The downward slide of home sales continued in April in Boone County, with fewer sales on average than before COVID-19, says Brian Toohey, Columbia Board of Realtors CEO.
A total of 199 homes were sold in April, a 23% decrease compared to last year's 261. Sales in April 2020 totaled 217.
"Year-to-date, single-family home sales are down 14%," Toohey wrote in a monthly real estate report. "However, total sales volume is up 1% at over $213 million due to the substantial price increases buyers continue to encounter."
The average home price is up 15% to $335,375 from April a year ago, and the median price is up 19% at $296,111.
Coupled with a 5.25% 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, fewer people are seeking mortgage applications, the Mortgage Bankers Association said. The higher fixed-rate mortgages mean people are seeking adjustable-rate mortgages to save money, Toohey said.
The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage was 4.08% as of Thursday, according to Freddie Mac. The 5/1 ARM is when the first five years for a mortgage are set at a fixed rate, but then transitions to an adjustable rate. Homebuyers may pay less for the first five years of the mortgage term, but afterward their mortgage payment amount can fluctuate.
Mortgage applications are down 10.6% compared to last year and down 14% compared to March.
"The spike in mortgage rates cooled demand, and homebuilders continued to grapple with rising costs, supply-chain issues and extended completion timelines,” said Joel Kan, associate vice president with the Mortgage Bankers Association.
While inventory of available homes for sale increased compared to last year, the inventory remains at less than one month's worth. Last month, Toohey said five to seven months worth of inventory is ideal for spring.
The number of days a home is on the market decreased compared to last year and in March, respectively. Homes were on the market for an average of 15 days in April, compared to 23 the same month last year. Homes were on the market 24 days in March.
While homes under contract were down 8% compared to last year with 258 pending listings in April, they are within line of the previous five years, Toohey noted.
Building permits are down slightly in Columbia, but up overall in the county.
"Ashland posted a second month of increased permitting," Toohey wrote.
The Columbia Board of Realtors has tracked Ashland building permits since at least December 2019.
Even with the market difficulties, "buyers continue to enter the market," Toohey said.
Charles Dunlap covers courts, public safety and other general subjects for the Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @CD_CDT on Twitter. Please consider subscribing to support vital local journalism.
This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: Columbia real estate market still sees low sales, high prices in April