Local New, Sold House Listings Down in August

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — In August, the regional housing market saw drops in new and sold single family listings compared to July –a sharp contrast with national numbers that saw sales of existing houses in August up 2.4%.

In the 18-county statistical area that includes Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties, Yes-MLS.com reports new listings dropped 7% to 5,656 in August, down from 6,062 in July. Sold listings were at 4,801, down 6.4% from 5,130.

Year over year, new listings are down 5.6% from August 2019, and sold listings are up 3.7% from 4,630 the same time last year.

The average sale price also dipped slightly to $207,960 from $208,453 the month prior, a 0.2% decrease. Compared to August 2019, however, the sale price is up substantially from $187,853, a 10.7% increase.

At $998,419,222, dollar volume sold in August is also up big from August 2019, when it was $869,763,515. Month over month, however, dollar volume sold in August is down 6.6% from $1,069,366,702 in July 2020.

Mahoning County led the Mahoning Valley in new and sold listings at 325 and 266, respectively. New listings were down from 339 in July, and sold listings were down from 285 listings.

The average sale price in the county was $175,704 in August, up from $152,463 in July, and up 17.5% from $149,560 in August 2019.

New listings in Trumbull County reached 265, down from 279 in July. The county reported 223 listings sold last month, up from 215 sold in July. The average sale price increased to $129,518 from $125,240 in July, and up from $113,550 in August 2019, a 14.1% increase.

In Columbiana County, new listings were at 102, down from 113 in July. Sold listings in August were down from the same number to 85 for the month. However, the county saw the second-highest average sale price in the Valley at $141,904, up from $137,265 in July, but down slightly from $142,059 in August 2019, a 0.1% decrease.

Nationally, sales of existing homes rose 2.4% in August as the housing market recovers from a widespread shutdown in the spring brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.

The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6 million homes sold last month. Sales are up 10.5% from a year ago and back to pre-COVID-19 levels of early 2020.

Although the pace of sales has slowed significantly after back-to-back months of more than 20% gains, it’s the third straight monthly gain after big, consecutive declines in March, April and May.

The median price for an existing single-family home reached $315,000 in August, up 11.7% from August 2019. Last month was the first time the median price for a home breached $300,000.

Despite rising prices, the lack of available homes has buyers snatching them off the market at faster every month, especially with interest rates settling at historic lows under 3%.

Properties remained on the market for 22 days in August, down from 31 days in August of last year, NAR’s report noted. It said 69% of homes sold in August 2020 were on the market for less than a month.

A lack of available homes has been a problem for years, long before the virus outbreak spooked many homeowners into staying put. The number of property listings for sale in August was 1.49 million units, a decline of 18.6% from this time last year.

Many economists fear the lack of inventory will continue to stoke higher prices, pushing many would-be first-time buyers out of the market. First-time buyers made up about a third of purchases in August, about the same as all of 2019, according to a report from NAR that year. Historically, the Realtor group says, first-time buyers have made up about 40% of the primary residence home buyers in the market.

“This lack of supply continues to push home-price growth higher,” said economist Joel Kan of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “The 11% gain in prices is far above income growth and threatens overall affordability – especially for first-time buyers.”

Regionally, home sales have climbed in everywhere for three straight months when compared with the previous month. Median home prices grew at double-digit rates in each of the four major regions from one year ago.

Sales jumped 13.8% In the Northeast and 1.4% in the Midwest. The South and West saw more modest gains of 0.8% over the previous month.

All four regions saw median price gains of more than 10% from one year ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.