Year-end home sales results for Ohio housing

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The Ohio housing market was filled with a number of positives in 2012, as sales activity rose 12.7 percent over the level of the prior year and the average sales price jumped 5.5 percent statewide, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors.

"The Ohio housing market made significant progress in its attempt to fully recover from the economic challenges of the past few years," said Thomas J. Williams, president of the Ohio Association of Realtors.

"Our year-end 2012 results are reflective of a marketplace that appears to have regained its footing and returned to traditionally stable levels."

Year-end 2012 sales of new and existing homes (January through December) totalled 114,457, a 12.7 percent increase from the 101,561 sales posted in 2011, according to the statistics provided by the state's Multiple Listing Services.

The state's average sale price (January-December) of $134,951 marks a 5.5 percent increase from the $127,463 average posted in 2011.

Total dollar volume reached $15.4 billion, a 19.3 percent increase from the $12.9 billion posted a year earlier.

"The recovery of the Ohio housing market in 2012 was widespread in scope, as 17 of the 20 markets we track reported gains in sales activity and 18 posted increases in average sales price," Williams noted.

"To have so many individual markets post positives in a state as diverse as Ohio -- with its mix of big urban markets and smaller, rural locales -- is an indication that the Buckeye State has made significant strides in its recovery effort."

Williams noted that a recent survey of the state's real estate professionals suggests the industry remains cautiously optimistic about the market's outlook in the coming months.

The OAR Housing Market Confidence Index, a survey that tracks the perception Ohio Realtors have of the marketplace, offers the following highlights in the January 2013 report:

Eighty-eight percent of Realtors describe the current housing market in their area as moderate to strong; a significant increase from the 60 percent mark the profession posted during the month a year ago.

This month's Realtor Current Market Index measurement reached 54, a 22 point improvement from the January 2012 score of 32.

Ninety-three percent of the respondents have moderate to strong expectations for their market in the next six months; increasing 18 percentage points from the January 2012 level of 75 percent.

This month's Realtor Future Market Index reached record-high 63, a 21 point increase from the January 2012 index of 42.

Ninety-eight percent of Realtors believe home prices over the next year will remain stable and could even post gains; 26 percentage points more than the findings in ­January 2012 (of 72 percent).

The Realtor Price Index for Realtors' expectations for the next year reached a record-high 70, a 21 point improvement from the mark recorded during the month a year ago (49).

"Ohio's Realtors remain remarkably upbeat about the state of the current marketplace and are equally hopeful about its long-term prospects," Williams said.

"Gauging the sentiment of Realtors is important, as the profession is often sitting across the kitchen table with buyers and sellers as they express their desires, hopes and fears when making the largest financial decision they'll make in a lifetime."

Sales in the fourth quarter 2012 increased 17.9 percent, reaching 27,802 sales compared to the 23,582 sales posted during the period a year ago. It marks the best results for the fourth quarter since 2006.

"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," Williams said.

"There will undoubtedly be economic challenges in the months and year ahead, but there appears to be an overwhelming sentiment that home ownership is a smart, long-term investment and that the desire to achieve the American Dream remains strong."

Sales in December 2012 reached 8,390, a 6.6 percent increase from the 7,867 sales posted during the month in 2011. The average sales price of $132,698 was a 7.7 percent increase from the $122,447 average price posted in December 2011.

Data provided to OAR by Multiple Listing Services includes residential closings for new and existing single-family homes and condominiums/co-ops.

The Ohio Association of Realtors, with more than 26,000 members, is the largest professional trade association in Ohio.

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