inventory of homes for sale in the Champaign County area declined 11.9 percent in February to 681 listings as compared to 773 listings in February of 2019. The number of new listings increased 11.4 percent to 244 listings.

 “There is no denying the impact the coronavirus is having on our global economy, and the real estate industry is not immune,” said Roth. “People are being vigilant and are taking public safety precautions. Many are searching for homes online and even doing virtual tours rather than doing actual physical visits right now.  Activity will not come to a halt because of the Executive Order as real estate is considered an essential service. Once the all-clear signal is given and the virus situation is over, we hope to see a great rebound of activity as people search for homes. It’s possible mortgage rates could fall below 3 percent, making it a happy time for homebuyers who are waiting out this economic slowdown.”

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 March 14, 2020.

Monday, March 23, 2020/Categories: News Releases