PEORIA – Despite some of the most challenging obstacles in recent history, area home sales were down just 3.1 percent for the second quarter of this year, according to the Peoria Area Association of Realtors.Home sales for April, May and June, months when restrictions accompanying the lock-down ordered by the state of Illinois were in full effect, totaled 1,633, compared to 1,685 for the second quarter in 2019.Where the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt the most is in the number of homes for sale: only 1,808 homes were available for sale in this market at the end of June, a 30 percent decline from the 2,589 that were on the market in the second quarter last year.“Our biggest need right now is inventory. We have a lot of buyers. We just don’t have the inventory,” said PAAR President Kendra Sipes.“We started the year with low inventory and, with all that’s happened with the virus, the market’s down to some of the lowest numbers we’ve seen in the last couple of years,” she said.Sipes said that sellers may be hesitant to put homes on the market. “But it’s a seller’s market right now since buyers don’t have as many homes to look at,” she said.The median sales price for homes sold in the second quarter was $127,500, up from $120,000 for the same period last year, while the average sales price was $146,782, an increase from $142,032, said Sipes.
With record low interest rates in effect, the national housing market has shown positive signs of recovery despite a difficult spring, said the PAAR president.
PAAR responded in the spring with special precautions. Virtual tours, virtual open houses and virtual walk-throughs became commonplace along with facial masks, show coverings, gloves and sanitizers, she said.
“Traditionally, April and May are big months for home sales but, due to the pandemic, we saw a shift from our traditional spring market. Everything seems to have moved back six to eight weeks,” said Sipes.There have also been encouraging signs around the country when it comes to home sales, she said.“Pending home sales numbers, a key indicator in determining the strength of the housing market, are up nationally,” said Sipes.“The number of contract signings nationally indicates the resiliency of American consumers,” she said.Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Realtors, recently noted that buyers have returned to the U.S. housing market. “This bounce back also speaks to how the housing sector could lead the way for a broader economic recovery,” said Yun.