Outlook for the Ohio housing market rises with thermometer

By Carl Horst, OAR Director of Publications/Media Relations

Warmer temperatures are certainly brightening the mood of Ohio’s real estate professionals in terms of their current and long-term outlook of the state’s housing marketplace, according to the latest tracking survey by the Ohio Association of REALTORS.

The findings of our April Ohio REALTOR Confidence Index show that the mood within the ranks of the industry is picking up as the market starts the spring home buying season, as the monthly index rose from the level posted in March. When asked about the state of the current marketplace, the April Index jumped 9 points (to 63) from the prior month. Similarly, the profession was more upbeat about the long-term outlook (up 1 point to 69) and potential movement of home prices (up 1 points to 75).

Looking back to April 2013, the overall sentiment is relatively unchanged — down 1 point in the current outlook and mirroring the Index score in both long-term prospects and expectation of home prices over the next 12 months.

Ohio REALTOR Confidence Index

April 2014 March 2014 Difference
Current Housing Market 63 54 +9
Housing Market (Next 6 Months) 69 68 +1
Home Prices (Next 12 Months) 75 74 +1


The market has a number of positives as we head into the traditionally busy home buying period — sale prices and list prices continue to trend upward, mortgage interest rates remain favorable, many locales are reporting an uptick in inventory levels and, perhaps most important, temperatures are heating up after a miserably cold, snowy winter.

How bad was this past winter? Awful…at least according to a survey our Research Department conducted in February showing two-thirds of Ohio’s REALTORS seeing a decline in sales due, in large measure, to frigid conditions. Only 6 percent of REALTORS saw an increase in activity, while 28 percent reported no change.

Fast forward to today and we see a dramatic reversal…with 30 percent of Ohio’s REALTORS now saying that activity has increased since spring sprung, while an additional 49 percent say conditions are normal for this time of year. In short, nearly eight in 10 real estate professionals are reporting that its more than just the thermometer that’s on the upswing.

Ohio’s Early Spring Sales Activity

Tags: Ohio REALTOR Confidence Index, opinion, research

Ohio’s March housing report: Persistent tight inventory, rising list prices & longer marketing time frames

By Carl Horst, OAR Director of Publications/Media Relations

The latest snapshot of the Ohio housing sector shows a marketplace striving to find its balance — with a tight inventory of homes listed for sale, rising list prices and homes being marketed for a longer time frames — compared to findings of a year ago.

According to REALTOR.com’s March 2014 Housing Report, which tracks inventory of for-sale single-family homes and condos, median list prices, inventory levels and days on the market for 146 cities across the country:

The realtor.com National Housing Trend Report for March 2014 shows year-over-year growth in inventory and days on market, which are welcome signs for spring buyers. Combined with modest price increases, this growth speaks to a healthier market currently than in the early buying season in 2013.

Data from realtor.com reveals the number of properties for sale on realtor.com in March rose 9.5 percent above March 2013 levels, to 1,841,844 units. The median list price of $199,900 was 5.3 percent higher than it was in March of last year, and the median age of inventory increased 22.9 percent above year-ago figures, to 102 days.

Compared to the findings from a year ago, most Ohio markets experienced an increase in the median list price in March. Contrary to the national trend, however, the total number of listings across most of the Buckeye State continue to lag levels posted in 2013.


March 2014 vs. March 2013

Median List $
Total Listings Median Age of Inventory
Akron -4.1% -10.2% 0.0%
Cincinnati 3.3% 7.4% 25.6%
Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria 4.2% -7.6% -1.1%
Columbus 7.1% -16.2% 1.3%
Dayton-Springfield 9.3% 18.8% 35.0%
Toledo 0.0% -6.7% 11.6%
U.S. Average 5.3% 9.5% 22.9%


“While our marketplace, as a whole, continues to experience tight inventory levels of homes being marketed, there seems to be some slight thawing for the start of the spring home buying season. It appears that for sale signs are popping up more frequently in a number of Ohio locales,” said Chris Hall, president of the Ohio Association of REALTORS. “We anticipate further fluctuations in the coming months as market shakes off the winter doldrums.”

Tags: research

Ohio housing market sales activity continues to moderate in March

By Carl Horst, OAR Director of Publications/Media Relations

The number of homes sold across Ohio in March fell 6.5 percent from the level posted during the month a year ago, according to the Ohio Association of REALTORS.

Home sales activity in March fell 2.1 percent from the level reached in February 2014.

“While activity in the Ohio housing marketplace slipped from levels posted a year ago, overall our sales were able to reach the second-highest mark – both for March and throughout the quarter – since the onset of the economic downturn in 2008,” said OAR President Chris Hall. “A tight inventory of homes for sale and lingering winter conditions have contributed to a less robust housing sector so far this year.”

March’s average home price of $135,533 reflects a 3.7 percent increase from the $130,688 mark posted during the month last year.

Sales in March reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 115,081, a 6.5 percent decrease from the 123,028 level during the month a year ago. The market also experienced a 2.1 percent decline in sales from February’s upwardly revised, seasonally adjusted annual rate of 117,601.

Around the state, 16 of the 20 markets tracked reported declines in sales activity levels. The average sales price increased in 11 markets.

The first quarter 2014 seasonally adjusted annual rate of 116,726 is down 2.7 percent from the first quarter 2013 (119,956) and down 7.9 percent from fourth quarter 2013 (126,790). Total dollar volume during the first quarter 2014 exceeded $3 billion, down 3.1 percent from first quarter 2013 sales activity of $3.1 billion.

Data provided to OAR by Multiple Listing Services includes residential closings for new and existing single-family homes and condominiums/co-ops. The Ohio Association of REALTORS, with more than 27,000 members, is the largest professional trade association in Ohio.

Click here to view OAR’s seasonally adjusted Ohio home sales report. To access a market-by-market analysis of sales activity throughout Ohio, click here.

Tags: home sales, research

Legally speaking: Is it OK to ‘buy’ leads & offer referral incentives?

By Lorie Garland, OAR Assistant Vice President of Legal Services

The OAR Legal Assistance Hotline receives an array of real estate-related legal questions — including license law issues, disclosure, contract law, ethics and commission problems, among others. In an effort to help you work within the law, our “Legally Speaking” series spotlights some of the timely questions that are being asked by REALTORS. This one involves the legality of “buying” leads, as well as offering an incentive for referrals…

Q: I received an email from a company offering to sell me buyer leads. For a flat fee I would purchase contact information for individuals who have expressed an interest in buying property in my area. The fee I pay to the company is based on the number of names purchased not on whether the individual actually works with me or purchases a property. This company does not have a real estate license. Can I pay an unlicensed company for buyer leads? Also, I am leasing commercial space. Can I or the owner of the property give an unlicensed person a $25 gas card for every potential tenant that is referred to me and actually looks at the space? The gas card would be provided for every showing referral whether or not the referred tenant ends up leasing this space or any other.

A: Ohio Revised Code Section 4735.01 sets forth those acts which require a real estate license if they are done for another person and for a fee, commission or any other valuable consideration. Among these is anyone who “directs in the procuring of prospects or the negotiation of any transaction…which does or is calculated to result in the sale, exchange or renting of any real estate.”

Thus under this section, in order to receive any type of compensation or anything of value for referring a prospect for a real estate transaction, a person must hold a real estate license. This would include a buyer, seller, landlord, or tenant. Anyone who engages in such activity without being licensed is guilty of a first degree misdemeanor and can be subject to a fine of up to $1000 for every day the law is violated.

In addition to the civil and criminal penalties that can be imposed upon someone who illegally receives a referral fee, a licensed broker or agent who pays such a fee to an unlicensed person can be subject to disciplinary action as well. Under Ohio Revised Code Section 4735.18(A)(11) it is a violation for a licensee to pay commissions or fees, or to divide commissions or fees with anyone who is not licensed. Such conduct can result in suspension or revocation of one’s license, fines, etc.

Based upon Ohio law, the answer to both of your questions is no. Compensation of any kind to an unlicensed company or person for referral of buyer or tenant leads is prohibited. This is the case whether the lead results in a real estate transaction or not.

Tags: legal, Legally Speaking

Coaching Corner: Let’s get physical!

By Marilou Butcher Roth

Okay, I am venturing out on a rather shaky limb when I say (again) that Spring is here!!! Today, because it is so lovely outside, I want to look at our physical side — the part that is sometimes easy to ignore or put off.

Let’s face the facts — real estate can be rather taxing on us. We often put in long, hard hours to accomplish what we need to. I want to use my analogy of the savings account again for this situation — if you are not putting enough into your body, there will be nothing left to give.

How are you maintaining your physical health? Do you have a regular exercise regime? There was a man in a class that I recently taught that was a REALTOR and also did personal training. He was adamant that we need to walk 30 minutes each day! You may not go in that direction but you need to find something that you participate in regularly that promotes your cardiovascular health and vitality! When you are physically more active you also assist with stress reduction.

And, what about the food that you are putting in your body? There are lots of fads and trends out there as to how to eat. You do not need to be radical to be healthy. Pay more attention to what actually nourishes your body and how you feel after eating. Are there certain foods that create sleepiness after you eat them, or discomfort perhaps? And what about your portions? Are you stopping when you feel satisfied or continuing to eat just because it tastes good?

This week, think about how you want to look and feel in your physical body, and then ask yourself if you were at that place, how would your life be different. Once you have a good idea of what you want, sit down and create a doable plan of how to get there. You may get yourself an accountability buddy to help keep you connected to your goals.

Have fun with this — keep it light! And, when you finish reading this, go out for a walk!

Tags: Coaching Corner, training

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