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Mixed Views On Central Ohio Housing Market

Central Ohio home sales were up for the tenth straight month in October. While some realtors say this is a sign the area is “out of the woods,â€? other industry experts say “not so fast.â€? The Columbus Board of Realtors says residential sales were up 23 percent last month compared to October 2011.
The median sale price was up 11 percent to stand at $133,000 because the number of homes on the market is down. While the numbers sound promising, some real estate experts say they’re due to fewer sales of foreclosed homes. They warn large banks hold an unknown number of homes ready to be put on the market. That could increase supply and reduce prices. “Let’s hope the demand will be strong enough to absorb the supply," Ohio State finance professor Zahi Ben-David said. Ben-David said Ohio’s employment picture looks better, potentially creating more demand, but he does not think the real estate market is out of the woods. “It’s not clear to me the overall uncertainty is much lower than a year ago," he said. But Columbus Board of Realtors president Jim Coridan is more optimistic about a “realâ€? recovery. Coridan said he does not expect a flood of foreclosed homes on the market. “There are always exceptions to every rule," he said. "But I think what you were referring to would be primarily in the areas where there were a lot of production homes or where there were a lot of distressed sales. And I think those areas are not that great, not that many." Coridan expects home sales to hold traction through the holidays. But then OSU’s Zahi Ben-David reminds us of the looming automatic federal spending cuts and tax hikes at the first of the year. “Which means less disposable income and lower demand for housing.â€? The good news for home buyers and sellers is mortgage rates are expected to remain at all-time lows for many months.