| The Columbus Dispatch
Central Ohio home prices jumped $30,000 in August compared to last year, reflecting the skyrocketing prices seen since the coronavirus outbreak began.
The median sale price of a Columbus-area home in August was $243,000, up almost 14% from $213,500 a year ago, according to figures released Tuesday by the Columbus Realtors trade group.
The August leap continues the dramatic hike in Columbus home prices this summer. Instead of stifling the housing market, the coronavirus has fueled it, as stay-at-home workers and families look to improve their digs.
Eager buyers pushed up central Ohio home sales 4.7% from a year ago, to the highest level ever seen in August. Nationally, sales jumped 2.4% to the highest level since 2006.
More buyers chased fewer homes. At the end of August, 2,748 homes were for sale in central Ohio — half the number available last August. Homes that sold in August had sat on the market a mere 22 days.
“Even with much of the economy on pause or operating at limited capacity, home shoppers are more than making up for time lost during the pandemic’s initial months and are snatching up homes virtually as soon as they hit the market,” said Zillow economist Matthew Speakman.
“There’s no question that demand for housing — high even before the pandemic — has stayed at a boil.”
For the first eight months of the year, the median price of a central Ohio home was up 9% compared with the same period in 2019. Competition for homes was so intense in August that the average central Ohio home sold during the month commanded more than its asking price.
Statewide, homes sales climbed 4.2% in August, while prices jumped 12.3%, as demand outpaced supply statewide. Also helping sales: mortgage rates that remain under 3% for a 30-year loan and under 2.4% for a 15-year loan.
“While historically low mortgage rates have helped spur interest in the market in the near term, we’re also hopeful that we’ll see a rise in the number of homes listed for sale and an increase in home construction to meet buyer demand,” said Ohio Realtors President Chris Reese.
Despite the sharp run-up in prices this summer, Columbus-area homes remain less expensive than homes nationwide. The median price of a U.S. home in August was $310,600, up 11.4% from a year ago.
“Home sales continue to amaze, and there are plenty of buyers in the pipeline ready to enter the market,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors.
Yun and others said buyers shouldn’t expect any break soon, at least until homebuilders start to fill the gap.