If you want to sell your house, do it now!

If you want to sell your house, do it now!
Posted at 6:00 AM, Jun 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-04 11:38:47-04

CINCINNATI — We need more houses.

That’s the message from Tri-State real-estate agents, who saw an already strong first quarter in single-family home sales blossom in April like spring flowers. The only downside, they say, is a shortage of housing inventory.

It’s a message they’ve delivered before, but it’s even more urgent heading into the top sales months. “Priced right, a home in good condition might sell in a matter of a week,” said Patti Stehlin, president of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors.

“We’ve seen several times when it doesn’t even get to market,” she said. “An agent will know an agent who has a buyer, and it’s gone.”

That’s especially true in the most in-demand neighborhoods, like Hyde Park. “Homes there can sell for even more than the asking price,” she said.

Figures from the CABR show that, as of April 30, the inventory of homes for sale in the four Southwest Ohio counties the board serves was 6,436. That’s down a big 22.4 percent from April 2015. (Because of the cyclical nature of the housing market, year-to-year comparisons are more accurate snapshots of the industry.)

On average, Stehlin said, those homes are on the market an average of just more than 70 days — less than three months. That’s down about 10 days from April a year ago, a significant drop.

Tri-State home sales leapt 13.74 percent in April compared to the year-ago month, according to figures from the CABR and the Northern Kentucky Association of Realtors. Growth was stronger for a change on the Ohio side of the river, where sales jumped more than 15 percent, compared to a 9.5 percent increase in Northern Kentucky.

Northern Kentucky saw more robust growth, though, in the median price of homes sold. The 12.99 percent year-over-year increase brought the figure to $150,000, now the same as in Southwest Ohio. The median price in Southwest Ohio reached that figure thanks to an 8.7 percent increase. The median price is the sale price with the same number of sales above and below it. It is often regarded as a better measure than an average sale price, which can be skewed by unusual sales at either the high or low end.

The sales growth for the nine Greater Cincinnati counties the groups cover was well ahead of national figures from the National Association of Realtors, which reported that sales of existing single-family homes rose 6 percent April over April. Local growth was in line, though, with the NAR’s Midwest region, which includes Ohio. Sales there grew a robust 12.1 percent.

The median price across the U.S. rose 6.3 percent to $232,500. In the Midwest region, the median jumped 7.7 percent to $184,200. Greater Cincinnati by comparison remains a bargain for home buyers.

The list of the region’s hot-selling areas includes the usual suspects, Stehlin said: West Chester and Liberty townships in Butler County, Mason and Hamilton Township in Warren County and Green Township in Hamilton County.

She said she would particularly like to see more homes available in the $150,000-$250,000 range, a price she said was appealing to many first-time buyers. She said continued low interest rates made buying more affordable.

Stehlin’s wish for more housing stock will be granted, said Dan Dressman, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati, just not so quickly as she’d like. “It’s easier now to get financing, both for developers and buyers. So there's more money through the pipeline.”

Still, he said, some effects of the housing market’s collapse eight years ago can’t be quickly remedied. Those include shortages of buildable lots and skilled labor.

Trade workers who left the industry when work dried up have moved on and aren’t coming back, he said. Fully training new workers takes two to three years. “(Subcontractors) have more work than they can handle,” he said.

Dressman remains optimistic about the longer-term prospects. “Supply will be made available.”

Statistics bear that out. For the first quarter of 2016, the latest figures available, the number of residential housing permits issued in Southwest Ohio was 648, more than a 37 percent jump from 471 in the 2015 first quarter. Permits in 2015 were flat over 2014.

Follow Thomas Consolo on Twitter: @tconsolo_news.

Home show season

Spring’s warmer weather gives homebuilders an opportunity to showcase their latest construction. Whether it’s top-end, urban living or independent builders, there’s a Tri-State show for you.

Homearama: The granddaddy of Greater Cincinnati home shows is now in its 53rd year. The 2016 incarnation runs June 11-26 in West Chester Township and comprises seven homes priced from $750,000 to $975,000. Sponsored by Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati. Adult admission is $16; discounts are available. For more information and directions, visit the event webpage.

Parade Craze Tour of New Homes: This across-the-city showcase of 20 smaller homebuilders was moved to spring after its fall 2015 debut. About 4,000 people toured 54 homes on five weekends, most in April. The HBA again produced the show. The quick turnaround likely hurt attendance, Dressman said, but the association wants to keep it as a spring event.

Cavalcade of Homes: The Home Builders Association of Northern Kentucky puts on the region’s longest-running scattered-site home show. This year’s, which ran through May, featured 26 homes ranging from $300,000 to $1.49 million. Look for details of the 2017 show on its Facebook page.

CitiRama: Co-sponsored by the HBA and city of Cincinnati, this urban home show returns to College Hill for its 15th season. The houses at Gershom Grove will be eligible for city tax abatement. Dressman called this year’s location “one of the better sites for this event.” CitiRama runs Sept. 10-18. Get more information through its HBA page or the event’s Facebook page.


In the Tri-State ...

Closings of single-family homes sold in the Tri-State:


SW Ohio



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Median price of single-family homes sold in the Tri-State:


SW Ohio



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Sources: Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors, Northern Kentucky Association of Realtors

... and across the country:

U.S. single-family home sales (in thousands):





April 2016




April 2015




% change




Sources: National Association of Realtors, U.S. Census Bureau