Central Ohio saw a record 1,579 homes sold in February, up 10 percent from the same month a year ago, according to statistics from the Columbus Board of Realtors.

February statistics indicated that the combined sales total for the January-February period is 2,957, which is 9 percent higher than the first two months of 2005, the board reported.

“We’ve experienced a very active market early this year,” said Chris Reese, president of the Columbus Board of Realtors. “The fact that we have a high inventory of homes and interest rates are inching up has drawn savvy buyers into the market. But we know from experience, some of the credit also goes to Mother Nature for the mild temperatures we’ve enjoyed this winter.

The average price of a home dropped 5.3 percent in February, from $170,177 a year ago to $161,149 last month. This is the lowest the average sales price has been since February 2004 when the price was $159,581. “But that’s because we had more homes sell in the affordable price ranges and 25 percent fewer homes in the $500,000-and-above price range in February,” Reese said.

The number of homes on the market remains at a record high. There are currently more than 15,400 residential properties for sale in the Central Ohio area, 23 percent more than were listed last year at this time, according to the board.

“There’s a lot of competition out there right now,” Reese said. “Sales are up, but not enough to cover the significant increase in inventory. Therefore homes are taking longer to sell and selling for less money. Sellers need to price their home realistically if they want to compete.”

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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