Hot home sales continue in Dayton market

Despite a record April, too few houses are on the market, local agent says.

Steady hiring and low mortgage rates continue to drive record-breaking home sales in the Dayton area.

Home sales in April were the strongest on record, and transactions for the year reached 4,161, a 10 percent increase from 2015 when total sales were the highest since the Great Recession.

“The market is hot. If you are wanting to sell, now is a hell of a time to do it. We can’t keep inventory,” said Austin Castro, an Irongate real estate agent in Springboro.

Castro said he listed two homes on Thursday, and by Friday morning he had two offers.

Despite the increased sales, low inventory is holding back more homes from being sold. There were 2,120 new listings added in April, down 11 percent from last year, and year-to-date listings were down three percent, the Dayton Area Board of Realtors reported Friday.

Some say credit issues caused by the Great Recession are causing problems for homeowners and potential buyers.

“During the recession, homeowners did whatever they could to hold onto their homes. Many who lost jobs were getting behind and missed mortgage payments. They were keeping their homes but getting behind, so their credit rating was reduced. They got dinged, and it’s holding them back from looking to buy a new home or move,” said Mike Martin, DABR president.

Housing, whether it includes home sales or new construction, plays an important role in the local economy and continues to be a bellwether of the national economy. In a healthy market, housing makes up roughly 20 percent of the economy, experts say.

The average sales price in April increased nine percent from last year to $146,678, while the median sales price recorded a 10.5 percent jump to $127,000, the DABR reported.

Martin said the southern Dayton market — Clearcreek Twp., Springboro, Centerville and Oakwood — is helping drive sales in the area.

“The values in general tend to be higher there, and it’s driving the median price up,” Martin said.

Castro said real estate agents are having to come up with clever ideas for sellers in the quick market.

“With the low inventory, what we are seeing is that people are afraid to list because they are worried they won’t have another house to move in to. So we are getting creative with occupancy — giving people extra time and moving back closings. A couple are staying 30 days, and buyers are happy to do it because they really want that home,” Castro said.

National sales of existing homes rose 1.7 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.45 million, the National Association of Realtors said Friday. Ohio and other Midwest states played a big part in that slight spark.

Sales jumped 12.1 percent in the Midwest, generally the most affordable region for housing. Dayton has been named one of the top five markets in the nation for affordable homes by several real estate tracking companies in the past year.

First-time buyers accounted for 32 percent of sales last month. The increase marks a slight improvement from the 30 percent share in March but remains below the historic average of 40 percent.

Demand has held up in large part because of low interest rates.

The benchmark 30-year mortgage rate stayed near three-year low this week at 3.58 percent, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. Rates are lower than both the 3.84 percent average last year and the historic average of roughly 6 percent.

Castro and Martin said they believe the hot market will continue as summer months, generally the best for the real estate industry, approach.

“The challenge you don’t hear much about is the election. I think it will impact the market because people want to know everything is right before they buy. Some people do look at that,” Martin said.

He’s also concerned with the slow increase of wages in the Dayton area.

“Wages are not rising as fast, so there is not as much buying power. Many millennials are paying more in rent than they would a mortgage, so they don’t have a down payment and closing costs,” Martin said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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