With bitter cold and multiple rounds of heavy snow keeping buyers away from everything from McDonald’s to new car lots, it’s not surprising that home sales are suffering too.
“It’s really hampered everything we’re trying to get done in the market,” said John Mangas, Toledo Board of Realtors president.
January is not typically a great month for home sales, but this year that was exacerbated by the snowiest January on record in Toledo and one of the area’s coldest months since recordkeeping began.
The association said buyers in Lucas County and northern Wood County closed on just 275 homes last month, a 23 percent decrease from January, 2013. Sales were down 29 percent from December.
“This year we went through the traditional holiday season bell curve and we just extended that into a bad weather dip into January and now February,” said Mr. Mangas, who is a broker and partner at Re/Max Preferred Associates in Toledo.
The average sale price of $102,550 was 1 percent higher in January than the previous year. On average, sellers got 94 percent of their original list price, unchanged from the previous year.
For the entire 10-county multiple listing service area, January home sales dipped 20 percent to 393 closings. The average sale price across the area was essentially unchanged at $98,530.
In Lucas and northern Wood counties, pending sales were down 31 percent to 284. In the 10-county area, pending sales fell 26 percent to 400.
“If people are disappointed with the January numbers, wait till they see the February numbers,” said Dave Browning, co-owner of Toledo’s Welles-Bowen Real Estate Co.
Because many of the sales closed in January were begun late last year, the full effects of this extended winter blast will likely not be felt until this month's data are released in March.
“They're going to really be rough,” he said.
Realtors say sellers are holding off on hosting open houses because they don’t want snow, ice, mud, and salt dragged through their homes. Buyers, meanwhile, aren’t eager to slip and slide all over town looking at listings.
For parents, Mr. Browning said the last month was particularly difficult because children had so many days off school.
But while he expects a poor showing in the year’s first quarter, Mr. Browning remains optimistic for the rest of the year.
“I guess I would say business we’re losing now is not necessarily business we will lose for the year. It just sort of pushes things back a little bit,” he said.
Mr. Mangas agrees.
“When we do get that spring thaw — whenever that happens — all of a sudden we’ll have a crazy two or three weeks where things are going off the shelves rapidly and the market will be back and things will equalize again.”
In 2013, sales of homes in metro Toledo rose 7 percent, totaling 5,192 units compared to 4,832 sold in 2012, according to the board’s statistics.