Despite bitter weather, declining inventory levels and a slight uptick in mortgage rates, Champaign County area home sales rose again by double-digits in February, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®.
According to CCAR reports, home sales increased in February by 11.94 percent to 150 units sold over 134 sales in the same month one year ago.
The February median home sale price for the Champaign County area stood at $161,750, up 12.13 percent from $144,250 in February of 2020. The median is the typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less. The average home sale price was $187,008, up 12.99 percent from $165,509 from February of 2020.
For the first time in several months, pending home sales declined in February as 187 pending sales were reported down 13 percent from 215 pending sale in February of 2020, according to the Midwest Real Estate Data LLC. Pending sales for the month of February reflect the total number of active listings that went under contract and are awaiting a closing, usually 30 to 60 days in the future. Inventory of homes for sale dated March 19, 2021 stood at 664 properties on the market.
“Sales have been on a vigorous pace since the second half of 2020 and as we did not experience typical winter declines in sales, the spring market this year may be different than what we have experienced in the past,” said Liz McDonald, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. “We do not expect higher mortgage rates to slow the growth of sales but if the pace of new listings coming on the market does not improve, buyers could be in for a more competitive homebuying season this spring and resulting slower sales activity. There definitely is a demand for more inventory, especially in price categories below $300,000 levels.” The typical home in the CCAR market area was on the market 74 days.
The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation was 2.81 percent in February, down from 3.47 in February of 2020 and down up from 2.73 percent in January of 2021. According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage inched up further averaging 3.09 percent for the week ending March 18th.
“The rising number of COVID-19 vaccinations should alleviate sellers’ anxieties about placing their home on the market giving added incentive as really this remains one of the hottest markets for home sales,” said McDonald. “Additional inventory should come as a relief to many buyers in the coming months.”
According to Dr. Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of REALTORS®, “There will be a natural seasonal upswing in inventory in spring and summer after few new listings during the winter months. These trends, along with an anticipated ramp-up in home construction will provide for much-needed supply.” The economy is showing promising signs of improvement, according to Yun, especially in light of many millions of Americans already receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. Still, he cautioned that longer-term interest rates will soon rise, partly from the better economic prospects, but also due to rising inflationary expectations and higher budget deficits.
Millennials represent the largest share of homebuyers at 37 percent, according to the National Association of REALTORS® recent 2021 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends report. Nearly six in 10 homebuyers between the ages of 22 to 40 said just finding the right property was the most challenging step in the buying process. The largest share of all home sellers were baby boomers at 43%.
“The best thing buyers can do right now is determine features they want in a home, evaluate a price range for the home they can afford, get pre-approved for a mortgage and work with their REALTOR® to be aggressive in their offer because they might not get a second chance on the home they want,” said McDonald. “As market dynamics currently favor sellers, buyers should expect and be prepared for stiff competition in this upcoming spring market.”
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 March 14, 2021. The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is an active participant in promoting equality and inclusion as longtime champions of fair housing with equal access to housing and opportunity for all. CCAR opposes discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, & national origin.
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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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