LIMA — Local real estate agents agree the region’s housing market remains healthy, as the average sale price and number of units sold have increased from 2015. But depending on your price range, the market is still divided for buyers and sellers.
Homes that are listed above $275,000 favor buyers, while properties listed below this price favor sellers.
“When you get to $275,000 and up, there’s a lack of buyers for that price range,” said Bev Sweeney, a real estate broker and owner of Cowan Realtors. “Right now, we have 74 of those homes on the market. However, the market is very active in most other price ranges.”
Sweeney said the most popular price range is between $60,000 and $160,000. Most of the homes listed at this price are ranch-style or two-story, and contain three to four bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, a yard and a basement, she said.
“They’re usually older homes, so you’re not going to get anything that is built within the last couple years,” she said. “But you still get a lot for what you pay for, especially if you compare it to bigger markets like Columbus.”
For Scott Weaver, a real estate agent with Real Living CCR, the “sweet spot” for buyers is between $100,000 and $250,000. Unlike homes in the $300,000 to $600,000 range, these properties are selling fast.
“I’ve had those kind of houses go as fast as five hours on the market,” Weaver said. “Any time it’s sold inside 90 days, I consider it a fast sale, so the fact that they’re selling that fast is pretty phenomenal.
“They’re selling like hot cakes right now.”
Two of Weaver’s clients, Nick and Shelby Truesdale, found this out first-hand. The first-time home buyers said there was no shortage of homes in their price range, but they had to act fast.
“We were only looking in Wapakoneta, and what we found out is that houses go up and sell reasonably quick around here,” Nick Truesdale said. “It was somewhat of a battle to get it before someone else comes and buys it.”
The Truesdales said they looked at eight to 10 properties in Wapakoneta before closing on their current home on Stinebaugh Drive. They said from the beginning of their search until the time they closed was only about four months.
“It was actually a really enjoyable process,” Shelby Truesdale said. “It was never very stressful, and Scott (Weaver) made everything seamless and easy.”
Overall, the region’s housing market is doing well. According to the Ohio Association of Realtors, the number of units sold from January to June 2016 was 997, up from 769 through the same time period last year. That represents a 29.6 percent increase in OAR’s West Central Ohio region, which includes Allen, Hardin and Van Wert counties.
In terms of sale price, the average home sold in the first seven months of 2015 was $101,451. So far in 2016, that number increased to $111,860, a 10.3 percent change. Total dollar volume also increased, going from $78,016,022 in 2015 to $111,524,448 in 2016.
“Pricing is up right now, but the real estate markets took such a hit in 2008 and 2009 that pricing had nowhere to go but up,” Weaver said.
Though average sale prices are increasing, interest rates remain low. Weaver said this is the main reason for an uptick in home sales over the last couple years.
“Right now, the interest rate on a conventional loan is about three and a quarter percent, and a 15-year conventional loan is about 2.6 percent,” he said. “That’s ungodly low, so from an interest rate standpoint, there is no better time to buy than right now.”
Despite low interest rates, Weaver said he believes the region’s housing market is starting to plateau.
However, Sweeney thinks the housing market will continue to trend upward — at least for the foreseeable future.
“I see the market continuing the way it is as long as interest rates remain stable,” she said. “Interest rates, the economy and unemployment rates are what drive the market, and they all seem to be pretty stable right now.”
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima