Home sales in Ohio are at their highest level since the Great Recession. That's according to a new report from Ohio Association of Realtors (OAR).
Nationwide, home sales were relatively flat in 2017. But in Ohio, the numbers have been climbing up. In Northeast Ohio, nearly 46,000 units have sold so far this year, marking the highest level of pending home sales in the region since OAR started tracking the statistic in 2008.
"We're just Steady Eddy, which is a great place to be," said Pete Kopf, President of OAR.
Low interest rates on loans and a rising economy have helped boost home-buying, plus "there's a lot of pent up demand," Kopf said. "There were a lot of people who sat on the sidelines during the recession."
"The housing market really drives the economy for many reasons," Kopf said.
When people buy homes, they don't just pay sellers. Lawyers, movers, and furniture dealers make a buck, too. Kopf said if interest rates stay low and the economy keeps improving, homes sales will probably continue to trend up.
But there's a cloud on the horizon. In Ohio, and around the country, the supply of for-sale properties hasn't kept up with demand.
Nationwide, the housing inventory has declined for nearly 30 consecutive months, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. In some Ohio markets, that shortage of housing inventory is driving prices up to record levels.
“Until new home construction climbs even higher and more investors and homeowners put their home on the market, sales will continue to severely trail underlying demand," said Yun.
That could change next year, Kopf said, if elevated prices convince more homeowners to sell. But if they don't, he says many first- or second-time buyers may find purchasing a home less affordable.