The Ohio housing market is one of the strongest in the country. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), housing sales this spring were the highest in ten years. The market is currently one of the strongest in the country, but price increases are still lagging the national average.
Stronger job growth has significantly boosted demand for housing units across Ohio. Lawrence Yun, the national economist for the NAR, said that the revitalized housing market is a symptom of a more robust economy.
“Buyers have come back in force, leading to the strongest past two months in sales since early 2007,” said Yun. “This wave of demand is being fueled by a year-plus of steady job growth and an improving economy that’s giving more households the financial wherewithal and incentive to buy.”
Other temporary factors could be driving growth as well. Yun pointed out that mortgage rates have been increasingly slightly in recent months, which may have spurred some buyers to start looking early while they can still find affordable loans. The trend could reverse if the Federal Reserve decides to raise rates further, but Yun and other experts are confident that growth will remain stable for the duration of the year.
Will Prices Increase With Demand?
Three weeks after releasing its first report, the NAR stated that housing prices in Central Ohio have risen slower than the national average. Analysts stated that median the housing price in the second quarter was $172,000, which was a 5.8% increase from the prior year. Throughout the rest of the country, housing prices increased by 8.2% over the same time interval. The median housing price is only slightly over $225,000, which is far lower than the national average. Housing prices are even fairly low in Columbus and other large Central Ohio cities.
Jill Rudler, a representative of Keller Williams Realty, said that the modest price increases were still encouraging, since they outpaced previous years. “Our gains are normally 3 or 4 percent a year, so 5 percent is huge,” she acknowledged. “We also haven’t seen the losses that other markets have seen over the years.”
Experts are still unclear about the long-term direction of housing prices. Rising demand could be a leading indicator that prices will increase in the coming months. However, it’s also possible that demand could stagnate, but Realtors remain optimistic about the long-term direction of the Ohio housing market.