Central Ohio home sales cooled further in December, falling from their 2005 levels for the sixth straight month, impacted by a large supply of inventory and not enough demand, the Columbus Board of Realtors reported.

According to statistics, there were 1,658 sales last month, down 9.3 percent from 1,829 sales a year earlier. For the year, some 26,251 homes were sold, down 4.5 percent from 27,493 sales in 2005.

The average sales price of a home in December registered $168,863, off the year-ago price of $173,723 by 2.8 percent.

Despite the decline in prices, the number of days on the market continued to rise in December. For homes that sold last month, the average listing time climbed to 111 days, up from 104 days in November and up 19.4 percent from 93 days in December 2005.

“Buyers controlled the market in 2006,” said Brad Bennett, 2007 president of the Columbus Board of Realtors. “Although lower than the year before, home sales were still very healthy. Not, however, healthy enough to satisfy the sizeable number of owners wanting to sell their homes. With such a high level of supply and not enough demand, buyers held the stronger hand when negotiating for a home last year.”

Although inventory in December was running 11.6 percent higher than it was a year earlier, new listings have dropped in each of the last three months. Some 2,302 homes were added to the market in December, down from 2,899 in November and 3,844 in October. December’s inventory of 15,613 homes was down significantly from the region’s record in July 2006 of 18,859 homes, according to the Columbus Board of Realtors.

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

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