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Published: Wednesday, 4/13/2011

Toledo area home sales fall 6% in March compared to 2010

Real estate market continues to struggle

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
The Toledo Board of Realtors says home sales have picked up since the snow melted. The record February snowfall likely hurt the market. The Toledo Board of Realtors says home sales have picked up since the snow melted. The record February snowfall likely hurt the market.
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Sales of single family homes in metro Toledo in March fell 6 percent and average sales prices dropped 5 percent, a new report by the Toledo Board of Realtors shows.

The sales in the 10-county northwest Ohio region, including Toledo, declined to 511 last month from 543 a year ago, and sales prices slipped to $92,946 from $98,154 a year ago, according to a report released Tuesday. In Lucas County alone, sales decreased to 313 last month from 339 a year ago, but the sales price rose to $91,156 from $88,865 in March, 2010, the report shows.

Edward Sitter, president of the local Realtors group, said the decreases were understandable given the record snowfalls in February and the increased sales in the spring of 2010 from the federal tax credit.

"I think it's hard to read the market right now," he said. "The record snowfall in February really dampened the overall marketplace, but since March, we've seen an increase in activity."

In the first three months of this year, the report shows, the number of homes sold in the 10-county region was off 1 percent to 1,243 and the sales price dropped 3 percent to $91,648.

The board said sales of single family homes in Lucas County declined five percent in the first quarter of 2011 to 743 sales, compared with 781 sales posted during the same period a year ago. The average sales price for the period remained unchanged in Lucas County at $86,660.

The board said total sales volume by dollars across the metro area was 11 percent lower in March than it was a year ago, when a federal $8,000 buyer's tax credit was still in effect.

The report indicates growing sales on opposite ends of the price spectrum, but declines in the middle. Sales of homes below $60,000 climbed 12 percent during the first three months of 2011 compared to the same period a year ago, while sales of homes above $250,000 climbed 16 percent. However, sales of mid-priced homes, from $60,000 to $249,999, fell by 12 percent.



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