The State of the NE Ohio Real Estate Market. Is it Boom, Bust, or Something Else?

Posted by: Carole Cohen on March 18th, 2008

You can probably guess this, but I vote for ‘something else.’ Before I get to that, let’s do some statistics. Thanks to Mike Wright of our MLS NORMLS system for putting together market stats.

January 2008 saw 5,462 listings on the market in our six county area of NE Ohio. (This includes Medina, Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula.) This was an 84.1% increase from the same time frame in January 2007.

There were 1,112 homes sold (single family) in January of 2008 in the six county region. That was a 25.5% decline over last year’s figures.

The lowest sale price was $1.000.00 (yes, you are looking at that correctly, that is one thousand). The highest sale price in January 2008 was $1,825,000.00. Overall, sales prices are down about 50%.

The biggest factor, in my opinion, is the rate of foreclosures we are experiencing.

Tie that in with anyone who gets a job transfer and tries to sell a home when they have not owned it for a long period of time and well, they might be in a short sale or foreclosure situation, too.

Some of this is sobering, yes. There are some up sides, however.

The interest rates may be hovering closer to 6% now, but is that still not better than the 14% rates I had as a homeowner in the 80s? And home buyers are finding they have a larger choice of homes available than they would have a few years ago.

Sale prices are a good ten to twenty thousand less (in some neighborhoods) than they would have been a few years ago.

This brings me to my last point of ‘something else.

NE Ohio is a credible housing market of value to First Time Home Buyers.

First Time Buyers have already discovered this fact, because they make up almost the entirety of the buyers I am working with today. I checked through my list of sales over the past year and 80 % were FTBs.

Over the last four months, every one, without fail, was to a first time home buyer. There was the U.S. Marine who came back from Iraq and bought a home in the Kamm’s Corner area of NE Ohio. I’ll never forget the smile on his face when I gave him the keys to his house…an absolutely beautiful colonial with an upgraded master suite replete with skylights, and a lower level with high ceilings and a large entertainment room.

This was a home we found and were able to purchase for less than $150,000 in one of the most desirable neighborhoods of Cleveland.

Then there was the gal who works for one of the prestigious medical facilities here in NE Ohio, who spent a while analyzing neighborhoods, and picked Ohio City. We found her first home on an extremely large lot with a two car garage (and rehabbed inside btw), all for under $150,000.

Which in Ohio City is no small feat.

Last week my two young clients and I closed on a house in Bay Village for under $140,000. It’s in move in condition, full of that cottage yet old world feel you can find in Bay Village on the Lake. I remember looking for a home for a gal who was moving here from Chicago two Summers ago. She wanted Bay Village because she had a relative there. The least expensive home we could find for her was $180,000—and the home was very similar to the one I just sold in the $140s. These kinds of prices were unheard of a few years ago in Bay Village.

I have many more stories, but you get the idea.

I had two more people call me today while I was showing homes to two more First Time Home Buyer clients. Assuming all four people think I am not crazy and keep working with me, that means I have four more First Time Home Buyer clients (plus two who have not bought yet) and one who wrote an offer today.

This is a typical week for me and for the other agents in my Cleveland City office now.

So the state of the housing market in NE Ohio is ‘something else.’

Full of hope for buyers who have never purchased before, but not without stress for those trying to sell their homes and make enough money to pay off their mortgages.
It’s complex like life!



6 Comments on “The State of the NE Ohio Real Estate Market. Is it Boom, Bust, or Something Else?”

Gabriel Macias

Hi Carole,

Thanks for contributing to our blog. Do you see a correlation between the fact that 80% of your business is FTB and that consumer group’s use of the internet to find homes?

I will readily admit that working for HomeGain makes this question absolutely self serving…but just curious. :)

Carole Cohen

Hi Gabriel good question. All but a small percentage of my contacts/customers/clients utilize the internet. There is a segment of the population here who do not own a computer – usually older but sometimes it’s simplly economics. For those people I drop off information at their homes. The rest of them, be they first time home buyers or middle aged relocators or empty nesters or families — they all use internet search methods. My primary method of contact for all clients is email or texting, then the phone. And yes now I will be asking if people have used Home Gain. Thanks.

Jay Thompson

Hi Carole. Just wanted to pop in and welcome you to the “HomeGain Guest Bloggers Team.”

I always like learning about the markets in other parts of the country. You’ve got 5,400 listings in six counties, we’ve got almost 60,000 in one. (But we have BIG counties out here in the wild west.)

Cyndee Haydon

Carol – Congrats on new digs :) – I agree we’re seeing more first time home buyers and just this week a close mortgage professional told me 5% down loans evaporated over night so FHA loans continue to be the main product moving if it’s not a cash purchase.
The good news is that a lot of people are now able to get their own home.

Carole Cohen

Hi Jay, thanks for the welcome. Wow, 60k….and if the counties are that large I imagine it’s even harder to work real estate from one end to the other…in fact too hard to do that here too.

Hi Cyndee, yes we are feeling the same way about FHA…..they have a buyer bonus program too, such a deal lol

Looking forward to reading both of your posts as well. Cheers.

Nic Gioffre

Wow how do you guys in Ohio foreclose? Is the heating bill to high? I know a few thousand dollars might make or break you so try this:

Flat Fee MLS and you can save 6 percent. Or 6 thousand on the sale…lol

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