Rent, buy or build? Housing pros help explore options in hot housing market

Posted at 4:21 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 19:49:21-04

CINCINNATI — Apartment guides predict more renters will turn to buying because complexes could raise their rates. It can be linked back to the economy rebounding from the pandemic, Realtors told WCPO.

So: rent, build or buy?

Land, lumber and labor prices are at record high prices this week. One 2x4 cost about $3 this time last year. Now, it is nearly $14 dollars.

It's a combination that Cincinnati builder Ben Fry called the "three-L shortage."

"Not only lumber. Siding is going up, windows going up, garage doors going up. I mean, every single day I feel like we get another e-mail from a vendor saying, 'Here's another price increase' on something," said Fry.

Fry says what would take five months to construct could now take 10.

He says industries slowed production when the pandemic began, concerned that fewer people would build.

"Right at the beginning, everybody thought we were going to slow down and not build," said Fry. "Then everybody kind of built. So, there’s a real-time constraint on materials."

Sarah Harmeling said she considered buying.

"We couldn't find a house anywhere. They were all so expensive, and they needed a lot of work," said Harmeling.

Keller Williams Pinnacle Group Realtor Ellie Kowalchik said over the past six months, the average sale price in Cincinnati is $270,629.

That's up 5% compared to the six months prior, she said, with the average sale price from June 2020 to December 2020 at $257,523.

In some cases, she said, appraisals show the home's worth less, and that can make it more difficult to get a loan.

"Hold tight," said Kowalchik. "More choices are coming for them."

She said a record number of people are selling in our region: There were 1,000 listings last week. This time last year, there were about 700 a week.

"There's more choices for buyers. I am seeing a few less offers on each listing," she said. "So, I think buyers are going to have a little bit more opportunity to win coming up, and the interest rates haven't moved much yet."

She said that means interest rates make renting a poor choice.

Harmeling decided to build after finding land in Anderson, and builders, too, expect material prices to fall with more production.

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