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Real estate market shows strength in Q3

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With a 9.2 percent gain from a year earlier, home sales in the third quarter in Peoria reached their highest level for that period in eight years, according to the Peoria Area Association of Realtors. 

A total of 1,667 homes were sold in the July-September period, a gain of 9.2 percent from the 1,526 sold in the third quarter of 2014. It was the best in third quarter sales since 2007, when 1,669 sales were record, PAAR said in a news release.

 Through the first nine months of the year there have been 4,254 homes sold, or 8.2 percent more than were sold through the first three quarters of 2014, 3,931.

 The numbers were boosted by a strong September, when 514 homes were sold, a 17.4 percent increase from a year earlier, the association said.

 “There was no slowing down of the housing market in the third quarter as sales activity reached an eight year high for this quarter,” said Becky Peterson, president of the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS®. “Typically, we might see a seasonal slowdown after August but not this September. There are still a lot of buyers engaged in this market who are out there searching for the right property to take advantage of attractive market conditions in order to lock in on their home purchase and finish moving before the end of the year. 

 “For buyers, a key incentive for purchasing now is to lock in a mortgage rate at current levels, which are below 4 percent. Don’t procrastinate, the Federal Reserve is likely to raise rates in the coming months; it is just a matter of time.”

 The median home sale price — half of the homes being above and half below this price -- remained at $125,000, the same amount in the third quarter of 2014. The average sales price reported a slight gain of 0.4 percent to $151,362, compared with $150,774 in the third quarter of 2014. The inventory of homes for sale in September was 2,873, up 0.8 percent from September a year ago.

 August was the eighteenth consecutive month that unemployment rates fell in every metro area in the state compared with a year earlier, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The Peoria metro region unemployment rate stood at 6.0 percent in August, compared with 7.0 percent in August 2014.

 “We are keeping a close eye on what is happening from an employment standpoint in our marketplace as it has a direct economic impact on our local economy including the housing market. While Caterpillar is a significant employer for our metro region, the Peoria area has been very successful over the years in diversifying itself from an employment standpoint,” said Peterson.

 Caterpillar Inc. announced in late September that it will cut its workforce by 10,000 people by the end of 2018, with about half of that coming by the end of the year. It has given final 2015 numbers as yet.

 Fannie Mae’s third quarter 2015 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey revealed that more lenders report easing of mortgage lending standards across all loan types. This is the first time in seven quarters such an increase has been reported.

 The monthly average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central Region was 3.89 percent, down from 4.16 percent in September 2014, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. In August 2015 it averaged 3.90 percent.

 “Peoria area homebuyers need to check out the new consumer website at www,, incorporating everything about the Peoria area real estate market in one accessible location. The site allows consumers to conduct their own customized home search according to their lifestyle needs,” said Peterson. “Homes that are selling the fastest are those typically priced in the $125,000 to $175,000 price category. But, as the statistics illustrate, we are in the midst of one of the healthiest housing market in years.”

 PAAR will host a “Buy vs. Rent” seminar for homebuyers on Oct. 27. This free program includes a light dinner as well as presentations about the cost comparison of buying versus renting, homeownership budgeting, information on conventional mortgage loans and government mortgages with low downpayment requirements and details on downpayment assistance grant programs. Attendees can obtain a free credit report upon request as well as tips on improving your credit score.

 The seminar will be at the PAAR office at 7307 N. Willowlake Court in Peoria. To reserve a seat call (309) 688-8591.


 Fannie Mae’s third quarter 2015 Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey revealed that more


lenders report easing of mortgage lending standards across all loan types. This is the first time in seven quarters such an increase has been reported.

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).