Central Ohio home sales dropped 14.1 percent in July from their year-ago level as prices continued to fall amid record for-sale inventory, the Columbus Board of Realtors reported.

According to statistics, 2,283 homes were sold last month, down from 2,657 sales in July 2005. Year to date, Central Ohio has recorded 15,562 home sales, which is 0.6 percent below the same period last year.

“The drop in sales comes as no shock,” said Chris Reese, president of the Columbus Board of Realtors. “Our members have been reporting that showing activity was slowing down since the spring. A drop in showing activity usually results in a drop in sales 60-120 days down the road.”

Inventory reached a record high of 18,859 homes at the end of July, as 4,705 new listings were added to the market last month, the board reported. July’s supply of for-sale homes was 23 percent higher than the year-ago level.

The average sales price of a home sold in July fell to $184,521, down 1.5 percent from $187,400 in July 2005, and down 4.1 percent from $192,424 in June 2006.

“I’m telling everyone now is the time to buy,” Reese said. “Interest rates fell slightly in July but are predicted to rise slowly throughout the course of the year. We have the highest number of homes on the market we’ve ever seen. And with fewer buyers, our sellers are working harder to be competitive. If you’ve considered buying a home, there will never be a better time to buy.”

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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