Distressed Home Listings Up, Sales Down

Distressed home sales account for more than 30 percent of the active listings in Urbana as of mid-July, but home sales in general have slowed since the end of the first-time homebuyers’ tax credit June 30, according to area realtors.

“We have experienced an approximate 30 percent decrease in home sales,” said real estate broker Robert Krop.

While an extension was offered to those who wrote contracts before the April 30 deadline, it did little to help home sales, said Krop. “It was too little, too late since no new contracts were permitted.

Home values are hanging tight, however, even with a higher number of distressed homes sales than last year. “The summer season in Urbana has homes’ values holding steady to those of last summer, with some slight variances of decline,” said area Realtor MJ Minton.

Looking at the spring market, real estate agent Lisa Giuliani said townhome sales were up for the first six months of 2010 compared to last year, with 35 sold so far as compared to 21 sold in the same period in 2009. She believes it was the tax credit that kept townhomes moving at a faster rate than single-family homes. “And homeowners will be happy to know the average sales price even creeped up a bit from $294,000 in 2009 to $302,000 for 2010.  

Single-family homes are selling for more money than they did a year ago, with the average sale at $485,000, up from $470,000. However, they are sitting on the market a bit longer than last year, with an average of 111 days for the current active listings compared to 43 days for townhomes, according to Minton.

The number of single-family home sales is also down from 39 in the same time period last year to 30 this year. Giulani said the decrease may be a result of a smaller inventory. Many homeowners really just cannot afford to sell and are electing to “wait the market out.”  

“Buyers are still cautious and concerned about pricing,” said Minton. “They don’t want to see the values decline. Unfortunately most of us homeowners have taken the brunt of the price decline, with current values holding somewhat steady to last year’s numbers. 

With the competing new home sales, existing property owners are still challenged with pricing, said Minton. “But they can offer quicker delivery and a more established feel as the neighborhood’s landscaping grows and matures.”

As area real estate agents watch the housing market carefully, Giuliani is not discouraged. “All in all, the market appears to have at least stabilized this year after several years of drastically declining prices,” she said. “Let’s hope it continues this way.”

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