Housing market strengthens; sales, prices increase

by MIKE SEVER | RECORD-COURIER REPORTER Published:

The housing market "is definitely up in Portage County from 2011" according to Sandy Allen, president of the Portage County Realtors Association.

"For sellers, things are looking a little better," said Allen, a realtor with Wilbur Century 21 Realty in Kent. "Listings are up, pending sales are up slightly. Time on the market is about the same," she said.

Median prices are rising and sales for the past year are up, just like they are in the northeast region of Ohio.

As of November, the median sales price in Portage was up 22.7 percent from a year ago, according to Allen, who said the year "looked like a roller coaster, but we had a great November."

In Portage, 90 homes were sold in November, down from 98 the year previous, a decrease of 8.2 percent.

The average sales price showed a 20.5 percent gain from $129,643 to $156,176, industry experts said.

One reason is that fewer homes are on the market. Allen said in Portage, the number of homes for sale was down 8.4 percent this November from a year ago.

In Northeast Ohio, sales of new and existing homes were up 15 percent in November. The region's average house price was $129,694, up 12 percent from November 2011, according to data from 15 counties.

Allen said a lot of potential sellers have been trying to wait out the low prices brought on by the recession. Now that the market is warming up, she expects more homes to come up for sale in 2013.

Lower inventories are good for sellers and lower interest rates are good for buyers, Allen noted. And people who are looking now are ready to buy, Allen said.

"These are serious buyers. Who goes out just to look?" during the holidays, she said.

Nationwide, existing-home sales continued to improve in November, with low inventories pushing home prices.

Sales rose 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in November, the highest since November 2009 when the annual pace spiked at 5.44 million.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $180,600 in November, up 10.1 percent from a year ago.

Email: msever@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4154

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