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2020 home sales up

Single-family home sales last year in Trumbull and Mahoning counties, and for just how much they sold, eclipsed figures from 2019 notwithstanding two hurdles — a lack of houses on the market and the viral outbreak.

A glut of buyers competing for scarce good, quality homes and historically low interest rates, in part, fueled the rise, said Steve Ferrebee, branch manager for the Howland office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Stouffer Realty.

“We’re seeing as soon as a home hits the market, if it’s priced right in a neighborhood that is desirable, it’s getting four, five, 10 offers on it within 48 hours,” Ferrebee said. “Normally, they are going pending within 48 hours, especially if it is a quality home and ready to move into … there are so many buyers out there right now that are trying to find a home that it’s crazy.”

VALLEY NUMBERS

Year-end numbers from MLS Now, a multiple listing service based in Independence that collects real estate data from 32 northeast, east and southeast Ohio counties, shows new listings in the Mahoning Valley were down — 8.2 percent in Trumbull County and 15 percent in Mahoning County — but sales were up — 5.2 percent in Trumbull County and 2.6 percent in Mahoning County.

“I think it was surprising to the whole real estate market because over the last couple years, listings have continued to decline as far as how many, so that built up a whole inventory of buyers that are out there,” Ferrebee said.

And those buyers are spending more in what is a seller’s market.

In Trumbull County, the average sale price rose 8.9 percent, from $115,739 to $126,044 and so did the dollar volume sold by 14.5 percent, from $237.7 million to $272.2 million, according to MLS Now data.

The trend is similar in Mahoning County, where the average sale price jumped 12.9 percent to $150,587 from $133,413, and the dollar volume sold leapt 15.8 percent, from $371.5 million to $430 million.

Another indicator the market is hot is average market time, which in both counties fell year-over-year. In Trumbull County last year, a house was on the market an average of 68 days from 80 days in 2019, and in Mahoning County, a house stayed on the market an average 61 days, down from 78 the previous year.

“It’s a sellers’ market and will continue to be that way for a while, especially with the lack of listings,” Ferrebee said. The glut of buyers out there is unreal. That’s a good thing for real estate, a good thing for sellers, a thing for all of us. It would be nice if we had more listings. That would be helpful, especially for buyers.”

The Mahoning Valley has for a long time suffered from low listings, in part, according to Ferrebee, because of the lack of jobs and new construction in the area. Employment should improve, however, when several large employers in Lordstown open later this year and early in 2022.

IN THE REGION

In MLS Now’s region, which extends from Lorain County south and east to Jackson and Ashtabula counties and south from Ashtabula County to Jackson County along the Ohio River, the number of houses sold increased 6 percent in 2020, from 45,280 to 48,015.

Dollar volume sold jumped 16.5 percent in the year, from $8.1 billion to $9.4 billion and the average sale price increased, too, nearly 10 percent from $179,352 to $197,061, according to the service’s data.

New listing fell 8.1 percent and so did average market time to 53 days from 65 days.

OHIO

The market across the state, likewise, was resilient, surpassing 2019 levels in sales activity, average sales price and total dollar volume.

According to Ohio Realtors, homes sales reached 161,960 last year, a 4.3 percent increase from the 2019, which notched 155,274.

The average sales price reached $212,517, a 9.9 percent increase from the $193,339 mark posted during 2019, and dollar volume last year reached $34.4 billion, a 14.7 percent increase from the 2019 level of $30 billion.

Around the state, 15 of the 16 markets tracked experienced an increase in average sales price for the year compared to 2019. For sales activity, 14 local markets posted year-end increases compared to 2019.

“Ohio’s housing market was able to overcome a host of significant, unforeseen challenges throughout 2020 en route to posting healthy gains in both number of homes sold and average price,” said Ohio Realtors President Seth Task. “Despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the persistent complications posed by the tight supply of homes listed for sale, Ohioans still opted to make a move in 2020 due in large measure to the historic low mortgage rates.”

ACROSS THE U.S.

Sales of existing homes rose 0.7 percent in December, pushing the entirety of 2020 to a pace not seen in 14 years and providing one of the few bright spots for a U.S. economy during the pandemic.

Rising sales in the final month of the year lifted activity to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.76 million units, the National Association of Realtors reported Friday.

Sales rose to 6.48 million in 2020, the highest level since 2006 at the height of the housing boom.

The median sales prices was $309,800 in December, up 12.9 percent from a year ago.

INTEREST RATES

Long-term mortgage rates in the U.S. slipped last week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported the average rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate home loan eased to 2.77 percent from 2.79 percent last week. By contrast, the rate stood at 3.6 percent a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans, popular among homeowners seeking to refinance their mortgages, declined to 2.21 percent from 2.23 percent.

The damage from the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. and global economies suppressed home loan rates through most of last year.

Economists forecast modest increases in mortgage rates this year. But they likely will remain relatively low as the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates near zero as needed until the economy recovers, Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater.

Freddie Mac makes its report Thursdays.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

rselak@tribtoday.com

By the numbers

Mahoning County

2020

New listings – 3,181

Sold listings – 2,856

Dollar volume sold – $430 million

Average sale price – $150,587

Average market time – 61 days

2019

New listings – 3,743

Sold listings – 2,785

Dollar volume sold – $371.5 million

Average sale price – $133,413

Average market time – 78 days

Trumbull County

2020

New listings – 2,467

Sold listings – 2,160

Dollar volume sold – $272.2 million

Average sale price – $126,044

Average market time – 68 days

2019

New listings – 2,686

Sold listings – 2,054

Dollar volume sold – $237.7 million

Average sale price – $115,739

Average market time – 80 days

SOURCE: MLS Now

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