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July a record month for home sales in central Ohio | By: Jim Weiker

July a record month for home sales in central Ohio

Number of homes sold at a high; number of days on market at a low

 

 

Fueled by job growth and low mortgage rates, central Ohio real-estate broke records in July.

The number of homes sold during the month — 3,208 — was a record. In addition, homes were listed a record low of 43 days on average before selling.

Finally, the average sales price of $206,691 was a record for the Columbus area, according to figures released by Columbus Realtors on Thursday. (The median sales price of $170,000, which is considered a more reliable figure, fell shy of a record.)

The strong figures are the latest in what has become a banner year for the Columbus-area housing market.

“I’ve been in the business since 1992,” said Mic Gordon, a Keller Williams agent who is treasurer of the Columbus Realtors trade group. “I’ve seen several cycles, and I’ve never seen it so hot.”

Central Ohio’s housing mirrors a red-hot market across the state and nation.

Statewide, sales rose 15 percent from a year earlier to the second-most on record, trailing only sales in October 2005 amid the housing boom.

Nationally, sales rose for the third straight month, reaching a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.59 million homes a year, the highest since 2007.

The median national sales price rose for the 41st consecutive month, to $234,000; that was 5.6 percent higher than in July 2014.

Despite the big numbers, Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, cautioned that many young buyers are staying out of the market. First-time buyers accounted for 28 percent of home sales in July, the lowest share since January and well below the traditional level of 40 percent.

Although many observers attribute the lack of first-time buyers to lifestyle choices, Yun blamed it on financial challenges.

“Rising rents and flat wage growth make it difficult for many to save for a down payment, and the dearth of supply in affordable price ranges is limiting their options,” Yun said in a news release.

Yun also worried that rising prices could dampen demand.

Jerry White, executive vice president of Coldwell Banker King Thompson, said the frenzied buying seen this summer is starting to calm.

“We’re already beginning to see a little bit lesser pace than what it has been,” White said. “I don’t see it going backward, but you might stop seeing multiple offers the way we have.”

Mark Fleming, a housing economist with the title-insurance company First American Financial Corp., said he expects pent-up demand for housing and job growth to keep sales strong for several months.

“Labor-market conditions and interest-rate levels remain favorable to the housing market, and these factors are keeping the market capacity for existing-home sales steady,” he said.

The average 30-year mortgage rate is 3.93 percent, slightly lower than a year ago, according to the federal mortgage agency Freddie Mac.

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