The median seasonally adjusted price of existing homes sold in January surged to a new all-time record, increasing by 1.8 percent to $255,500, up 5.7 percent year-over-year. The average sale price for an OH home in January was almost 162 thousand dollars, up 4.8 percent from the same month a year ago.
With demand surpassing supply, the median house price increased 5.8 percent in January from a year earlier.
January's sales stem from contracts that were signed in November or December, so they don't reflect the sharp jump in mortgage rates since the beginning of the year.
Also on the increase was the total housing inventory, which ended January at 1.52 million existing homes available for sale, 4.1 percent above December's level.
"We expect a clear rebound in sales over the next few months, but the outlook for the second half (of the year) is more cloudy". "While the good news is that Realtors in most areas are saying buyer traffic is even stronger than the beginning of past year, sales failed to follow course and far lagged last January's pace". Measured at an annualized rate, sales in January were down 3.2 percent from December and 4.8 percent when compared to January 2017.
Despite the current inventory crisis, Yun thinks the tide may be turning. "There was a nice jump in new home construction in January and homebuilder confidence is high".
"These two factors will hopefully lay the foundation for the building industry to meaningfully ramp up production as this year progresses", Yun said. For 32 straight months, inventory has declined year over year. "Another month of solid price gains underlines this ongoing trend of strong demand and weak supply", said Yun. There now is a 3.4-month supply of inventory compared to January 2017's 3.6 months.
But limited inventory on the market is driving up home prices at a rapid pace, potentially blocking some would-be buyers.
The average commitment rate for a 30-year conventional, fixed rate mortgage rose to 4.03 percent in January from 3.95 percent in December, according to Freddie Mac.
Nationally, sales were down in January, according to the National Association of Realtors. Four percent of sales were foreclosures, and 1% were short sales. Economists often describe a "balanced" market as one with five to seven months worth of inventory.