2018: Appetite for home buying remained strong in central Ohio

While the 2017 housing market was marked by renewed optimism fueled by stock market strength, higher wages, and a competitive environment for home sales, 2018 maintained the competitive housing market amid less than stellar stock market performance and rising interest rates while housing affordability dipped to a ten-year low.

“Despite changing economic factors, the appetite for home buying remained strong enough to drive prices upward in markets across the country including central Ohio,” said John Myers, Columbus REALTORS® 2019 president.

The median sales price of a home in central Ohio increased 7.4% to $195,000 in 2018. Single-family home prices were up 7.7% compared to last year, and condominium home prices were up 8%. Although new listings increased by 0.6% and the year-end inventory was up 6.8% from last year, 2018 ended with the second lowest number of homes for sale on record. Closed sales decreased 2.2% to finish the year at 31,520. Given that there were 32,218 home sales in 2017 and 2016 saw 31,689 sales, 2018 stands as the third-highest year on record for home sales.

After 91 months of year-over-year declines in inventory, the number of homes for sale began to rise in September 2018.

“Fewer homes to choose from coupled with lower affordability made it tough for buyers in 2018,” added Myers. “But the increases in inventory during the last four months of the year suggests more choices for buyers in 2019.”

According to the latest Housing Market Confidence Index by the Ohio REALTORS®, 76% of central Ohio REALTORS® expect home prices to rise in 2019. When asked how they think the residential real estate market will perform during 2019, 15% think it will improve at a moderate rate, 35% believe it will continue at its current rate, and 50% think the real estate market will slow at a moderate rate.

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