Montgomery County beats 2020 property transfers by $1B

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Nearly $3 billion in transactions beats any year on record, auditor says

A hot housing market is fueling a boom in local property transactions — and that in turn put nearly $9 million in Montgomery County’s coffers last year.

The Montgomery County Auditor’s office processed a record-breaking 30,447 property transfers in 2021, more than any year on record and a 43% jump over 2020.

In total, the county saw more than $2.91 billion in real estate transactions in 2021 — a leap of more than $1 billion from the year before.

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Last year was the most active real estate market Auditor Karl Keith has seen during his time as county auditor, he said.

Low interest rates are driving a lot of this activity, Keith said in an interview. “People are taking advantage of that.”

“Not only the number of transactions but the prices have been increasing at just such a phenomenal rate,” he said.

With the U.S. Federal Reserve expected to raise interest rates perhaps three times this year, will that activity slow?

Keith isn’t so sure. “We thought during the pandemic things would slow down.”

They didn’t. More than 21,000 properties changed hands in 2020, which was a busy year despite the pandemic’s onslaught. Last year bested 2020′s numbers by more than 9,000 transactions.

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“We were transferring even during the height of the shutdown, we were transferring 70, 80, 100 properties a day, every day,” Keith said. “And it’s just been a struggle. It’s been a struggle to keep up with. I’ve been surprised at the level; it hasn’t changed.”

Billie Duncan-Hart, 2021 president of the Dayton Realtors trade group, agreed it all comes down to housing. And she feels that prices will remain elevated, even if interest rates rise this year.

As of Tuesday, there were 1,820 Dayton-area residential properties pending for a sale, but beyond that, only 709 active listings available for purchase or for viewing, properties without a contract, she said.

That’s a low number of available properties.

“I mean, it’s crazy, it all has to do with supply and demand,” Duncan-Hart said.

No surprise: The auditor’s office points to home prices trending upward. In 2021, more than 78% of homes sold for a price greater than the county’s current value on the property. Those values were assessed in 2020, during the county’s property reappraisal.

The Dayton Realtors’ recent year-end report showed that the Dayton region saw the average home sale price increased by 11% in 2021. The average sale price in Montgomery County last year was $190,022, according to the trade organization.

All that buying and selling last year meant an additional $3 million in transfer fees to the county’s general fund, a total of $8.77 million for the year.

“Let’s not kid ourselves,” Keith said. “This is good news.”

And just in January this year, nearly 2,000 property transfers have been processed.

“When you hear someone say the local real estate market is hot, you better believe them,” he said.

New construction and building permits are also up.

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The county finished 2021 with 12,762 residential real estate sales, an increase of more than 40% from 2020′s sales and more than 38% greater than the previous high mark of 9,219 in 2018.

According to Keith, the county has recovered the value it lost during the Great Recession. The total value of properties in the county is nearly $30 billion, its highest total value ever, the auditor’s office said.

The county gained more than $3.5 billion in value during the 2020 property reappraisal, largely due to a 15.5% rise in residential property values.

The auditor’s office says also that the county benefitted from a “boom” in new real estate construction in recent years. The county saw $431 million in new construction in 2020, and another $255 million in 2021.

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