Sales in October were up 26 percent in Lorain County and 35 percent in Medina County compared to October 2011, according to analysis from the Ohio Association of Realtors.
And some homes are getting multiple offers — a promising development as sales heat up, according to real estate agents.
First-time home buyers Sarah Baker and Anthony “A.J.” Eberhart are among the latest to jump into the market.
They bought a home at 345 Alexis Drive in Elyria for $140,000 with a big backyard for their young son, Mason.
“We were able to get the house of our dreams,” said Eberhart, who works for Defense Finance Accounting Service in Cleveland. “Why pay for rent when we can invest in a home?”
There were multiple offers on the house on Elyria’s southeast side and it sold quickly, said their Realtor, Kimberley Guelker.
“Record low interest rates and realistic pricing, some homes even below market value pricing, make this a great time to buy or sell,” Guelker said.
Prices are creeping up, too, said Brandon Marquard, president of the Medina County Board of Realtors and operator of M.C. Real Estate.
Not only have sales levels exceeded the pace of a year ago, the average sales price in Ohio this year is up to $135,435 from the 2011 mark of $128,954.
Nationwide, prices are up more than 4 percent, he said.
“Mortgage rates are amazing and it’s a good opportunity to buy or sell,” Marquard said.
Homeowners might take a loss on their sale, but will make it up with a good deal on the next purchase, he said.
Home sales also are being affected by the lowest mortgage rates in years. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has been below 4 percent all year.
“The industry remains cautiously optimistic” that the recovery in home sales will continue, said Guelker, president of the Lorain County Board of Realtors.
Marquard said the housing downturn from 2008 to 2010 did bring a bounty for people with capital who could afford to buy houses at rock-bottom prices.
“For a while, investors were eating everything up,” Marquard said.
Among those who purchased distressed properties were Harry and Mary Dowczek, who restored a home at 446 E. Washington St. in Medina.
They gutted the house they purchased for about $42,000 in the two years since they bought it. It’s now on the market for $148,000 and the couple are keeping their fingers crossed.
“We’ve had a ton of traffic,” Mary Dowczek said.
They are even getting neighbors involved, holding a neighborhood open house to show off the improvements.
“It was a rip-roaring blast,” Mary Dowczek said.
But Harry Dowczek said the renovations took a lot of labor, and there were unforeseen events — such as the need to replace porches that were initially thought to be sound.
“The whole house was a train wreck when we bought it, and we knew it,” he said. “Now there’s absolutely nothing to do on the home, and it’s even furnished. I’m convinced if I get enough people through it I’ll find the right buyer without a doubt.”
Statewide, home sales activity throughout Ohio increased 23.1 percent in October, according to the statistics provided by the Ohio Multiple Listing Service.
Sales of new and existing homes have posted a 13.1 percent increase during the first 10 months of 2012 compared to the same period a year ago, reaching 94,733 sales versus the 2011 mark of 83,728.
“It’s become increasingly evident that the Ohio housing market is making significant progress in its recovery from the economic downturn,” said Robert U. Miller, president of the Ohio Association of Realtors.
The association began tracking sales data in 1998, and the current stretch of 16 straight monthly gains is the longest uninterrupted period of sales growth the Ohio market has ever recorded.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.