Home sales up almost 9 percent in 2013

Home sales up almost 9 percent in 2013

CHAMPAIGN — Home sales in the Champaign County area rose by nearly 9 percent last year, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Champaign County Association of Realtors.

The association's Multiple Listing Service reported 2,599 sales of single-family homes and condominiums in 2013, up from 2,385 sales in 2012.

The dollar volume of those 2013 sales was $404 million, up about 6 percent from $380 million in 2012.

Phil Trautman, the association's president, said he expects the housing recovery to continue this year.

"Looking forward to 2014, we do not expect higher mortgage rates to have a negative consequence on the housing market as buyer demand is still very healthy," he said.

The year finished on a strong note with 202 sales in December, up from 151 sales in December 2012 — an increase of nearly 34 percent.

The dollar volume of those sales was nearly $28 million, up from $23.1 million in December 2012.

Pending sales in December indicated momentum going into the new year. There were 140 pending sales in December, up from 131 in December 2012.

Pending sales reflect the number of active listings under contract that are awaiting closing — usually 30 to 60 days in the future.

For houses with active listings in December, the average time on the market was 136 days, Trautman said.

Though sales for the year were strong, the median price for homes in 2013 was down slightly from 2012. The median price — the point at which half the homes sold for more than that amount and half sold for less — was $135,000, down about 3.6 percent from $140,000 in 2012.

Trautman said one reason the median price dropped amid increasing sales is that more people are looking for lower-priced rental homes for investment income.

Investors aren't getting much on bank deposits so they're turning to real estate for better returns, he said.

Buyers of higher-priced homes got into the market much earlier, taking advantage of huge price adjustments when the market was soft, he said.

"We should expect to see an uptick in price growth in the next year due to increased demand for properties," Trautman said. "At the same time, expect fewer bidding wars as the market calms down to a more even pace in terms of sales activity."

Trautman, broker-owner of Champaign County Realty in Champaign, said a gradual rise in interest rates in 2014 could dent the affordability of buying a home.

"Buyers should know it could be a more challenging market with higher interest rates," he said. "Whether a first-time or move-up buyer, buyers should consider a move early in 2014 as mortgage rates are expected to continue to increase as the year progresses."

That could lead to higher housing payments for some buyers, he added.

According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., the average rate on a fixed-rate mortgage in the nation's North Central Region was 4.47 percent in December, up from 4.27 percent in November and 3.32 percent in December 2012.

The Champaign County Multiple Listing Service takes in not only Champaign County but also Piatt, northern Douglas, southern Ford and western Vermilion counties.

BEST SELLERS

A search of the Champaign County Multiple Listing Service database shows 25 houses that sold for $500,000 or more in 2013. The highlights:

THE PRICIEST

A five-bedroom, 41/2 bathroom house at 4508 Southford Trace Drive in Champaign's Trails at Brittany subdivision that was listed for $889,000 — and sold for that price on May 31.

RUNNERS-UP

— A four-bedroom, four-bathroom house at 1952 County Road 0E southwest of Mahomet that was listed for $850,000 and sold for $840,000 on Feb. 15.

— A four-bedroom, 31/2-bathroom house at 1402 Waverly Drive in Champaign (just west of the Champaign Country Club) that was listed for $850,000 and sold for $750,000 on Sept. 24.

— Two other houses sold for more than $700,000, and nine other houses sold for more than $600,000, according to the database.

FUN FACTS

— Two other houses sold for more than $700,000, and nine other houses sold for more than $600,000, according to the database.

— Of the 25 homes selling for more than $500,000, 13 had Champaign addresses, seven had Mahomet addresses and two had Urbana addresses. Houses with Dewey, Mansfield and Homer addresses accounted for the other three.

Sections (2):News, Business
Topics (2):Economy, Housing

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