Central Ohio homes sold at lightning speed in May as a glut of buyers battled for a smattering of homes. Homes that sold during the month were listed an average of 64 days, down from 75 days in April and well below the typical 90 to 100 days.
Central Ohio homes sold at lightning speed in May as a glut of buyers battled for a smattering of homes.
Homes that sold during the month were listed an average of 64 days, down from 75 days in April and well below the typical 90 to 100 days.
Real-estate agents say many homes are receiving multiple offers within a day or two of being listed, especially in hot communities such as Upper Arlington, Clintonville, Bexley, Grandview Heights and Worthington.
"I would say I'm in a bidding war in one out of every three offers I'm making, maybe even 50-50," said Michelle Santuomo with RE/MAX Metro Plus in German Village.
The market is fueled by high demand for homes and an unusually low number of homes for sale.
About 8,800 homes were listed in central Ohio at the end of May, an increase from April but 12.9 percent fewer than in May 2013.
At the current sales pace, all central Ohio homes on the market would be bought in 3.7 months, well below the six-month supply considered balanced between buyers and sellers.
In some area cities, the imbalance is even more dramatic. In Worthington, 28 homes sold in May, the same number listed at the end of the month - in other words, exactly one month's supply.
"We're averaging over 125 homes listed for sale daily, but the demand continues to outpace the supply," said Milt Lustnauer, president of the Columbus Realtors trade group.
Sherry and Bob Dean didn't have to wait even a day to sell their Upper Arlington home.
The couple's house was scheduled to go on the market on a Monday in May when an agent asked whether she could show the home a day earlier to a buyer going out of town. The buyer toured the home at noon and by 7 p.m. offered full price.
"We said, 'Oh, my gosh, we'll gladly do that,'??" said Mrs. Dean. "We felt so lucky, to not have to worry about it. With three kids, we didn't want to have to keep the house perfect for showings."
The sale was so fast that the Deans' agent, Paula Koontz-Gilmour, canceled the photographer who was coming to take shots of the house on Monday.
"We see it everywhere, whether it's $50,000 or over $1 million. If a home is presented well and priced right, you'll get a lot of activity," said Koontz-Gilmour, who is with Coldwell Banker King Thompson.
"The market right now is crazy."
The combination of high demand and low supply continues to elevate sales prices. In May, the median price of a central Ohio home rose to $155,250, 3.5 percent above May 2013. This year, the sale price is up 7 percent, Columbus real-estate agents say.
Other sources show bigger gains. The real-estate information service RealtyTrac, which includes post-foreclosure sales and homes sold by owners in its tally, reports that Columbus-area home prices are up 13 percent in the past 12 months.
In May, rising prices and a lack of homes on the market caused central Ohio sales to drop for the fifth straight month. Last month, 2,569 central Ohio homes changed hands, 11.3 percent fewer than a year earlier. This year, sales are off 8 percent from a year earlier.
Experts cite several reasons for the unusually low number of homes on the market. Some homeowners made a decision to stay put after losing confidence in housing as an investment during the real-estate crash. Others are unable to find anything they want to buy. And many still owe more than their home is worth, making selling difficult.
"Inventory is low because still, in the marketplace, more than 20 percent of homeowners (with mortgages) are either upside down or more than 60 days behind in their payments," said Michael Mahon, the general manager and executive vice president of HER Realtors.
Statewide, home sales declined 4.4 percent in May from a year earlier, while prices rose 2.9 percent.
Nationwide, however, sales rose 4.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million. U.S. sales were helped by a increase in inventory to a 5.6-month supply.