Home sales show improvement in Q2

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'Tis the season for home sales, so the Peoria Area Association of Realtors wants you to sell your home.

Sales were up slightly in the second quarter, the association reported Tuesday, but inventory is down and agents are looking for more houses to go on the market and take advantage of buyers entering the market. Inventory of available homes is off 18.3 percent from last year, PAAR said.

"We need more inventory. We can't sell what we don't have," said John Purple, president of PAAR. "We are seeing more buyers. Houses are getting multiple offers. But people aren't listing their homes, or at least we'd like to see more.

"This is a good time to sell, without question. It's the right time of year, the number of buyers is increasing and interest rates are still low," Purple said.

There were 1,390 homes sold during the second (April, May, June ) quarter, 12 more than during the second quarter of 2012. It was the third consecutive year and fourth year in the last five that sales improved during the second quarter, PAAR statistics showed.

For the first half of 2013 there were 2,301 homes sold, compared with 2,109 through the first six months of 2012.

Sales in the first quarter of 2012 were stronger, Purple said, because the winter was much milder. The early part of the second quarter this year was hampered by flooding.

"Things are starting to pick up. The market is heating up with the weather," he said.

Still, he added, he believes consumer confidence is still shaky enough that it may be causing some would-be seller to hold off listing their home. "People watch the news, they see the worldwide economy still isn't getting stronger and that preys on their mind. And there are some people who may still be under water financially and can't afford to list yet because the value of the home hasn't improved enough," Purple said.

The area is seeing home prices rise, however, The average sale price increased in the quarter to $147,123, up from $144,776 during the second quarter of last year. The median price went from $122,000 last year to $125,000, PAAR said.

Part of that is the low inventory causing multiple bids on some properties. The low inventory also is keeping houses on the market for less time; the average time on the market fell from 100 days to 85 days in a year-to-year comparison.

Both of those factors — increasing average prices and reduced time on the market — are indicators of economic recovery. "Home sales have rebounded across the U.S. and financial experts report that the housing market is on pace to contribute positively to the (gross domestic product) in 2013. I can tell you that positive economic contribution extends to our local economy," Purple said.

He cited a local study that showed the economic impact of each home sold in the Peoria area is $20,000, which includes all expenses associated with buying and selling a home, such as remodeling, new furnishings and such. "In 2012 over 4,900 properties were sold, resulting in over $98 million being pumped into our communities," he said. "When we look at new construction the impact is amplified and begins to show up in the jobs market, increasing opportunities in construction trades."

While Purple was reluctant to make predictions about the remainder of the year, he said the trends are positive.

"We're still pretty well balanced, though we are edging slightly toward a seller's market if inventory doesn't pick up. We believe the trend is starting toward a better inventory because the third quarter has started out well. So we remain optimistic about the rest of 2013," Purple said.

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).