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Published: Saturday, 3/9/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Fewer houses for sale locally credited for February rise in prices

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The average sale price of area homes rose 21 percent in February, largely because of a declining inventory of houses on the market, according to the latest report by the Toledo Board of Realtors.

Based on data from the board’s multiple listing service, home prices in Lucas County and northern Wood County increased to $103,554 last month from $85,307 for the same month a year earlier. The figure is based on 315 completed homes sales and 393 pending sales in February.

John Mangas, broker-owner of ReMax Preferred Associates in Toledo, said the rising prices are being driven primarily by a dwindling supply of homes for sale.

“That’s really what’s kind of catching up with us. We’re seeing a little shortage of inventory that’s bringing the prices up,” Mr. Mangas said.

New listings of homes for sale added to the multiple listing service last month totaled 637 units, down 12 percent from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the overall number of active listings on the listing service in February totaled 3,458 homes, a decrease of 15 percent from February, 2012.

That translates to an 11-month supply of homes for sale in the metro Toledo area. A year ago, the supply was nearly 13 months worth.

Brad Crown, president of the board of Realtors, said that if tradition holds, buyers should start seeing a new crop of homes placed on the market this month and in April. “We are kind of banking on that happening,” he said.

Last year, the tradition did not hold, and a springtime shortage of homes available for sale occurred. “We’re hoping now that maybe people are getting the message to sell now,” Mr. Crown said. “Most consumers are pretty savvy. They understand that interest rates [in the mid-3 percent range] can’t last forever,” he added.

The Board of Realtors is planning on the weekend of April 21 for its annual Spring Open House event, an annual promotion when it tries to gets its member agents to hold as many open houses as possible to generate buyer enthusiasm.

Foot traffic at open houses in February and this mnth has increased, he said. “Up until Easter weekend, we expect to see more and more foot traffic at the [open houses]," Mr. Crown added.

With rising home prices and some homes receiving multiple purchase offers, area real estate agents are feeling more confident the Toledo-area market, which has been largely dormant since 2007, could be on the verge of heating up again.

Mr. Crown, an agent with Re/Max Central Group in Sylvania Township, said he personally has been contacted by six home sellers anxious to list their homes in the next four weeks.

“It already feels like a spring market,” he said.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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