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Champaign County Area Home Sales Spring Forward in March

Area Sees Double-Digit Gains in Median Home Sale Price

          Home sales in the Champaign County area surged forward in March signaling a healthy start to the spring housing market, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®.

          CCAR reported double-digit gains in residential home sale activity. The number of home sales in March totaled 194, up 12.79 percent from 172 sales in March 2014. Year-to-date home sales through March of 2015 totaled 462, an increase of 8.19 percent from 427 sales at the same time last year.

          The median home sale price (for all single-family homes and condominiums) was $143,500 up 16.43 percent from $123,250 in March from a year ago. The year-to-date median sale price through March of 2015 was $144,500, reflecting an increase of 14.91 percent from the median price of $125,750 reported during the same period in 2014.  

          As of April 8, there were 1,315 single-family residential listings on the market up from 1,250 reported in February. Home sales priced between $100,000-$250,000 represented 56 percent of the market up from 48 percent a year ago.

          "This is a phenomenal way to start the year with the strong pace of sales activity and median price growth in the first quarter. We are starting to see more inventory come onto the market that bodes well for buyers who are out searching for the right property right now," said Jeffrey Barkstall, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. "Interest rates are projected to move up by the end of the year so waiting to buy could impact your overall affordability."

          There were 289 pending sales reported in March, up 2.12 percent from 283 pending sales reported during March of 2014. Pending sales reflect the number of active listings that went under contract and are awaiting closing, usually 30 to 60 days in the future.

          Dollar sales volume for the month of March stood at $29,180,596 up 20.43 percent from $24,230,207 from March a year ago. Total sales volume year-to-date stood at $71,422,590 up 11.01 percent from $64,333,216.

          "The first-time homebuyer level of activity is influencing the overall expansion of the housing market. As more first-time buyers make headway into the market, and start representing a greater percentage share of buyers, their push will progressively affect sales at all ranges of the market," said Barkstall, a broker with Century 21 Heartland Real Estate in Champaign.  "While many first-time homebuyers continue to face challenges to obtain financing under tougher and more cautious underwriting standards--the recently launched three percent down payment mortgage programs, from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should help to boost sales for those buyers this spring who meet qualifying standards. These lower-down payment products are needed to help first-time buyers ease into the market so they can join the ranks of homeownership."

          According to a National Association of REALTORS® study, accelerating housing costs have renters feeling the squeeze. According to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, the disparity between rent and income growth has widened to unhealthy levels and is making it harder for renters to become homeowners. "In the past five years, a typical rent rose 15 percent while the income of renters grew by only 11 percent," Yun said.

          The average rate on a fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central Region, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) was 3.75 percent in the month of March, down from 4.36 percent from March 2014 and up from 3.68 percent in February.

          The city of Urbana region home sales were up 8.82 percent from a year ago. Urbana reported 37 home sales versus 34 a year ago. The Champaign/Savoy region reported 78 sales a gain of 14.70 percent from 68 home sales a year ago. The west region, including Mahomet, reported a gain of 3.57 percent in home sale activity to 29 sales from 28 sales a year ago.

          The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade organization serving the Champaign County and surrounding areas, and is the leading resource for REALTOR® members and an advocate for home ownership and private property rights. Statistics were compiled from local regions of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service, which includes Champaign County and surrounding areas.

Thursday, April 9, 2015/Categories: News Releases