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May Home Sales Up Notably in Champaign Area

Strong buyer demand for housing continues to drive home sales in the Champaign County area. Home sales were up 10.94 percent in May with 294 reported sales compared to 265 sales in May 2012, according to the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®.

The median home sales price in the Champaign County area for May was  $130,437 down 4.09 percent from $136,000 a year ago. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less. Year-to-date sales dollar volume of sales is $135,032,591, up 5.90 percent from $127,503,551 a year ago. A total of 888 homes have been sold year-to-date, up 8.42 percent from 819 homes a year ago.

There were 319 pending sales in May, a gain of 12.72 percent from the previous year. Forty-seven percent of homes sold in Champaign County and surrounding areas during May were priced between $100,000-$200,000.

"Pent-up buyer demand and tight inventory will soon translate into higher prices. Buying sooner rather than later can lead to substantial savings to avoid having to pay higher mortgage payments in the future," said Todd Salen, president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS®. "Lower mortgage rates have helped boost buyer affordability, but there is a strong indication that mortgage rates will increase in the second half of the year. The National Association of REALTORS predicts that interest rates could be near 5 percent at this time next year. Higher mortgage rates will mean that higher income will be needed for the same priced home bought today."

The University of Illinois Regional Economics Laboratory predicts that for the second quarter of 2013, Illinois is forecast to show little change (-0.3% to -0.4%) in the three months sales volume on a year-to-year basis.  The statewide median price forecast indicates a generally positive trend with annual change rates of -0.2% to 2.2% in Q2 2013.

The average fixed rate mortgage for the North Central region, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortage Corporation (Freddie Mac) was 3.6 percent for the month of May. A year ago the fixed rate mortgage was 3.83 percent. The Illinois Department of Employment Security reported the Champaign-Urbana employment data improved in April by a gain of 1.0% with +1,100 jobs reported for an employment rate of 6.6% versus 7.1% last April.

The north region which includes Rantoul, reported 22 sales an increase of 4.76 percent over a year ago. The east region, which includes St. Joseph and Ogden, reported 23 sales. The south region reported 30 sales; the west region, including Mahomet reported 31 sales. The city of Champaign and Savoy reported 140 sales, a gain of 8.52 percent from a year ago. The city of Urbana had 48 sales, a gain of 50 percent from 32 sales a year ago.

According to the most recent Fannie Mae 2013 National Housing Survey, more than half of Americans now expect the country's home prices to rise within the next year. The share of people who say home prices will go up in the 12 months hit a survey high of 51 percent, while those who believe home prices will go down remained at a survey low of 10 percent.

"With housing inventory levels dipping lower, the balance is now strongly in favor of sellers. The decade lull we've had in new home construction needs to reverse course to help balance out the shortage of inventory," said Salen, broker with Sperry Van Ness/Ramshaw Real Estate in Champaign. "Buyers are having to act quickly in their decision-making to make an offer in this market. Both buyers and sellers need the assistance of a REALTOR® to help with contract and negotiations."

Nationally, median days on market dropped to 46 days compared to 83 days a year ago. Pending home sales are the highest they have been nationally in three years, immediately before the deadline for the home buyer tax credit.

The Champaign County Association of REALTORS® is a voluntary trade organization serving the Champaign County and surrounding areas and is the leading resource for REALTORS® 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.

Thursday, June 6, 2013/Categories: News Releases