Home sales, prices on the rise in the Valley
By Jamison Cocklin
The Mahoning Valley’s real-estate market is on a roll.
The Youngstown- Columbiana Association of Realtors released figures Friday that show year-over-year improvements in all three counties in August.
Overall, the figures continue to trend upward not only in the Valley, but across Northeast Ohio and nationwide.
Last month in Mahoning County, sales jumped by 28 percent from where they stood in 2011, posting 215 closings at a median sale price of $77,500. In 2011, median sale price in the county was $72,500.
In Trumbull County, where the median home price was $79,400, up from $63,900 in August 2011, sales jumped by 11 percent with 168 closings.
“Everyone seems to be taking advantage of interest rates with as low as they are,” said Debbie Parisi, president of the Youngstown- Columbiana Association of Realtors. “This has been going on since the beginning of the year, and I think we’re seeing a pickup as we near winter — everyone wants to be moved in by then.”
Columbiana County was no different, where gains have been sluggish in recent months. August saw a marked improvement with 83 home closings, an uptick of 20 percent from 2011.
Median sale price there was $74,500 in August, well above the $69,900 median last year.
Nationally, sales of previously occupied homes rose by 7.8 percent, while builders sold 2.3 percent more new homes in August.
In Northeast Ohio, across 15 counties, sales of new and previously owned houses were 14.6 percent higher in August than a year before.
Economists are preaching caution, though, with the market still a long way from where it needs to be, but Americans typically feel wealthier and spend more when the housing market performs well, as consumer spending drives 70 percent of economic growth.
Valley home sales have been aided by a small boom in area economic activity, such as the oil and gas industry, and record-low interest rates on 15- and 30-year fixed mortgages.
“I’ve had people telling me that there may even be a shortage of homes on the local market,” Parisi added. “It’s exciting. This kind of news is always great for our business and the area.”