Metro Toledo is a mixed bag when it comes to vacant homes and residential rental properties.
While vacancies in nonrental homes as well as rentals decreased throughout metro Toledo in the first quarter of 2012, the area still has the highest vacancy rate of nonrental houses -- 5.6 percent -- among the nation's 75 largest metro areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Conversely, in terms of rental vacancies, metro Toledo's rate of 6.4 percent is much lower when compared nationally, with the area tied for 45th among the 75 largest metro areas. The rate also is the second lowest among Ohio's six largest metro areas.
Toledo's rental-vacancy rate fell from 9.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011, according to April data, the most recent figures released by the census bureau. The vacancy rate for nonrental homes of 5.6 percent was down from 8.1 percent in the first quarter or 2011.
"You could explain the rental rate because not as many people qualify for home loans as there used to be," said Barb Stout, 2012 president of the Toledo Board of Realtors. "I just think there's more jobs coming to Toledo and I think we've got some good things happening with the casino opening and the expansion at Jeep. As far as homes, our inventory is down a touch. I think that is because the foreclosures are down a touch."
June statistics released by the Ohio Association of Realtors show home sales in metro Toledo were up 17.6 percent when compared with the same month a year earlier. Sales also increased 13.9 percent for the first six months of the year when compared with the same period in 2011.
The average selling price for June and the first six months of the year also increased from last year.
The June price increased 4.1 percent to $124,027, and the January-through-June average was $104,263, up 2.9 percent.
"People are buying homes," Ms. Stout said.
The Ohio Association of Realtors observed sales and price increases across most markets in the state, which mirrors the decreased rental and nonrental vacancy rates recorded by the census bureau.
In Ohio, the rental-vacancy rate also decreased in four of the five other metro areas tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau.
First quarter rental-vacancy rates were 5.5 percent in Akron, 11.6 in Cleveland, 11.8 in Columbus, and 11.5 in Dayton.
The only growth was in Cincinnati, which minimally increased to 9 percent from 8.9 percent a year ago.
Vacancy rates in nonrental homes also decreased in four of Ohio's five largest metro areas: by 0.5 percent in Akron, 1.9 in Cincinnati, 2.9 in Cleveland, and 2.8 in Columbus.
Dayton was the only city to increase, where the vacancy rate grew to 4.2 percent from 3.2 percent from a year earlier.
Carl Horst, a spokesman for the Ohio Association of Realtors, said he could not explain the decreased rate among nonrental homes statewide, but said multifamily rental units are in demand.
"That market, occupancy rates were starting to go up," Mr. Horst said.
"Logically following, rental rates would increase as well."
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