Central Ohio home sales rose 2.1 percent in August from their year-ago level, according to the Columbus Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

Realtors reported 2,639 homes sold last month, compared to 2,584 sold during August 2003. Year-to-date home sales are now 10.6 percent ahead of the same period last year.

Homes on the market last month were more affordable than those available one year ago, the association reported. The average listing price of $173,708 was 2.2 percent less than the average sale price a year ago at $177,638.

“This is great news for first-time home buyers,” said Skip Weiler, president of the Columbus Board of Realtors. “More lower-priced homes combined with the low interest rates are allowing many more Central Ohio residents the opportunity to finally purchase a home.”

According to Weiler, the unemployment rate slid a notch to 5.4 percent, the national household employment rose by 650,000 in the past couple months, and the prediction is that we’ll see better than 250,000 net monthly job gains over the next three months. This improved employment situation and outlook are likely factors helping to fuel late-summer home sales.

The Columbus Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service serves all of Franklin, Delaware, Union, Madison and Morrow counties, and some of Licking, Fairfield, Knox, Logan, Marion and Pickaway counties.

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