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COVID-19 Does Little to Slow Champaign County Area Home Sales

Home Sales Up 12 Percent in April While the Area Median Price Rose 6.03 Percent

As the nation braced for an anticipated downturn in the housing market due to the first full month of stay-in-home orders, the Champaign County area housing market defied all odds as home sales remained in positive territory during the month of April.

Champaign County area home sales increased 12.07 percent compared to April 2019 while both the median and average home sale prices rose during the month as well, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. CCAR reported there were 260 home sales in April, up 12.07 percent from 232 sales reported in April 2019.

The April median home sale price for the Champaign County area stood at $158,250 up 6.03 percent from $149,250 in April of 2019. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half for less.

The average home sale price also saw gains of 1.76 percent to $181,306 from $178,169 in April 2019.Year-to-date home sales for 2020 though the month of April stood at 749, up 8.87 percent over the same period in the previous year when there were 688 home sales.  

“Even as the coronavirus has caused retraction in our economy, the Champaign County area housing market was able to remain resilient during April, the first full month of the stay-at-home order, as sales were much better than expected,” said Julie Roth, president of the Champaign County Area Association of REALTORS®. “Real estate is an essential service and sales continued to remain in positive territory unlike other areas of the state and country that saw major declines.”

 According to Midwest Real Estate Data LLC, during April there were 253 pending home sales reported in Champaign County, down 12.5 percent from 289 pending sales in April of 2019. Pending sales for the month of April reflect the total number of active listings that went under contract and are awaiting closing, usually 30 to 60 days in the future.  As of May 20th, there were 1,206 residential homes listed on the market in the Champaign County area.

Acknowledging the many unknowns in relation to the COVID-19 virus, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS® predicts that steady and even rising home prices could point toward healthy home sales numbers once the economy reopens. At the National Association of REALTORS® Legislative Meetings on May 13th, Yun reported, “People are upgrading their homes. When the market reopens, that housing will go up in value. People are remodeling, working on lawn care. All things you do to sell a home.”

The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation was 3.3 percent in April, down from 3.45 percent in March of this year and down from 4.14 percent in April of 2019. According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.28 percent for the week ending May 14, 2020.

“REALTORS® continues to adapt to the current environment by conducting business using technologies such as virtual showings and e-signings to help buyers and sellers with their housing needs in the face of the pandemic challenges,” said Roth. “When the state slowly and safely reopens, those buyers and sellers who have delayed their decision may bring a surge to the housing market because of their pent-up demand. We anticipate social distancing, higher than normal unemployment and overall economic activity may tighten real estate activity in the near term, especially during the second quarter. Once the third quarter rolls around we are hopeful it will seem more like summer with an uptick in sales activity as long as listing inventory keeps pace with buyer demand.  During this stay-at-home period, homeowners have had time to evaluate what they like and don’t like about their existing home and some may opt to do some modifications to their homes while others may choose to sell and find a new home entirely and that will add to increased inventory from what is currently on the market.”

An updated realtor.com forecast projects mortgage rates will drop to new lows below 3 percent by the end of the year, primarily driven by an accommodating Fed and tepid economic outlook. Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com, predicts while rates will be favorable, the qualifying criteria will be tougher than normal as lenders seek to mitigate their own risks amid the unfolding economic uncertainty globally.

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 was compiled by Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC as available on May 14, 2020.

Thursday, May 21, 2020/Categories: News Releases