Housing market improving in Clark, Champaign counties

Home prices and the number of homes sold is up, although inventory is low even in Springfield. Bill Lackey/Staff
Home prices and the number of homes sold is up, although inventory is low even in Springfield. Bill Lackey/Staff

Home sales in Clark County are ahead of last year’s pace at the midpoint this year even as the interest rate has slowly begun to inch up, according to local and state housing experts.

Information from the Clark County Board of Realtors shows the average sales price for homes in Clark County have crept up a little more than 3 percent compared to the same time last year. About 280 homes have been sold in Clark County this year as well, about an 11 percent increase compared to the first half of last year.

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“The interest rate is still nice and low, but it has been inching its way up,” said Lisa Smedley, president of the Springfield Area Board of Realtors. “The values are rising which is awesome for sellers, it is a great time to sell and to buy.”

Smedley is also a broker and full-time sales agent at Real Estate II in Springfield.

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Home buyers and sellers are seeing similar trends across Ohio, said Carl Horst, a spokesman for the Ohio Association of Realtors. The average sales price of homes from January to May this year is up about 6 percent compared to the first five months of last year, an unusually high figure for Ohio, he said.

“It’s just a strong market,” Horst said.

The average sales price is up a little more than 8 percent in Champaign County, although the number of homes sold for the first six months is slightly behind last year’s pace. There were 82 homes sold in Champaign County this year according to the WRIST listing service, which includes Clark and Champaign Counties. There were 87 homes sold at the same time last year.

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“I can say that the atmosphere in both Clark and Champaign counties feels quite positive, both are buzzing with energy, Smedley said.

Homes in both counties are staying in the market slightly longer than last year, according to information from the listing service. The average number of days on the market was 110 in Clark County this year compared to 107 in 2016. Homes were on the market an average of 158 days in Champaign County, compared to 133 days at the same time last year.

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One challenge both locally and statewide is the lack of available inventory is down compared to previous years. There were fewer properties listed in all of the first four months of this year compared to 2016. .

For example, 543 listings were on the market in April this year as compared to 662 in 2016 for a decline of 18 percent.

There were 253 listings available in April 2016, but that number had fallen to 134 the same month this year, a 47 percent decline.

“That’s pretty reflective of what we’re seeing statewide,” Horst said.

The lack of available properties is likely one factor contributing to rising home prices, but Host said there are likely several factors involved. One challenge, he suggested, is that many home owners are reluctant to sell because they’re concerned it will be difficult to find another home to buy.

It’s not clear how long inventory will remain low statewide, he said. But he said there are signs that new home construction is picking up, which should eventually provide more opportunities for buyers.

The lack of inventory is also impacting real estate agents locally, although the homes that are available are selling quickly, Smedley said.

“As a realtor you are feeling the pressure of the lack of properties for sale, as there are buyers waiting,” she said.

The Springfield News-Sun will continue to provide unmatched coverage of jobs and the economy in Clark and Champaign Counties. For this story, the paper spoke to state and local real estate experts to provide an overview of the region’s housing market.

By the numbers:

$121,168 — Average sale price in Champaign County in 2017

$111,788 — Average sale price in Champaign County in 2016

$108,455 — Average sale price in Clark County in 2017

$105,037 — Average sale price in Clark County in 2016

Source: WRIST Inc. housing statistics

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