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First quarter home sales activity reaches highest level since 2008

COLUMBUS – Home sales activity throughout Ohio during the first quarter reached its highest level since 2008, a clear indication that the marketplace has begun to regain its footing since the onset of the economic downturn, according to statistics provided by the state’s Multiple Listing Services.

Sales of new and existing homes posted a 12.7 percent jump during the first three months of 2012 compared to the same period a year ago, reaching 21,501 sales compared to the 2011 result of 19,071.

“Activity in March was substantial and we’ve now posted nine consecutive monthly sales gains, dating back to July 2011,” said Robert U. Miller, president of the Ohio Association of REALTORS(r).“We remain confident about the Ohio marketplace – as interest rates remain at historic low levels, prices have begun to stabilize, sellers are realistic in their expectations and consumers understand that long_ term, owning a home is a tremendous investment.”

Not only did sales levels during the first quarter exceed the pace of a year ago, the average sales price (January through March) throughout Ohio this year increased 3.4 percent, reaching $119,086 versus the 2011 mark of $115,081.

Total dollar volume this year is more than $2.5 billion, a 16.7 percent increase from the three_ month mark of a year ago of nearly $2.2 billion.

The OAR Housing Market Confidence Index offers the following highlights:

• 83 percent of REALTORS(r) describe the current housing market in their area as moderate to strong; a 6 percent jump from the perception of professionals a month earlier. This month’s REALTOR(r) Current Market Index measurement reached 50, increasing 6 points from last month. It’s the highest since OAR began tracking it in June 2011, when we attained an index of 28.

• 88 percent of the respondents have moderate to strong expectations for their market in the next six months; a 3 percent increase from the prior month. REALTOR(r) Future Market Index reached 58, markinga5pointincreasefromthe index posted last month. The current RFMI is the highest it’s been, up from the lowest index posted in October 2011 (of 25).

• 90 percent of REALTORS(r) believe home prices over the next year will remain stable and could even post gains; an 8 percent increase from the prior month.

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