Friday, December 30, 2005

What's Going On In Ohio?

The Cincinnati Enquirer has a story today by reporter Marla Matzer Rose about the region's home sales jumping up again, for the 10th time in 11 months!

Hey, Ohio, what's up?

Here's an excerpt:
The number of houses sold in Southwest Ohio was up in November for the 10th time in 11 months. Sales also rose slightly in Northern Kentucky.

Southwest Ohio saw a 2.2 percent increase over November 2004. However, the number of houses on the market has been higher in recent months than in the same period of 2004 - a sign the record pace of home sales in the region may be cooling, as it is nationwide with historically low interest rates creeping up.

Nationally, sales of previously owned homes fell for the second month in a row, declining a moderate 1.7 percent in November to an annual rate of 6.97 million, the lowest since March, the National Association of Realtors reported. Interest rates have been creeping upward from historic lows, cooling sales.

"As more listings of homes come on the market during this period of modestly declining sales, more home buyers will find themselves in a better position to negotiate," said the association's president Thomas Stevens.

Moderately rising mortgage rates are allowing the housing market so far to cool slowly, easing fears about a crash, economists said.

The average rate on 30-year mortgages in November was 6.33 percent, up from 6.07 percent in October. This week, however, rates on 30-year mortgages dipped to 6.22 percent, Freddie Mac reported Thursday.

"The pullback in the housing market is continuing at an orderly pace," said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors.

The median sales price of an existing home stood at $215,000 in November. That was down slightly from $218,000 in October but up a sizable 13.2 percent from November 2004. The median price is where half of houses sell for more and half sell for less.

Geoff Barnes, president of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors, said indications are still strong for the local housing market despite the "buyer's market" caused by more inventory.

"Unemployment figures are good, and we've still continued to have a very healthy sales volume," he said. "People talk about the housing bubble, but we've never had one here. We're in good shape."
Read the rest of the story at this link.

— The Boy in the Big Housing Bubble