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Published: Wednesday, 4/9/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

Toledo-area home sales dip 2% in March from 2013

But numbers up 46% from Feb.; agents expect surge in April

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
John Mangas, president of the Toledo Board of Realtors, blames the snow and cold that hammered the Toledo area for the drop in home sales in March. The board’s data show 370 confirmed sales. John Mangas, president of the Toledo Board of Realtors, blames the snow and cold that hammered the Toledo area for the drop in home sales in March. The board’s data show 370 confirmed sales.
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Toledo-area home sales fell 2 percent in March from the same period a year ago but they were up 46 percent from February, according to new monthly data from the Toledo Board of Realtors. Agents say they expect sales to surge in April because of a rapidly decreasing housing inventory.

Figures show there were 370 confirmed sales in March, compared with 377 for the same month in 2013. In February there were 254 sales, the board said.

But John Mangas, president of the Board of Realtors, said the poor showing in March mainly was because of snow and cold occurring the first three weeks. That weather factor is gone, he said.

“What I can tell you is that about midway through March and through the market we’re having even today, it’s just been a complete 180 [degrees]. The pent-up demand is real, and it’s really affecting the marketplace right now. We’re seeing multiple offers come in [for houses], crazy amounts of open-house traffic,” Mr. Mangas said.

“I feel a little like a broken record, but the housing affordability in our market hasn’t been better than it is now. Interest rates are historically low … and home prices haven’t really come up,” he added. “It’s just a great time to be a buyer.”

The local market, which includes Lucas and northern Wood counties, saw its median home sale price drop 6 percent in March to $76,975 from $82,250 a year ago. The median means half the homes that sold were above the median price and half were below.

The average home price dropped 1 percent in March to $103,058 from $103,710 a year ago. Homes stayed on the market an average of 118 days in March, up from 117 days a year ago

New home listings totaled 762 in March, up 7 percent from a year ago when they totaled 714.

Despite the additional new listings, the area housing inventory continued to plummet. The total inventory of 3,318 available single-family homes at the end of March represented just a 9-month supply, down from 9.6 months a year earlier, and down from 12 months in February.

Penny Kice, a real estate agent with Welles Bowen Realtors, and the president-elect of the Board of Realtors, said the inventory is now at its lowest point since 2005.

“We are low on inventory. We’re hoping that with the good weather people are going to want to list their homes now,” she said.

Ms. Kice said she and many other real estate agents have been particularly busy since April began, an aspect she attributes to better weather, but also to the low inventory.

“People are out looking again and listings are selling quickly. I think that’s something’s that a clue as to what’s going on in the near future,” she said. “It feels like it’s busier and people are reacting quickly to good listings. … I’m in two different multiple-offer situations right now. That’s happening a lot to [real estate agents].”

Ms. Kice said homes in the $100,000 to $200,000 range are selling especially quickly. “I think that’s because buyers are finding they don’t have the choices in that category that they had a few years ago,” she said.

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



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