Barbara Stout couldn't be happier that the real estate market is picking up in Toledo.
The president of the Toledo Board of Realtors, who also is an agent with Danberry Realtors, said there's a healthy amount of competition among home buyers — something that wasn't evident a few years ago when the market took a severe downturn.
"Definitely, homes are selling," she said. "We're seeing multiple-offer situations, which we have not seen for a couple of years."
Home sales in the Toledo area increased 9.7 percent from April, 2011, to April, 2012, according to statistics compiled by the Ohio Association of Realtors. Homes in the Toledo area sold for an average of $99,026, which is a 1 percent increase from $98,094 in April of last year.
The increase follows a statewide and national trend. The National Association of Realtors reports that existing-home sales increased 3.4 percent in April from the number in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million. Those sales are 10 percent higher than in April, 2011.
Several factors have boosted buyers' confidence, said Walter Molony, a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors.
"We've had the historically favorable affordability conditions and job creation," he said. "You have had a sense of the bottoming out of the market. One of the things people are trying to combat is rising rents."
Mr. Molony said he expects strong sales to continue throughout the year and said they will be closely tied to the health of local and state economies.
Across Ohio, home sales increased 8.1 percent in April when compared with last year's numbers, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors' report. Carl Horst, a spokesman for the association, said he's optimistic the housing market is rebounding.
"In April, we posted our 10th consecutive monthly gain," he said. "Our numbers are kind of a reflection of the market making strides on the road to recovery. While unemployment is still high, we are seeing progress being made in terms of people getting back to work."
Low interest rates and affordable prices are two of the driving factors behind the spike in sales, Mr. Horst said. The average selling price of a house in Ohio was $130,003 in April, which is a 5 percent increase from an average of $123,544 at the same time last year.
Ms. Stout said her clients, both first-time and repeat buyers, are more confident.
She said now is an excellent time to buy because even as sales increase, prices are holding steady.
"Some of the fears are subsiding," she said.
Contact Kris Turner at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6103.