An unlikely surge in home sales in December saved Lexington's 2014 real estate market from a down year, according to figures from Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator David O'Neill.
The number of Fayette County home sales that closed in December 2014 was up 30 percent over December 2013, resulting in the best December performance since 2007.
"December was clearly an outlier with no obvious explanation," O'Neill said.
Overall, 2014 home sales closed just above 4,100, nearly identical to the total in 2013, he said.
Trends were very difficult to identify, he said. January through March was up, but then sales flattened out in the summer, he said.
"We were expecting a modest decline year-over-year but the December numbers gave us a very strong finish," said O'Neill who theorized that the market was likely influenced by consumer fear that interest rates would tick back up. And possibly a subset of buyers who were trying to wait out a decision about Fayette County Public School redistricting decided not to wait any longer, he said.
"We don't know for sure, but obviously we hope to see this trend continue. We closely track property sales and are particularly interested in measuring market reaction to the recent announcement of a reduction in FHA mortgage insurance premiums," O'Neill said.
At the height of the local housing bubble in 2005, the number of houses sold annually in Lexington approached 7,000. That number declined significantly each year until 2012, which was the first year the city experienced a year-over-year increase in the number of houses sold, according to PVA numbers. The low mark came in 2011 with approximately 3,000 sales.