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Central Ohio homes sales up 16.6 percent in March | By: Jim Weiker

 

Central Ohio homes sales up 16.6 percent in March

 

CHUCK BURTON | AP FILE PHOTO

Home sales shot up in March in central Ohio and elsewhere, despite rising prices and a shortage of homes on the market.

According to the Columbus Realtors trade association, 2,417 central Ohio homes changed hands during the month, more than in any March since 2006. The number represents a 16.6 percent jump over last March. 

Sales rose even though prices continued to climb. The median sales price of a central Ohio home in March was $152,000, up 5.6 percent from a year ago. This represents the 23rd consecutive month of year-over-year price gains. 

Prices were driven up by a historically low number of homes for sale. At the end of March, 6,703 homes were listed for sale in central Ohio, less than half the number four years ago. 

Real-estate officials were encouraged, however, that 3,461 central Ohioans put for-sale signs in front of their homes in March, a slight bump over last year. 

“The increase in new listings helps explain the large jump in contracts last month,” said Columbus Realtors President Kathy Shiflet. “So, even though we had an influx of new listings, inventory levels remain at record lows.” 

Home sales and prices also rose statewide. Led by big jumps in Cleveland and smaller markets including Mansfield, Athens and Lancaster, Ohio sales were up 13.2 percent from a year ago. 

The average sales price of an Ohio home in March rose 8.5 percent from a year ago. 

Nationally, home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million, the highest rate since September 2013, according to the National Association of Realtors. 

“The combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market is improving buyer confidence and finally releasing some of the sizable pent-up demand that accumulated in recent years,” said the association’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, in a news release. 

The median sales price of U.S. homes in March was $212,100, 7.8 percent higher than a year ago.

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