Interest rates holding back Dayton-area home sales

High interest rates are holding back homeowners from placing their homes on the market and continue to drag down the low inventory of existing Dayton-area homes for sale.

The amount of homes sold in the Dayton region declined again in August when compared to the year before, but the average sale price is continuing its ascent, according to Dayton Realtors.

There were 9,284 sales of single-family homes and condominiums reported for the first eight months of 2023, a nearly 16% decrease from 2022 when 11,047 transactions transpired over the same time span, according to Dayton Realtors Multiple Listing Service, which includes Montgomery, Greene, Warren, Darke and Preble counties.

The average sales price year-to-date is $253,921 and represented a 4.7% rise over 2022′s year-to-date numbers. The median sales price also grew, from $205,000 in 2022 to $222,000 through this June, a nearly 8.3% increase.

“It’s just lack of inventories and the higher interest rates hasn’t really seemed to slow the buying side down,” said Greg Blatt, president of Dayton Realtors. ”The number of sales are down but the number of sales have been primarily because there’s not enough inventory out there to to meet the demand. There’s still people out there wanting to buy we just don’t have the inventory to sell to them, so that’s why we’re losing unit volume.”

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage has remained above 7% for five straight weeks, according to Freddie Mac.

While elevated rates make it more costly for buyers, it’s also convincing many homeowners to stay put rather than sell.

According to Redfin, 91.8% of US homeowners with a mortgage have an interest rate below 6%; 82.4% have a rate under 5%; and 62% have a rate below 4%. That’s far below last week’s rate of 7.18% and a good reason to avoid selling a home and lose a much more attractive rate.

Year-to-date new listings in the Dayton area tallied 11,953, an 11.6% drop from last year’s 13,525 listings through the end of August 2022. Listings submitted just in the month of August showed 2,434 new listings available, compared to 1,739 in August 2022.

Blatt said he doesn’t seen anything on the horizon that will turns things around and set the market in a better direction.

“The builders are trying to build but the interest rate hikes have kind of slowed the new construction a little bit, so the cost of materials, the cost of labor and the increased interest rates have slowed new construction,” he said. “The only way we’re going to get out of this low-inventory market is we’re going to have to build more more homes.”

To do that, the real estate market, including builders, need to be working with the local municipalities and federal government, to get policies in place that will allow for homes to be constructed more quickly, Blatt said.

“That starts on the local level,” he said. “It starts with zoning, it starts with the permitting process and and it starts with incentives for builders to come into an area and develop it, whether that be tax credits or whatever, but it’s it’s the cost of construction, coupled with the higher interest rates that have really slowed new construction down. Sadly, it is the only thing that’s going to help alleviate the the inventory shortages.”

Sales of single-family homes and condominiums in August totaled 1,383 units, a 14.3% decrease from the 1,614 sales reported in August 2022, the 12th consecutive month of year-over-year losses.

The median sales price in August was $222,000, surpassing last year’s figure by nearly 8.3%. The average price of $253,921 for this past August exceeded last year’s price by 4.7%.

Ohio homes sales in August reached 12,730, a 17.2% decline from the 15,380 sales recorded during the month a year ago. The average sales price across Ohio in August reached $285,305, a 6.6% increase from the $267,610 mark posted in August 2022, according to the Ohio Realtors

“August’s home sales reflect market dynamics of higher mortgage rates and lower inventory,” said Ohio Realtors and Dayton-area real estate agent. President Ralph Mantica. “Ohio’s real estate market continues to demonstrate its resilience, evident in the ongoing increase in home prices, highlighting consumers’ confidence in homeownership as a wise investment.”

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