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Home sales building momentum

Melissa Topey • Jan 26, 2014 at 2:50 PM

For many, buying a home is still part of the American Dream.

Lindsey and Daniel Hoke married in August 2012. About a year later, they closed on the Sandusky house on Columbus Avenue, where they would make their home.

“Even right now we cannot believe it is ours” Lindsey said.

Residential home sales in the Firelands region in 2013 came in at 2,651, about a 14 percent increase over the 2,322 sales in 2012.

The average selling price for a home last year in the Firelands region was about $115,200 — about a 3 percent increase over the 2012 average price of $112,000.

“That percentage of 3 percent mirrors the state average” said Jeff Berquist, broker and owner with Stadtmiller Realty and member of the Firelands Association of Realtors.

The Hokes felt they got a good deal paying $121,500 for their home.

“It had been redone with new floors, new carpet, new electric, new plumbing and more,” Lindsey said. “It was essentially a brand-new home”

Mortgage rates are increasing from historic lows in 2013, such as a 30-year loan at 3.375 percent or a 15-year mortgage of 2.625 percent.    Mortgage rates could jump to 5.5 percent by June, Berquist said.

That’s still low, allowing a trend to continue of first-time homebuyers purchasing a higher-priced home that would normally be seen as a second home.

That second home as first phenomenon could be contributing to pockets of resistance throughout Sandusky, where there’s more supply than demand. The average selling price of a home, which naturally mirrors inflation, could go up another 3.5 to 4 percent, he said.

“Which is still reasonable” Berquist said.

Ohio home sales continue to make headway coming out of the recession years, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors.

Year-end 2013 sales of new and existing homes in Ohio totaled 132,566 homes, a 14.7 percent increase from the 115,565 homes sold in 2012.

In Ohio, the average home sold for $142,000 last year and about $135,000 the year prior.

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