2018 a top year for area home sales: Here’s why

Dayton-area home sales and the median sales price in 2018 are on track to be the highest in the past five years.

It’s been the year of the seller.

If area real estate agents sell more than 800 homes this month, total sales for the year will surpass last year’s record breaking 15,775 homes sold. Last year, agents sold 1,076 homes in December.

“I think it’s been a great year,” said Robert Morrison, whose term as 2018 president of the 2,800-member Dayton Realtors association is ending.

The median sales price reached $138,500 in November for the Dayton area, but inventory remains a challenge, with a relatively tight number of homes on the market ready to be sold.

“We had time frames where listings had an offer in less than a day or in days,” Morrison said. “Sale prices were up, obviously, because of that — it all revolves around inventory, short inventory.”

Billie Duncan-Hart, of Coldwell Banker Heritage, agreed.

“I’ve been in the business for 25 years; it’s my best year ever,” she said.

It’s not just 2018, Duncan-Hart added. She has consistently seen improving strength every year over the last five years.

“Even though there are times in the year when we’re experiencing low inventory, as long as a home is priced right, and marketed right, it’s selling,” she said.

Another sign of a strong market: Ron Sweeney, managing partner with Coldwell Banker Heritage, said his real estate brokerage passed $1 billion in gross home sales this year — a new record.

In 2012, the agency had about $575 million in sales and this year anticipates ending with close to $1.1 billion.

The agency has a footprint that stretches from Sidney to Butler County’s West Chester Twp. to Richmond., Ind. and has about 460 agents. Their agent count has been growing, particularly as more young people get into the business, he said.

Along with the strong year of sales, Sweeney said the agency is bullish about next year and is opening an office in Monroe to meet demand where the Dayton and Cincinnati metro areas meet.

“The Dayton economy is generally good, which helps,” Sweeney said.

The best friend to home sales is a strong economy, with strong employment, agents generally say.

No one has crystal ball, but Morrison hopes for continued strength in 2019.

“Nobody knows for sure, but we’re hoping that it continues on,” he said. “The job market is looking good, which is a big factor for us. People don’t buy homes when they don’t have work.”

There may be some signs of market change on the horizon.

Nationally, home-sale prices increased 3.3 percent year over year to a median of $298,800 in November, according to Redfin, an online brokerage.

November marked the third straight month of annual home price gains under four percent after a 77-month-long streak of annual home price gains exceeding four percent, Redfin said.

“The tide has turned,” Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather said in a statement. “Sellers are now competing for buyers, but they haven’t all realized it yet.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that home-price growth stayed flat in October, a sign that conditions are becoming more favorable for buyers and are likely to remain so in the months to come.

Still, neither Morrison nor Duncan-Hart sound overly concerned about slowly rising interest rates or other signs of a gently slowing market.

“We are still getting houses selling in a short amount of time,” Duncan-Hart said. “Even the higher-end houses are moving.”

It will take time for interest rate increases to be felt locally, Morrison said.

“They’re not jumping or anything,” he said of interest rates. “They’re just easing (up).”

By the numbers

November 2018 Dayton-area home sales

$208.8 million: Cumulative sales price (up 12 percent compared to November 2017)

$165,754: average residential sale price (up 8.3 percent compared to November 2017)

$138,500: residential median price (up 3.3 percent compared to November 2017)

1,260 residential sales (up 3.3 percent compared to November 2017)

Source: Dayton Realtors