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Published: Wednesday, 7/9/2008

Northwest Ohio home sales stay on downswing

BY TED FACKLER
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The northwest Ohio housing market has suffered another hit, as home sales and prices slipped again in June, new figures show.

Sales were down 13 percent in Lucas County and 20 percent across northwest Ohio from a year earlier, according to the Toledo Board of Realtors. Selling prices dropped to an average of $120,000 in Lucas County and $124,000 in northwest Ohio, down $6,000 and $10,000, respectively.

But not everything is doom and gloom, as East Toledo home seller Jacey Duffer can attest.

Her $85,000 home sold two months after it was listed, and for only $4,000 less than the initial asking price.

"It's been the smoothest process," said Mrs. Duffer. "We didn't have many people go through it, but all of a sudden we had two people walk through, they made an offer, and we got out of it."

She plans to move her husband and three children to Oregon and purchase a more expensive home.

Pat Johnson, a sales manager at DiSalle Real Estate Co. in Maumee, said that although the housing market is down, it's not out.

"Business is going to go on," she said.

Through the first six months of 2008, homes under $29,999 have sold at the best pace, up 44 percent for the same months last year. Sales are up as well in the range between $30,000 to $39,999, and $400,000 to $499,999, but other sale price ranges are down, the Realtor board figures show.

The market for houses under $30,000 is up because of more low-income residents, and also, former apartment renters buying homes, said several area real estate agents. Overall, 422 such houses in Lucas County have sold from January through June, up from 293 a year ago.

The wave of out-of-town investors buying cheap housing also is a factor, said Mike Hayden, a Re/Max general manager in Toledo.

Plus, condo sales in 2008 are down 23 percent in Lucas County and northwest Ohio from the same time last year. Total unit sales dipped to 123 from 162 in

2007. As more buyers enter the market, houses have begun selling more rapidly than they did last year.

Sales of houses sold within two months of being listed were up 20 percent last month compared to last year, the realty group said. Plus, houses sold within a four-month listing period were up 28 percent.

"For a while, people thought to price homes high, and see what offers come in, but it just took an awful long time to sell," said Al Green, owner of AA Realty in Bowling Green and president of the Toledo Board of Realtors. "Now, people are recognizing they need to look carefully at their listing price" and drop the figure.

In June, the 7,841 homes listed for sale in Lucas County are down from 8,494 last year, perhaps a sign of stability in the housing market, said Mr. Green.

Contact Ted Fackler at:

tfackler@theblade.com

or 419-724-6199.



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