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CHAMPAIGN — Home sales were down 12 percent in July in Champaign County compared with a year ago, according to the Champaign County Association of Realtors.

Last month, 282 homes were sold, compared with 321 in July 2018.

And it wasn’t just a bad month; year-to-date, home sales are down 8.5 percent, with 1,654 sold so far this year compared with 1,808 through July a year ago.

Meanwhile, the median home sale price increased 2.62 percent, from $152,000 to $156,400, though the average price dropped 0.1 percent to $177,056.

“Even while we have experienced a softer housing market so far this year, we are seeing prices continue to gain traction,” said Eric Porter, president of the local realty association.

Pending home sales, or homes that are under contract and awaiting closing, were up 6.1 percent in July compared with a year ago. Some 226 were under contract last month, compared with 213 a year ago.

“With mortgage rates at near historic lows and nearly a full percentage point lower than they were last year at this time, this certainly is an attractive incentive for homebuyers,” Porter said.

The average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage in July was 3.76 percent, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, down from 3.80 percent the previous month and 4.52 percent a year ago.