Champaign County home sales up 15% in February

Champaign County home sales up 15% in February

CHAMPAIGN — February home sales in the Champaign County area were up about 15 percent from a year ago, but the number of pending sales was down.

A total of 125 homes were sold in February, up from 109 in February 2013, according to the Multiple Listing Service of the Champaign County Association of Realtors.

Dollar sales volume was $19.75 million in February, up 25 percent from $15.83 million a year earlier.

But pending sales — active listings under contract that are awaiting closing, usually in 30 to 60 days — fell to 176, down from 190 in February 2013.

The drop in pending sales indicates "we may see a pause in March home sales before we head into the ... spring buying season," said Phil Trautman, the association's president.

"Weather was probably the biggest factor," he said, but added it also could be just a blip in sales.

Two months into 2014, sales are running 9 percent ahead of last year in terms of numbers of homes sold and 23 percent ahead of last year in terms of dollar sales volume.

The median sales price in February was $125,000, down from $132,000 a year earlier. The median is the market price at which half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

Trautman, the broker-owner of Champaign County Realty in Champaign, said all price ranges in the market have been active, judging from reports he sees daily. As of Monday, the Multiple Listing Service had 1,334 active listings.

Mortgage rates "seem to have settled for a month or so," giving buyers added affordability, he said.

The average rate on a fixed-rate mortgage in the North Central Region of the United States, was 4.32 percent, up from 3.49 percent in February 2013, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

"The rate is increasing but stabilizing," he said, noting that lenders raise rates when demand for mortgages is up relative to supply.

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

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