Northern Ohio Home Sales Rise 19.6% in July From a Year Ago
Stan Bullard, August 22, 2012 – Northeast Ohio home sales in July continued to surpass statewide averages, according to statistics from the Ohio Association of Realtors and the Northern Ohio Regional Multiple Listings Service trade groups.
Northeast Ohio home sales increased 19.6% last month to 3,463 homes from 2,896 in July 2011, besting the 13.4% increase in statewide home sales. Throughout Ohio, 10,607 homes were sold in July, compared with 9,356 in July 2011.
Howard “Hoby” Hanna IV, the Cleveland-based president of Howard Hanna’s Ohio Division, said multiple factors continued the housing market’s walk toward normalcy.
“First-time home buyers are back,” Mr. Hanna said. “Last year, first-time buyers were almost nonexistent in the marketplace. You read a lot last year about it being better to rent than to buy. With rents increasing, more first-time buyers are putting up their heads now and asking if they are better off buying.”
Howard Hanna’s own statistics show about 20% of its closed transactions so far this year were first-time buyers — almost in line with traditional figures, Mr. Hanna said — compared with 9% in 2011. Part of the decrease resulted from the expiration of the federal income tax credit for first-time home buyers, which accelerated some purchases in 2010.
Mr. Hanna said multiple factors account for the continued rise in sales, such as sustained low interest rates and people who sold homes in short sales repairing their credit to the point they can buy again.
And increase they did. NORMLS reports sold listings of single-family homes climbed 18%, to 3,027 houses last month, from 2,556 in July 2011. Condominium sales were up 26% this July over last, to 344 units from 273 in July 2011.
Robert U. Miller, president of the Ohio Association of Realtors, said in a news release, “For the Ohio marketplace to attain 13 consecutive monthly sales gains is a remarkable accomplishment, one that is even more notable when you consider the challenges wrought by the economic collapse of 2008. With each passing month, it’s becoming evident that we’re establishing a solid foundation for having a sustainable, growing marketplace going forward.”
However, the seasonality of Northeast Ohio real estate also appears in the statistics.
While the summer remained pleasant for house-hunting, if not too hot, the calendar took hold. That is particularly the case for families hoping to be in newly purchased homes by the time school starts in August, for they would have a harder time closing and moving by the time school starts with a July purchase. The pace of sales ebbed from June to July, declining 5%, to 3,166 in July, NORMLS reports.
But that pales compared to increasing home sales on a year-to-date basis after the long residential downturn.
Through July, home sales climbed 17% to 20,278 this year from 17,284 in the like period a year ago in Northeast Ohio. Statewide sales increased 13% to 63,519 through July 2012, from 56,270 in last year’s January-July period.
Home sale prices also are continuing to firm. The statistics show average sale prices rose 4% on a year-to-date basis, to $133,550 statewide and $125,385 in the NORMLS region. NORMLS statistics cover Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit counties, along with 10 others the south and east.