Friday, January 26, 2007

December 2006 Home Sales - Central Ohio


Buyers controlled the Central Ohio real estate market in 2006

(January 24, 2007) Residential home sales slowed down in 2006 but still managed to end as the third highest year on record. Sales dropped only 4.5 percent below last year and just 1.5 percent from the total sales in 2004 according to the Columbus Board of REALTORS®.

Mortgage interest rates peaked at 6.5 percent last summer and then dropped to under six percent for the remainder of the year. Buyer interest, oddly enough, followed the same trend, peaking mid summer and then dropping steadily throughout the second half of the year.

Most notable in 2006 was the significant number of homes listed for sale. Throughout the course of the year, inventory levels were anywhere from 12 to 31 percent higher than the previous year. In July of 2006, there were 18,859 residential homes on the market, the highest number on record for central Ohio.

"Buyers controlled the market in 2006," said Brad Bennett, 2007 President of the Columbus Board of REALTORS®. "Although lower than the year before, home sales were still very healthy. Not, however, healthy enough to satisfy the sizeable number of owners wanting to sell their homes. With such a high level of supply and not enough demand, buyers held the stronger hand when negotiating for a home last year."

Under the circumstances, it comes as no surprise that homes took 11 days longer to sell last year and the average price of a home in 2006 was 1.8 percent lower than the year before.
Fortunately, inventory levels began receding during the second half of 2006. At the beginning of 2007, there were over 15,600 homes on the market. Although this is still 11.6 percent more than were listed the previous year, it is considerably lower than the levels during most of 2006.

"The good news is activity is up," comments Bennett. "We're hearing from many agents that calls and showings are picking up. There are already more homes under contract this month than were sold during the entire month of January last year."

"It used to be that housing activity woke up after the Super Bowl. But, in central Ohio, housing comes to life after the National Championship!"


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