By JOY BROWN
Regional housing sales and construction continue to be on the upswing, real estate agents and contractors are reporting.
“With the continuously improving economy that we’ve seen in the last year and a half to two years, that’s helped foster better consumer confidence in the market,” said Jim Geyer, Heartland Board of Realtors president.
The board, which serves Hancock and Wyandot counties, said housing sales increased by 4.7 percent last year. A total of 1,477 homes were sold in 2013, compared with 1,325 in 2012.
Average prices increased in only one of three categories. Single-family homes sold for an average $120,381, compared with $115,880 in 2012; condominiums for $121,746, compared with $127,043 the previous year; and multi-family units sold for an average $56,836, compared with $64,145.
Statewide, housing sales rose by 14.7 percent last year, and the average sales price climbed by 5.2 percent, from $135,042 posted in 2012 to $142,004 last year, the Ohio Association of Realtors said.
December sales throughout the state increased by 9.7 percent, which “marks the 30th consecutive month of year-over-year gains in sales, the longest stretch of uninterrupted growth since OAR began collecting sales data 16 years ago,” the organization said.
“While we continue to face a number of challenges on our path to full recovery, Ohio’s year-end 2013 sales results are reflective of a balanced, stable and growing marketplace,” said Chris Hall, Ohio Association of Realtors president.
Geyer said some of the challenges locally include low sales inventory levels, and federal mandates that result in flood insurance premium increases for those who are required to have that insurance. But he said he’s still “very optimistic” about this year’s market.
“Those challenges are certainly not nearly to the level of challenges that we were facing three or four years ago,” Geyer said.
Building activity is also picking up.
Todd Richard, Findlay’s zoning inspector, said 24 single-family homes and 18 four- and five-unit dwellings were built in the city last year. In 2012, 17 total were constructed.
Jerry Hermiller, Hancock Home Builders Association president, said there were more than 35 homes built outside of Findlay last year.
“In conversations I’ve had with other home builders, they’ve said calls are coming in about building and renovating, even with this crazy weather,” Hermiller said.
Regional builders are also “seriously considering the spec market again. That’s a word we haven’t used in a while, but there might be demand, according to what we’re hearing from Realtors,” Hermiller said.
The Hancock Regional Planning Commission said four subdivisions were approved in 2013, including 30 lots in the Glenmar first addition, four in the Somerset first addition, and nine in the Somerset second addition, all in Liberty Township; and 39 lots in Allen Township’s Woods at Hillcrest eighth addition.
Subdivision approval doesn’t necessarily indicate that home building has occurred there yet.
The Home Builders Association is planning another Parade of Homes event this year. A date has yet to be set, but past tours have been held in the fall.
This weekend, the home builders and radio stations WFIN, WKXA and 106.3 The Fox will sponsor the Greater Findlay Home Show at the Findlay Village Mall. The show will include remodeling ideas, home improvement products, landscape design ideas, decorating and design tips, with more than 90 exhibitors.
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