June home sales spike over '14

June home sales spike over '14

CHAMPAIGN — June home sales in the Champaign County area were up substantially from a year earlier, according to the Champaign County Association of Realtors.

The number of homes sold in June was up 13.6 percent from 2014, while dollar sales volume was up 15 percent, figures from the association's Multiple Listing Service show.

"The home-sales momentum was definitely stronger in June, reversing the trend from the tempered sales pace we experienced this spring," said association President Jeffrey Barkstall.

Barkstall said he was "a little surprised" by the jump because June "felt a little slower" to him. But pending sales in May had indicated that June could well register an increased in closed sales.

Nationally, Barkstall said, first-time home buyers are representing a larger segment of the housing market, accounting for 32 percent of the market in May.

"Those are the kind of numbers we need," he said, noting that purchases by first-time home buyers enable the previous owners of those homes to buy larger houses.

"It opens up our economy as well," he said. "You always have trickle down (to other parts of the economy) any time you have a transaction as large as a home purchase."

However, real estate agents are wary of the effects that budget battles in Springfield may have on would-be home buyers..

"The state government budget impasse in Springfield is putting a few buyers on edge, especially those who rely on state government funding for a regular paycheck and are unsure of the long-term effects of an extended, unresolved state budget," Barkstall said.

He said he hopes an agreement is reached soon so no "unnecessary disruptions" occur.

"A lot of people are in a holding pattern to see what happens. If they have uncertainty about their job, they don't make a major purchase unless it's required," Barkstall said.

"For the current time, we remain optimistic that home sales will stay strong through the remaining summer months in the Champaign County region," he added.

Areas to the south and west of Champaign-Urbana enjoyed particularly strong sales in June. The western region, which includes Monticello and Mahomet, saw a 43 percent jump from a year ago, while the southern region, including Tolono and Tuscola, had a 71 percent jump.

Sales in the Champaign and Savoy region were up 6.3 percent from a year ago, while sales in Urbana were up about 9 percent.

"Mahomet has been a strong market, and Savoy has been a tremendously strong market for us," said Barkstall, a broker with Century 21 Heartland Real Estate in Champaign.

The median home price in the Champaign County area in June was $149,900, up 6.5 percent from a year earlier. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less. It was the ninth month in a row the median home sale price has increased.

The association said 319 home sales were pending in June, up from 284 pending sales a year earlier. Pending sales reflect the number of active listings that went under contract and are awaiting closing, usually in 30 to 60 days.

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