Home sales highest since 2006 despite limited inventory
Central Ohio saw a healthy increase in contracts and closings last month despite the lagging number of homes for sale in central Ohio.
The 2,147 houses, condos and townhomes which changed hands in March 2015 were up 47.8 percent over the previous month (1,453) and 16.6 percent over the previous year (1,842). Year to date, home sales are up seven percent compared to first quarter of 2014.
Additionally, there were 3,494 homes which went into contract last month – up 36.3 percent over February 2015 (2,564) and up 13.9 percent from March 2014 (3,067). This marks a record high for the month of March.
“Buyers today understand that, with the lack of inventory, they need to move quickly with a competitive offer if they want to prevail,” said Kathy Shiflet, Columbus REALTORS® 2015 President. “Low interest rates and rising home prices are also highly motivating factors.”
The uptick in new listings last month was welcome as tight inventory levels continue to plague central Ohio. The 3,461 homes listed for sale in March was up 46.3 percent over February and 1.2 percent from last spring.
“The increase in new listings helps explain the large jump in contracts last month. So, even though we had an influx of new listings, inventory levels remain at record lows,” added Shiflet.
Using an average of home sales over the last 12 months, it would take less than three months to clear all available houses from the market. Not only is this the quickest on record but a stark contrast to the 13.4 months supply in early 2008.
The median existing-home price last month was $152,000, 5.6 higher than the median sales price for an existing-home one year earlier. March also marked the 23rd straight month of year-over-year home price gains.
According to the latest Housing Market Confidence Index (by the Ohio Association of REALTORS®) 100 percent of central Ohio REALTORS® describe the current housing market as moderate to strong and 94 percent expect housing prices to rise over the next year.
Forty-one percent report higher than normal early spring activity since the weather has shown signs of improving.