According to the Northeast Ohio Regional Multiple Listing Service and an article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, homes sales in the region continue to surpass last year's sales figures. Lower home inventory, higher rental prices and higher buyer demand due to low interest rates, is driving this increase in activity and increase in sales prices. Competition over available homes has been more common over the past several months.
Sales comparing January 2012 to January 2013 show improvement after a small decline in December. Among the 15 counties in Northeast Ohio, single family home sales are up 6.2% and condo sales are up a 29.7%. An 20.8% increase in sales contracts early in the year, indicate strong sales probable in February and March. In addition to the increase in sales activity, Northeast Ohio is showing a 6.4% increase in single family home prices and 6.0% increase for condos, compared to last January.
The key point here is that the market is starting to stabilize and shifting to a seller's market. Sellers are getting more for their homes than last year, with buyers paying a bit more to purchase a home to take advantage of the low interest rates. Buyers should note that interest rates have reached nearly as low as they can go, when deciding the best time to make a purchase. In fact, rates have already shown increases over the past couple weeks. The data over the past several months indicates we have seen the bottom of the local real estate market.
By comparison, Northeast Ohio is currently being outpaced by the national sales increase of 9.1% in January. Prior to that, Northeast Ohio was ahead of the national numbers. The US market has also seen a 12.3% increase in sales price from the year before. Nationally, 4.92 million homes have sold, which is just shy of meeting the lower part of the 5-6 million of annual home sales considered to be a normal or healthy range.