The number of homes sold in the Champaign County area in September was roughly on par with September 2011 — but pending sales were running ahead.
The Champaign County Association of Realtors' Multiple Listing Service said 168 home sales were closed in September, compared with 169 home sales a year earlier.
Meanwhile, pending sales — listings under contract that are awaiting closing — were up nearly 15 percent from September 2011.
Sales for the first nine months of this year, in terms of units sold, outpaced the same months last year by 20 percent.
In terms of dollar volume, sales for January-to-September ran nearly 26 percent ahead of the same period in 2011.
"We are well into fall season with a strong momentum to finish the year ahead of last year's sales," association President Todd Salen said.
He said sales typically slow during the last quarter of the year after peaking in summer.
Salen said the average rate on fixed-rate mortgages in the north central region of the United States recently fell to a record-low 3.32 percent, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.
For some people, rates that low could make buying a home cheaper than renting a home, said Salen, a broker with Sperry Van Ness/Ramshaw Real Estate in Champaign.
Sales of newly constructed homes are also up this year. The association said 121 sales were reported from January to September, compared with 84 for the same months in 2011.
During the first nine months of this year, the median sales price in the Champaign County area was $140,000, up 1.8 percent from $137,500 for the same period in 2011.
The median price is the price at which half the homes sell for more and half sell for less.
The association also reported a typical home was on the market for 84 days in September, compared with 88 days in September 2011.
Certain geographic areas saw spikes in sales during September. Salen said 22 home sales were reported in the association's southern region, up from 12 a year earlier.
He said 27 home sales were reported in Urbana in September, up from 17 a year earlier.