Dayton home sales prices up double digits in 2020: Here’s why

Full-year numbers bested 2019 in key areas

Though the pandemic strangled wide swaths of the economy last year, there were bright spots. One of them: People kept buying and selling homes.

In new full-year numbers released by the Dayton Realtors trade organization, 2020 improved over last year’s record-setting figures in key areas: average price, median price, the number of solds and sales volume.

“The year was amazing,” said Sharon Geier, president of Dayton Realtors. “We really outdid ourselves, I think.”

Total sales for 2020 reached 17,283, compared to 16,625 in 2019, up almost 4%. Total cumulative sales volume for the year finished at $3.4 billion, compared to $2.9 billion in 2019, a 15% jump.

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Geier and Carlton Jackson, Dayton Realtors’ chief executive, acknowledged that March and April were tough months. But by May, a noticeable rebound was in the works.

“It was a little bit surprising,” Geier said.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

The state’s declaration that Realtors were allowed to continue their work as an “essential business” was crucial to emerging from the dark days of March and April. That wasn’t the case in all states, Geier noted.

“We’re creative people,” she said. “We pivoted and figured out ways to serve our clients.”

There were more virtual open house events and Facebook meetings. For some, virtual home tours became almost routine.

“We would see closings happening on people’s hoods of cars, out in the parking lots of banks, so folks wouldn’t have to go in to close quarters with other individuals,” Jackson said. “We just got creative and did what it took to make it happen.”

Total year-end figures translated into a final average sale price for 2020 of $196,897 and a median sale price of $170,000, both up 11%.

Relatively low inventory played a role in those price increases. The number of listing entries for the year totaled 19,336, compared to 20,289 in 2019, down 4%, and the inventory on hand hovered around the two-month supply level for most of the year, the organization said.

Inventory “created an interesting market that was great for the seller, challenging for the buyer,” Geier said. “Lots of multiple offers to be dealt with. But it just kept us going — it’s amazing, considering what we were faced with.”

It wasn’t just Dayton.

“The housing market in 2020 proved to be incredibly resilient, ending the year on a high note,” an email from Columbus Realtors said. “Home sales and prices were higher than 2019 across most market segments and across most of the country.”

Housing is providing a boost to the economy in more than one way.

According to PNC Financial, national housing construction starts in December rose to their highest level since September 2006.

Single-family starts rose 12% in December to 1.338 million, nationally. This was the eighth straight monthly increase in single-family starts and the highest level of single-family starts since September 2006.

“After a sharp drop in housing activity last spring as the early stage of the pandemic shut down much of the economy, the housing market has rebounded and is supporting overall economic growth,” said Abbey Omodunbi, PNC economist.

Jackson said the Dayton Realtors organization has a close working relationship with area home builders.

“We’re trying to be part of the (solution) regarding the lack of housing and availability,” he said. “There have been concerns that there is not enough workforce housing. What do we need to do to break down regulatory barriers so we can build housing for our nurses and policemen and those sorts of folks?”

For the month of December, the average sale price in the Dayton area landed at $199,665, up almost 15% from last year. The median price of $172,000 was up 19% from last year. A sales volume of $289 million was a 28% improvement over December 2019.

“Optimistically, vaccines and rising prices will prompt more current homeowners to list their homes, meeting the strong demand in the market,” Nationwide Senior Economist Ben Ayers said in a note Friday. “Still, we expect above-average price gains for some time as demand will likely continue to surpass supply through 2021 and into 2022.”

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