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Ohio real estate market posted sales gains in 2011

COLUMBUS – Despite challenging conditions that were prevalent throughout most of 2011, Ohio’s real estate market posted sales gains over the prior year for the first time since 2005, according to statistics provided by the state’s Multiple Listing Services.

“The 2011 market was interesting for both industry professionals and property owners in all corners of the Buckeye State…as the real estate market made significant strides toward regaining its footing following the economic downturn that has affected the nation over the past three plus years,” said Robert U. Miller, president of the Ohio Association of REALTORS. “The fact that the market was able to outpace the level of the previous year for the first time in six years is a hopeful sign that the market is poised for better things moving forward.

“Our 2011 results are an indicator that the desire to make the American Dream of homeownership a reality remains strong throughout Ohio,” Miller added. “We remain bullish on the marketplace – as interest rates remain at historic lows, prices have begun to stabilize, sellers are realistic in their expectations and consumers understand that long-term, owning a home is a tremendous investment.”

Yearend 2011 sales total of new and existing homes (January through December) totaled 99,881, a 0.1 percent increase from the 99,741 sales posted in 2010.

The state’s average sale price (January- December) of $127,838 marks a 3.6 percent decrease from the $132,678 average posted in 2010.

Total dollar volume reached nearly $12.8 billion, a negligible 3.5 percent decrease from the $13.2 billion posted during 2010.

“Last year marked the first time in more than two years that the housing market wasn’t the recipient of stimulus support that was made available to buyers,” Miller noted. “While we have a long way to go before we fully return to our traditional sales level, there are many positives for current owners and would-be buyers.”

Miller said a recent survey of the state’s real estate professionals suggests that the industry is cautiously optimistic about the market’s outlook in the coming months. The OAR Housing Market Confidence Index, a recently created measurement of the perception Ohio REALTORS(r) have of the marketplace, offers the following findings:

• 60 percent of REALTORS(r) describe the current housing market in their area as moderate to strong; a 7 percent increase from the perception of professionals a month earlier.

• 75 percent of the respondents have a moderate to strong expectations for their market in the next six months; 9 percent higher than the level reported in December.

• 73 percent of Ohio’s REALTORS(r) believe home prices over the next year will remain stable and even post gains; a 6 percent increase from the prior month.

Sales in the fourth quarter 2011 increased 11 percent, reaching 23,360 sales compared to the 21,045 sales posted during the period a year ago.”We were able to finish 2011 with consecutive quarterly gains, something we last accomplished during the first half of 2010,” Miller said. “It’s worth recalling, however, that those sales were boosted by the existence of the home buyer tax credit program that was drawing to a close.

“Today’s real estate market, perhaps now more than ever before, makes it clear that all real estate is local…with variations in every community and every street, and even amongst the various property types,” Miller added. “Most importantly, today’s buyers and sellers realize that despite these complexities and nuances, property ownership is a wise, long-term investment.”

Sales in December 2011 reached 7,779, a 5.9 percent increase from the 7,344 sales posted during the month in 2010. The average sales price of $122,649 was a 5.9 percent decrease from the $130,293 average price posted in December 2010.

Data provided to OAR by Multiple Listing Services includes residential closings for new and existing single-family homes and condominiums/co-ops.

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