Encouraging news when it comes to the housing market. U.S. Home prices have shown the biggest year-to-year increase in nearly seven years. The news comes a week after the Toledo Board of Realtors released its latest figures for the first quarter of the year.
Those numbers show home sales and the average sales price in Northwest Ohio were up around 10 percent. Lucas County and Upper Wood County also saw sales and prices climb from the previous year. Local experts say the good news doesn't end there.
It's not just existing homes sales another segment of the market is also seeing a boost. Builders we spoke with say new home construction is up too.
In fact, one Perrysburg based builder say he expects to double his business this year. Ralph Slaske has been a home builder for a decade, "I am surprised by the increase in activity. I didn't see it happening this fast, certainly didn't project that, but this is a good thing, I am not complaining!"
In recent years Slaske would get 1 or 2 leads a month, now he's getting 2-3 a week. He expects to see a big increase this year in the number of homes his company builds, "Historically, we've been doing 10-20 houses a year, we could easily see double those numbers."
Slaske says his business success is good news for the regional economy, "Our staff numbers have increased in the last 6 months. We've been adding more people and our work adds to the workforce all over the area with sub-contractors and suppliers all benefiting from the increased demand in new housing."
There's also an increased demand for existing homes. Michelle Neiman of Danberry Realtors has been a realtor for 23 years. She says her business has picked up considerably from last year with houses beginning to move faster and bidding wars becoming common again, "The market has drastically picked up. I almost feel better about it now than back in the good old days, it's that good, especially in the last 90 days. Home prices are still good and interest rates are great. I sold four houses over the weekend, it used to be that we'd sell three in a week, but four in one weekend, that's sure better than it's been. There is some concern that this won't last, but we're hoping this points to a recovery of the whole economy not just the housing market."
There's more good news. Neiman says the list price and the sales price are pretty close in a lot of cases. Experts say Perrysburg and Monclova are strong areas right now, but of course there are some pockets in the local market lagging behind.