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The last year of the decade saw more houses sold at a quicker rate in the Mid-Missouri area than in previous years, according to a year-end wrap up by the Jefferson City Area Board of Realtors.

Data used in the summary represent Cole, Callaway, Moniteau and Osage counties.

JCABOR President Nancy Gratz said 2019 was by far her best year of the seven she's been in the business, and the year overall was positive for the Jefferson City area.

In 2019, 1,520 single-family homes were sold, an increase from 1,441 in 2017 and 1,484 in 2018.

Homes stayed on the market for less time in 2019, with an average of 59 cumulative days on the market, a steady decline from 72 in 2017 and 63 in 2018.

Gratz attributed this to the number of homes on the market versus the number of buyers looking.

"It's really a sellers' market right now," Gratz said. "We're having a shortage of inventory. There's times when a house is listed and priced right that you can have as many as three to five contracts just right away."

One program Gratz credited for the increase is the Federal Home Loan Bank's homeownership set-aside program, which uses a portion of the Affordable Housing Program funds for down payment and closing cost assistance for low- and moderate-income households purchasing a home.

Average prices of homes sold also increased over the three years, from $154,687 in 2017 to $163,332 in 2018 and up to $171,164 in 2019.

Gratz said the trend likely will continue into this year.

"I feel like this is going to be another very good year because of the grants and because the interest rates are still low," Gratz said. "I look for it to be a record 2020."

The annual average rate in 2019 for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.94 percent, down from the 2018 rate of 4.54 percent, according to mortgage loan company Freddie Mac. Going back to 2010, the rate was 5.04 percent.

On Jan. 30, the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.51 percent.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, there were 296 active single-family listings available, compared to 357 in 2019.

Gratz said the Board of Realtors didn't notice a significant effect on the real estate market after the May 22, 2019, tornado that affected about 3 square miles of Jefferson City — but they did notice difficulties getting contractors to make roof repairs or other work for inspections because of the demand.

In response to the tornado and spring floods, JCABOR used the Realtor Relief Fund to provide a total of $66,761 in assistance funds to 87 area families.

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