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Ohio Home Sales Hit Record High in November

Home sales in Ohio are at their highest level since the Great Recession. That's according to a new report from Ohio Association of Realtors (OAR).

Nationwide, home sales were relatively flat in 2017. But in Ohio, the numbers have been climbing up. In Northeast Ohio, nearly 46,000 unitshave sold so far this year, marking the highest level of pending home sales in the region since OAR started tracking the statistic in 2008.

"We're just Steady Eddy, which is a great place to be," said Pete Kopf, President of OAR.

Low interest rates on loans and a rising economy have helped boost home-buying, plus "there's a lot of pent up demand," Kopf said. "There were a lot of people who sat on the sidelines during the recession."

[Credit: Adrian Ma / Source: Ohio Realtors Association]

"The housing market really drives the economy for many reasons," Kopf said.

When people buy homes, they don't just pay sellers. Lawyers, movers, and furniture dealers make a buck, too. Kopf said if interest rates stay low and the economy keeps improving, homes sales will probably continue to trend up.

But there's a cloud on the horizon. In Ohio, and around the country, the supply of for-sale properties hasn't kept up with demand.

Nationwide, the housing inventory has declined for nearly 30 consecutive months, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. In some Ohio markets, that shortage of housing inventory is driving prices up to record levels.

“Until new home construction climbs even higher and more investors and homeowners put their home on the market, sales will continue to severely trail underlying demand," said Yun.

That could change next year, Kopf said, if elevated prices convince more homeowners to sell. But if they don't, he says many first- or second-time buyers may find purchasing a home less affordable.

Copyright 2021 90.3 WCPN ideastream. To see more, visit 90.3 WCPN ideastream.

Adrian Ma is a business reporter and recovering law clerk for ideastream in Cleveland. Since making the switch from law to journalism, he's reported on how New York's helicopter tour industry is driving residents nuts, why competition is heating up among Ohio realtors, and the controlled-chaos of economist speed-dating. Previously, he was a producer at WNYC News. His work has also aired on NPR's Planet Money, and Marketplace. In 2017, the Association of Independents in Radio designated him a New Voices Scholar, an award recognizing new talent in public media. Some years ago, he worked in a ramen shop.