CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign County Association of Realtors (CCAR) reported the first uptick in six months in the county’s home sales, as inventory begins to grow.

The association said comparable home sales increased slightly by .48% as sales rose to 210 units in March 2023 from 209 units in March 2022.

Association officials said the monthly median home sale price, the typical market price in which half the homes sold for more than a certain price and half for less than that price, in March totaled $174,950. It was 7.99% higher than the March 2022 price of $162,000.

However, the average home sale price last month was $206,344. Though it is around $31,000 more than the median home sale price, officials said it’s a 1.63% decrease from the $209,753 average home sale price last March.

CCAR said area homes are staying on the market a bit longer for an average of 50 days, an increase from 44 days in March 2022.

Last month, the CCAR said the number of newly listed homes for sale declined by 25% compared to the same time last year.

“Inventory levels are still pretty limited and as mortgage rates trended down in the last month there is pent-up demand on the part of buyers who are eager to take advantage of this spring housing market,” said PJ Trautman, president of CCAR. “As warmer temperatures have arrived, buyers are out house-hunting and this presents an opportune time for sellers as many are receiving multiple offers.”

Association officials said inventory for homes for sale as of April 1 is a total of 635 properties, an increase from last month’s inventory of 561 properties. CCAR said inventory levels were a total of 777 properties last year at this time.

Finances, including mortgage rates, are another factor impacting home sales in Champaign County. CCAR said the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, was 6.54% in March, an increase from 6.26% in February, and an increase from 4.42% in March 2022. Officials said the 30-year fixed rate for the week ending April 20 averaged 6.39%, the first gain in five weeks.

According to Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC for Champaign County, CCAR said pending home sales declined 25% to 194 sales in March 2023 from 260 sales in March 2022. They said the pending sales reflect the total number of active listings that went under contract and are awaiting closing usually 30-60 days in the future.

Dr. Lawrence Yun, the chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, said calmer inflation means lower mortgage rates eventually. CCAR said Yun indicates that mortgage rates could decrease to under 6% by year’s end.

“Home sales are trying to recover and are highly sensitive to changes in mortgage rates,” said Yun. “Yet, at the same time, multiple offers on starter homes are quite common, implying more supply is needed to fully satisfy demand. It’s a unique housing market.”

CCAR said the National Association of Realtors reported baby boomers now make up 39% of home buyers, the largest of any generation, which is an increase of 29% from last year. Officials said baby boomers have surpassed millennials as the largest generation of homebuyers.

“This spring promises to be another tight inventory market with strong competition on behalf of buyers for properties,” said Trautman. “Even though we had an uptick in inventory from last month, we still have a way to go in terms of building a more balanced market.”

Data was compiled by Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC made available on April 14.