2009-05-02 / News

Ohio real estate sales improve in March

COLUMBUS - While Ohio's housing market continues to exhibit positive signs - evidenced by an uptick in sales in March compared to the prior month; the state's first quarter sales levels trail the mark set a year ago, reports the Ohio Association of REALTORS ®.

"The fundamental elements of a solid housing market are in place - with historic low interest rates, an ample array of housing in all price categories and price affordability," said OAR President Jonathan M. Hall.

"Additionally, the conditions are perfect for would-be buyers - especially first-time buyers, who are able to take advantage of the non-repayment $8,000 tax credit included in President Obama's Stimulus Package," Hall added. "In fact, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency is offering buyers the ability to access the tax credit money now for down payment purposes with interestfree loans.

"Additionally, we're finding that sellers have become more realistic in establishing a list price, understanding the importance of gaining a competitive advantage among the limited pool of buyers. This common sense balance will undoubtedly help get the Buckeye State's housing market moving again as we enter the traditional home buying season."

Statewide sales of new and existing homes during the first three months of the year (January through March) total 18,966, 18.8 percent behind the 23,359 sales posted during the period a year ago.

The state's average sale price (January through March) of $109,574 marks a 17 percent decrease from the $132,025 average price posted during the period a year ago. The total dollar volume reached $2.1 billion, a 32.6 percent decrease from the $3.1 billion posted in 2008. Sales in March reached 7,482, an increase from the February sales mark of 6,038 but a 16.8 percent decrease from the 8,997 sales posted during the month a year ago.

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