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Home sales: Best year since ’07

COLUMBUS, Ohio – While home sales in central Ohio showed signs of robust recovery in 2012, they were well short of the pace set during the busiest years of the housing boom.

The Central Ohio Board of Realtors reported today that 22,915 single-family homes and condominiums were sold last year which is the highest number since 2007, the last year of the boom, but 16.6 percent fewer than the total for 2005, the peak year for residential sales in the region.

Improvement in the region outpaced the rest of the state: 15.5 percent growth for the Columbus area over the year before; 12.7 percent for the state as a whole, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors.

Sales in the fourth quarter 2012 increased 17.9 percent statewide over the year before, the best results for the fourth quarter since 2006, the statewide realtors’ organization said.

“Not only have we been able to string six consecutive quarters of sales growth in Ohio, we’ve also attained an unprecedented 18 straight months of gains in activity levels  — a clear indication that we’ve begun to establish a solid foundation for a growing, sustainable housing market moving forward,” OAR president Thomas Williams said.

The average sale price of a home sold in central Ohio in 2012 was $167,459, which is 7.2 percent higher than in 2011. The statewide average of $134,951 marked a 5.5 percent increase.

The median price for a single-family home nationwide is at more than $180,000, more than 11 percent higher than a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Sales in December were 12 percent higher than in November in central, the eighth consecutive month of sales gains in the Columbus market, which includes part or all of 20 counties.

Nationwide, existing home sales were off the expected pace for December, but still remain at a five-year high, the national association reported this morning.

The latest figures from show a one-percent drop from the previous month but prices are also rising at a strong pace, the national group reported.

The inventory of homes for sale in central Ohio is at its lowest point in over a decade, an indication that the market is returning to normal balance.

The future looks bright to the state’s Realtors, according to the state association’s Realtor Future Market Index: 93 percent of the respondents have “moderate to strong expectations for their market in the next six months” and 98 percent believe home prices over the next year will remain stable or post gains.

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