Home sales cooled in January – January 2014 Market Update

A combination of frigid temperatures and low inventory resulted in fewer central Ohio home sales in January. The 1,337 sales last month was 8.3 percent lower than January 2013 (1,458) according to the Columbus REALTORS® Multiple Listing System (MLS).

“Looks like the historically adverse winter weather conditions have placed a temporary freeze on home sales as compared to last January,” said Milt Lustnauer, 2014 president of Columbus REALTORS®. “Given the demand, this may create a potential back log of home sales this spring.”

The sale price of a home sold in January 2014 was $159,452 which was 7.8 percent higher than last year. The median sale price of $128,000 was up 6.7 percent compared to January 2013.

The average price is the total volume divided by the number of homes sold. The median is the midpoint — half the homes sell for less, while half sell for more.

Inventory for the last two months has resembled levels last seen in winter of 2000. At 8,284, the number of homes on the market is 7.3 percent lower than last January. Not only has this affected sales, the lack of supply has resulted in a 51 percent drop in pending sales.

That said, 2,175 homes and condos were listed for sale during January, 16.7 percent lower than last year, but an increase of 49 percent from the previous month.

“All the signs of a robust spring are here,” adds Lustnauer. “Interest rates are still hovering under 4.5 percent, consumer confidence is improving, and inventory is increasing.”

According to the latest Housing Market Confidence Index (by the Ohio Association of REALTORS®), 97 percent of central Ohio REALTORS® describe the current housing market as moderate to strong and 84 percent expect home prices to rise over the next year. Additionally 50 percent are seeing a slight increase in the level of interest renters are expressing toward buying.