Home sales took a sharp dip in December, leading to an slower 2017 overall for the local real estate market, the Bloomington-Normal Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.
In all, 177 existing homes and eight newly built homes were sold in December, down 14 percent from the 214 homes that were sold in December 2016, BNAR reported. The local market saw 2,804 existing and newly built homes sold in 2017. That was down 1.9 percent from 2016.
BNAR President John Armstrong blamed a lack of available homes for most of the decline.
"We had a low inventory throughout 2017. This shortage caused many buyers to put the homebuying plans on hold. We expect many of those buyers to return to the market in 2018," said Armstrong.
Partly because of that low inventory—meaning some homes were receiving multiple offers—buyers and sellers saw average prices rise in 2017. The average price of an existing-home sale was $168,861 in 2017, up 4.4 percent from 2016, BNAR reported.
"This is a price gain that we haven't seen in the area in a very long time," said Armstrong.
Sales of newly built homes struggled throughout the year. Sales were down 16.9 percent in 2017, with just 138 newly built homes sold. The average price of those sales was $301,500—flat from 2016.
“This (decline in new-home activity) is primarily attributed to the lack of variety in price range by builders,” Armstrong said. “Many builders are focusing on $280,000 to $360,000 homes.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new 2017 year-end sales figures, due to incorrect information provided to GLT by the Bloomington-Normal Association of Realtors.
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