According to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®, home sales (single family and condominiums) were up 13.54 percent in February with 109 sales reported compared to 96 sales in February 2012. The median sales price for homes in the Champaign area increased 11.39 percent to $132,000 from $118,500 in February 2012. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less. The average sales price rose by 6.35 percent in February to $145,206 from $136,533 in February a year ago. February marks the thirteenth straight month in which home sales were up over the prior year.
There were 199 pending sales in February, a gain of 1.53 percent from 196 in February a year ago. Year to date pending sales are up 3.79 percent from the year previous.
"The National Association of REALTORS® reports that a seller's market is developing in much of the country. Buyer traffic is on the increase which is having an impact on existing inventory levels. We need to keep pace with a sufficient inventory to maintain buyer demand as we head into the spring market when sales typically accelerate," said Todd Salen, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®.
"Homeowners who may have been sitting on the sidelines waiting to move up should consider listing their home as we are entering the peak spring buying season. At the national level, housing-affordability is still at a near-record level due in large part to low interest rates. The Champaign area as well continues to have very affordably priced housing inventory."
The average rate on a fixed rate mortgage for the North Central Region, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), was 3.49 percent in the month of February, down from 3.92 percent in February in 2012.
"The improving performance of the housing market will continue as long as interest rates remain relatively stable, and there is sustainable job growth, advances in consumer confidence and inflation remains in check. With moderately mild winter conditions, we're seeing an uptick in home construction providing additional housing inventory for many move-up buyers and helping fuel employment in construction trades," said Salen, broker with Sperry Van Ness/Ramshaw Real Estate in Champaign. The west region of the CCAR area including regions of Mahomet reported 23 sales up 91.66% from February a year ago; Champaign and Savoy sales were up 4.54% to 46 sales; Urbana sales reported sales growth of 35.71% to 19 sales. The median sale price for February for city of Urbana was up 6.46% to $84,000.
Dr. Geoffrey Hewings, Director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) Institute of Government and Public Affairs and Professor of Geography of Economics and of Urban and Regional Planning for the University of Illinois presented a housing forecast for 2013 to the CCAR REALTORS® and affiliates on February 21 at a luncheon at the Hawthorn Suites Hotel in Champaign. Dr. Hewings stated that a combination of enhanced inventory, historically low interest rates and accelerating costs of renting should fuel the housing market in 2013. According to Dr. Hewings, Illinois still needs to see a considerable increase in employment and there are concerns businesses would like to locate/expand in the state but have little faith in the state's fiscal management.
Dr. Hewings said current Illinois employment levels match those seen in the late 1990s; but there are at least five sectors with employment levels below those of 1990--manufacturing, information, construction, trade, transportation and utilities and financial activities. Illinois probably needs to add close to 647,000 jobs to achieve equivalent levels of November 2000. "Among some of the challenges the state is facing is loss of jobs, loss of people in terms of outmigration, loss of expenditure and loss of business expansion within the state," Hewings said. For the Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Statistical area, REAL forecasts that sales volume in the first quarter of 2013 will experience an 11.4-15.5 percent year-over-year gain.
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 homeownership and private property rights. Statistics were compiled from local regions of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service which covers Champaign County and surrounding areas.
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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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