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

Ohio Market Watch: Higher interest rates not expected to slow home sales

By Greg Stitz, OAR Director of Research

Only one in 10 Ohio REALTORS expect rising interest rates to negatively affect their level of sales activity throughout 2014. The Ohio Association of REALTORS’ April Housing Confidence Survey findings show 88 percent of respondents believing somewhat higher rates will not result in lower than expected sales activity. In fact, 31 percent believe their 2014 sales activity will increase regardless of higher rates, while the remaining 57 percent expect no change in activity.


Survey results are based on responses to a monthly survey, designed to capture the effects of the existing economic conditions and trends on the real estate industry, sent to a pool of 1,500 OAR participants. Click here to participate in future surveys.

Tags: Ohio Market Watch, research

Ohio congessman named top supporter of real estate

The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and the CCIM Institute have jointly honored Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Columbus) with their 2014 “Legislator of the Year” award, which honors members of Congress who have supported commercial real estate.

According to the organizations:

Serving his second term as the U.S. Representative from the 15th congressional district, Stivers was lauded for his support of all major commercial real estate advocacies, including Internet sales tax legislation, H.R.684, or the Marketplace Fairness Act. The companion legislation to H.R. 684, S. 743, passed the Senate with a vote of 69 (yes) to 27 (no). The bill would simplify and streamline the tax collection process for online retailers, correcting the inequity that permits them not to pay taxes, while brick and motor stores are required to charge and record a sales tax. Stivers also signed on to a letter urging EPA regulators not to hastily create regulations related to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled “Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting (LRRP) Program for Public and Commercial Buildings.”

Tags: Commercial, politics

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