Central Ohio home sales in March jumped 36.5 percent from the same month last year, setting a regional record for that month with 2,156 homes sold, according to the Columbus Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.


These sales put homes sold in the 1st quarter of 2004 at 17 percent higher than the 1st quarter of 2003, the Columbus Board of Realtors reported.


“There’s no question that this surge in sales was due in part to the fact that interest rates bottomed out in March. However, in talking with other Realtors, we’re hearing a number of additional explanations for the dramatic increase in sales,” said Skip Weiler, president of the Columbus Board of Realtors. 


“Sellers are more aware of the market, interested in selling quickly and without hassles so they are pricing their homes realistically. Buyers are more educated and have already made the decision to buy when they hit the market. They are making no-nonsense offers to purchase as they are looking for a home, not a ‘deal.'”


“We’re also hearing that, despite the fact that the national index of consumer confidence remained unchanged, Central Ohioans are displaying a general improvement in attitude and optimism. This translates to increased purchases including homes.”


At $163,955, the average sale price is 1.7 percent higher than last year. Year to date, the average sales price is $159,592 – right in keeping with last year. But due to the sheer number of homes sold, the combined dollar volume for homes sold is up 16.8 percent over the first three months of last year.


“We’ve seen a 15 percent increase in the number of homes sold in the more affordable price ranges this year,” Weiler said. “The good news here is that we’re putting more lower income and first-time home buyers into homes. However, such a significant increase in the lower ranges works to bring down the average sales price.”


“More good news is that homes in the upper ranges ($750,000-plus) doubled last month so we’ll be watching to see if our luxury market recovers from the slump it has experienced over the past couple years.”


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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