Homes sales see fall boost

Regional home sales surged 30 percent in October from the year before, far exceeding what realtors and industry observers expected.

The jump was the second largest percentage increase in sales for any month so far this year when compared to 2011. The local area mirrored the state as a whole, which witnessed a 23 percent jump in sales, according to figures released Monday by the Ohio Association of Realtors.

Home sales in the seven-county area of Clark, Miami, Champaign, Logan, Shelby, Auglaize and Mercer counties have been up every month this year from the same month in 2011 except for September.

“This was the best October that we have had since 2007, and in 2007 we had quite a few thousand more real estate agents in the field,” said Bob Miller, president of Ohio Association of Realtors. “It’s hit in the buyers’ minds that 3 to 4 percent interest rates really make their dollar go further. We have a lot of first-time buyers out there.

“Sellers have now begun to understand if they price their houses right, they’ll sell,” Miller added.

Real estate agents and homeowners sold 408 single-family homes and condominiums last month in the region. A year ago in October, 314 homes were sold, the state realtors association said. Western Regional Information Systems and Technology in Troy, which houses the region’s Multiple Listing Service, only provides a quarterly breakdown of home sales by county for more accurate estimates.

The average sale price in the WRIST area, as it’s called, dropped 4 percent to $106,131 in October.

The gains surpassed those seen in May for the biggest year-over-year percentage increase seen to date in 2012. Ohio home sales surged 19 percent in May from the year before, according to Ohio Association of Realtors, now the next highest year-over-year gain behind October’s results.

Local area home sales saw their biggest monthly gain in March when they rose 34.5 percent to 390 homes.

Year-to-date through October, 3,777 homes have sold in the region including Champaign, Clark and Miami counties for an average sales price of $106,881.

A total 10,130 homes were sold statewide in October, marking the 16th consecutive month of sales gains and the longest stretch of consecutive monthly sales gains since the state realtors group started keeping track in the 1990s.

Low interest rates, increasing consumer confidence and decreasing inventories of foreclosed and distressed properties have all worked to help Ohio’s housing market this year.

Interest rates have hovered this year below 3 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages or below 4 percent for 30-year fixed mortgages, according to Freddie Mac, the government backed buyer of home securities.

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