Home prices continued to climb across the state and much of the country in February, according to newly released data.
In Ohio, the average sale price for new and existing homes of $184,480 represented a whopping 10.5 percent increase from February 2018, according to the Ohio Association of Realtor’s report on February home sales. Nationally, last month marked the 84th consecutive month of year-over-year gains in median, or middle, prices for existing homes, theNational Association of Realtors reported Friday.
Sales were up, too. In Ohio, home sales rose 2.7 percent from year-ago levels and 10 out of the 18 sales markets tracked by the state association experienced an uptick in sales activity.
“The Ohio housing marketplace was active in February, with positive pricing gains and an uptick in the pace of sales,” said Anjanette Frye, association president, in a statement. “Realtors are upbeat on the market as we approach the start of the spring home-buying season. With attractive interest rates, solid gains in average sales price, sellers realistic in their pricing expectations, and consumers understanding that long-term, owning a home is a tremendous investment.”
Nationally, seasonally-adjusted February sales “rebounded strongly,” posting the largest month-over-month gain–11.8 percent from January–since December 2015, according to NAR. Compared with February 2018, however, sales dipped 1.8 percent.
“A powerful combination of lower mortgage rates, more inventory, rising income and higher consumer confidence is driving the sales rebound,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, in a statement.
Three of the four regional markets NAR tracks experienced sales gains last month, with only the Northeast posting a flat month. The median price for existing homes in the U.S. was up 3.6 percent, to $249,500, from last February.
In good news for those looking to buy a home, national housing inventory perked up to 1.63 million homes available for sale, up from 1.59 million in January and 1.58 million a year ago.
“It is very welcoming to see more inventory showing up in the market,” Yun said. Prospective home buyers have seen a tight housing market, with limited housing inventory available for sale, over the past few years.
And in a sign of continued demand for housing, 41 percent of homes that sold in the U.S. in February were on the market for less than a month, according to NAR.
For the sake of would-be buyers and the national economy, new home construction is needed, Yun said.
“For sustained growth, significant construction of moderately priced homes is still needed,” he said. “More construction will help boost local economies and more home sales will help lessen wealth inequality as more households can enjoy housing wealth gains.”
In the Midwest, existing-home sales climbed 9.5 percent from January and were basically unchanged from February 2018. The median home price in the region was $188,000, up 5.4 percent from the same month a year prior.
For the year, home sales in Ohio are down 1.2 percent from the first two months in 2018 and average sale price was up 8.4 percent from that period, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors.
In Northeast Ohio, home sales were up 7.7 percent year-over-year in February and posted a 3.4 percent increase in average sale price, according to multiple listing service data released earlier this month.