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Tax credit helped stabilize home prices

COLUMBUS – Home sales activity in Ohio posted big gains in May, as buyers began to finalize purchases resulting from the federal home buyer tax credit program that expired a month earlier, according to statistics provided to the Ohio Association of REALTORS by the state’s Multiple Listing Services.

“The federal home buyer tax credit incentive proved to be a big boost to the Ohio housing market, evidenced by the tremendous uptick in activity levels we experienced throughout the spring,” said Doug McCloud, president of the Ohio Association of REALTORS. “The tax credit helped to bring about muchneeded stabilization for the housing sector, which has been feeling the effects of the economic downturn that began nearly three years ago.”

Buyers seeking the tax credit had to enter into a contract to purchase by April 30, 2010 and close on it by the end of June. “The tax credit proved to be an important factor in helping to stem the downward trend in both sales and, more importantly, prices. We’ve now posted eight consecutive monthly gains in the average sales price…which is fantastic news for current and would-be homeowners,” he continued. “The key will be in continuing that momentum in the coming months now that the incentive has expired.”

Sales during the first five months of 2010 reached 41,888, a 16.4 percent increase from the 35,999 sales posted during the same period a year ago. The average sales price (January through May) this year is $129,769, a 10.4 percent increase from the $117,582 mark set during the period a year ago. Total dollar volume this year tops $5.4 billion, a 28.4 percent increase from the fivemonth mark a year ago of $4.2 billion.

Sales in May 2010 reached 11,567, a 27.7 percent increase from the 9,061 sales posted during the month a year ago. The month’s average sale price increased 3.9 percent to $137,310, compared to the $132,164 mark of May 2009. The total dollar volume in May 2010 nearly reached $1.6 billion, a 32.6 percent hike from the $1.2 billion posted a year ago. “We remain bullish on the long-term prospects of the marketplace – as interest rates remain at historic lows, prices have stabilized and begun to trend upward, sellers are being realistic in their expectations and consumers understand that over time, owning a home is a tremendous investment,” McCloud said.

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