Quincy-area home sales gain momentum during 2012

Posted: Jan. 22, 2013 9:54 am Updated: Feb. 12, 2013 9:59 am

Herald-Whig Senior Writer

Local home sales rose 13 percent last year, and the average sale price of $125,750 set a record, according to the Quincy Association of Realtors.

Alan VanDeBoe, a broker and associate at Century 21 Broughton Team, said there were 709 closings worth $89 million in 2012, up from 627 closings worth $78 million in 2011. The average sale price was $125,750, up from $124,800 the year before.

"It was a good year, I'll characterize it that way. I look for 2013 to be a continuation of last year, or maybe even a little better," VanDeBoe said.

National home sales rose 6 percent last year, CoreLogic reported last week. There were 4.2 million homes sold in 2012, up from 3.9 million in 2011. It was the first increase since 2005, when the U.S. housing crisis began in some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the nation.

Greg Zanger, president of the Quincy Association of Realtors, said Quincy, Adams County and the Missouri counties of Lewis and Marion did not see the housing decline experienced in many parts of the United States.

"Overall we've got a good economy and a very stable market," Zanger said.

Agriculture helps keep the Quincy area stable, he said. Crop prices are up and Zanger said it is not unusual to see prime farm ground sell for $8,000 to $10,000 per acre.

"Loan rates are good right now, too. You can get a 15-year mortgage for 2.5 percent and the 30-year is at 3 percent," Zanger said.

Mike Smith, senior vice president at the Bank of Quincy, said home loans were up last year.

"We've had lower rates for the past four years and that's helped. I also think the economy is turning the corner, and people are not so fearful, and they're getting in the game," Smith said.

Some customers have been buying their first homes and others are buying their dream homes, Smith said. Low loan rates also have prompted some homeowners to refinance their loans.

CoreLogic said its national home price index, based on repeat sales of the same properties, climbed 7.5 percent last year. That's the biggest annual increase since 2006. The data provider forecasts 6 percent higher home prices nationally in 2013.

The Illinois Association of Realtors reports that statewide home sales were up 30.6 percent in November over a year earlier.

"We have seen respectable momentum in a part of the year when the real estate business tends to slow down for the holidays," said Michael Oldenettel, president of the Realtors group.

VanDeBoe is seeing the same kind of momentum in Quincy and Adams County.

"Winter is typically slow. I'm showing houses where I wasn't so much last winter," VanDeBoe said.

Sales of foreclosed homes fell more than 20 percent last year, the third annual decline in a row. That decline, plus a tight supply of homes for sale in many markets and the low interest rates, are among factors driving home prices higher.

Average days on market in the Quincy area remained improved slightly to 128 days, down from 130 days in 2011.

Local real estate agents say open houses have been well attended and interest in homes seems to be rising.