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Business & Economy

Central Ohio housing market expert says downturn is a short-term issue

A sign is displayed outside a house for sale in Pittsburgh, Jan. 4, 2019
Keith Srakocic
A sign is displayed outside a house for sale.

Columbus home sales took a nosedive last month, in line with a national trend.

The group Columbus Realtors said local sales plunged more than 20% in September. Homes also took longer to sell compared to the previous month.

However, its was not a surprise due to higher interest rates, said Rob Vogt, a principal and partner with the real estate market research firm of Vogt Strategic Insights.

"Eight or nine months ago, we had 3% interest rates for mortgages, and all of a sudden, now we're up to close to 7% on a fixed rate mortgage," Vogt said. "I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that has really tempered the for-sale housing market in central Ohio."

Compounding the issue, Vogt said, is the stubborn shortage in supply of homes available for purchase.

But, Vogt said, the slowdown is expected to be temporary. Given factors that include recent economic development announcements in the region link the Intel factories in Licking County, Vogt expects demand for homes in central Ohio to remain strong in the long run.

"We will certainly have a bright future in terms of what the housing demand is for central Ohio," Vogt said. "Bright in terms of being a homeowner and wanting to sell your house and move on to something else. Not so bright if you're a low-income renter trying to find a decent place to live at a moderate rental rate."

Vogt said the Fed will likely continue raising rates to fight inflation, which will further cool the housing market in the short term.

"We will all be watching what the Fed does," Vogt said, adding that the slowdown will likely persist for the next 18 to 24 months.

Business & Economy Housing MarketReal Estate
Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.