You can probably guess this, but I vote for â€˜something else.â€™ Before I get to that, letâ€™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 yearâ€™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 â€˜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 Kammâ€™s Corner area of NE Ohio. Iâ€™ll never forget the smile on his face when I gave him the keys to his houseâ€¦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. Itâ€™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 $180,000â€”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 â€˜something else.â€™
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.
Itâ€™s complex like life!