Area home sales rose 17 percent last month

Springfield and Urbana part of May report that shows double-digit gain.

On Thursday, the Ohio Association of Realtors said that 425 single-family homes and condominiums were sold in the seven-county region last month. That represented a 17.4 percent increase in sales from 362 homes the same month a year ago, according to the Ohio realtors group.

The volume brought down the average price of those homes — $102,359 — by less than 1 percent from May of last year. A year ago, the average sales price was $103,101, according to the state group.

Sales in the region of Clark, Miami, Champaign, Logan, Shelby, Auglaize and Mercer counties have been higher year-over-year for each of the past 10 months. May is typically a busy time for home sales.

“May was our best month in total purchase transactions in two or three years,” said Tom Stoll, senior vice president of consumer lending for Fifth Third Bank in the Cincinnati-Lima region.

“The values are fantastic. The rates are historically low.

“So what’s holding somebody back besides their own comfort level?”

Pent-up demand, Ohio’s improving economy and historically record-low interest rates continue to fuel homebuyer demand, real estate agents say.

Unemployment rates of people without a job and actively looking dropped in May to 6.9 percent in Clark County and 6.8 percent in Champaign County, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said earlier this week.

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.66 percent over the past week, according to the Freddie Mac Weekly Prime Mortgage Market Survey also released Thursday. A year ago, interest rates on a 30-year home loan were 4.5 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

Buyers are having difficulty finding properties ready to move in. The money it would take to make repairs to a government or bank-owned property has no incentive for the average buyer, said Greg Greenwald, a Miami County based real estate agent for Prudential One, Realtors.

“I find less and less people that are willing to take something that they have to put sweat equity in,” Greenwald said.

Contact this reporter at (513) 705-2551 or clevingston@coxohio.com. Follow this reporter on Twitter @ChelsLevingston

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