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Toledo area home sales drop slightly

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Toledo area home sales fell 2 percent in January, but the new president of the Toledo Regional Association of Realtors said a drop that small was nothing more than a climate blip.

“The cold temperatures and the snowy weather really slowed the buyers from hitting the pavement the last month,” said Doug Kwiatkowski, of Re/Max Preferred Associates.

“When you look at sales over the last 12 months, they’re up something like 12 percent overall, so a 2 percent drop isn’t that bad,” added Mr. Kwiatkowski, who became president of the Realtors group last month.

Home sales in Lucas and upper Wood Counties totaled 313 units last month, compared to 319 a year ago.

Sales prices also dropped last month with the median price declining 21 percent to $89,900, compared to a year earlier. The median means half the homes sold for above the median price and half sold for below it.

The average sales price fell 13 percent to $115,651.

Inventory has been a problem for the area for over a year now and it did not improve in January.

Inventory dropped 14 percent last month compared to a year ago, and home spent and average of 100 days on the market, a 9 percent decrease from January, 2017.

“The inventory situation certainly isn’t helping our cause,” Mr. Kwiatkowski said. The real estate agent community prefers to work with inventory levels of five to six months but currently there is only a three-months supply of home unit for sale, according to the Realtors group.

“We’ve started to get into a seller’s market as a result of low inventory levels. We see sellers getting tough in negotiations,” Mr. Kwiatkowski said.

In the past, the sales price to list price ratio has been around 5 to 6 percent in the Toledo market, the Realtors group president said.That means that on a house where the initial asking price by the seller is $100,000, typically it should eventually sell for $94,000 to $95,000.

“But that list-to-sales price ratio is really down from the deal’s I’ve been researching,” Mr. Kwiatkowski said. “That number is now down to 2 or 3 percent,” he said, explaining that a $100,000 home won’t sell for much less than $97,000 lately.

“It’s an interesting time to sell real estate, that’s for sure,” he added.

Mr. Kwiatkowski said the current seller’s market situation could change quickly depending on several factors. In the spring if home builders break ground on more single-family homes and villas in the suburbs, that could bring more existing homes into the inventory. And interest rates could start to rise more quickly and bring more inventory as sellers rush to put their homes on the market before rising interest rates depresses home prices.

“Really, in the last last six months it’s gone up only three-eights of a percent,” Mr. Kwiatkowski said.

For now, the average interest rate is 4.15 percent, according to home loan guarantor Freddie Mac.

But, “They are inching up, there’s no doubt about that,” Mr. Kwiatkowski said.

Contact Blade Business Writer Jon Chavez at jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.

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