LIMA — While its progress continues to lag behind other parts of the economy, the housing market made steady improvement from 2011 to 2012 in the region.
That improvement was part of an overall positive direction for the state.
The number of homes, total sales and average cost all increased in the West Central Ohio market in 2012 over 2011. The average days on the market continues to decline from 2011 to 2012, including 117 days in the 4th quarter of 2012.
The housing numbers are part of an overall regional economy that appeared to hold in 2012 modest gains made in 2011, regional economic indicators show.
Local real estate agents are confident about the market heading into 2013, because 2012 monthly results kept trending upward, said Joe Guagenti, president of the West Central Association of Realtors and an agent with Azzarello’s Realty.
From November 2011 to November 2012, home sales went up 18 percent and the sales price went up 25 percent. The average price went up 6.2 percent. November marked 16 consecutive months of positive growth in Ohio, Guagenti said.
“It’s reflected in the inventory. There is a lot less now than the previous couple of years,” Guagenti said. “It’s not quite as easy to find a super great buy. That’s improved for sellers. We’re at least back to a neutral area in the region. It feels like houses are taking less time to sell. Housing going on the market for a reasonable price to start with, are not on the market very long.”
In Ohio, the housing market showed a number of positives in 2012, as sales activity rose 12.7 percent over the level of the previous year and the average sales price rose 5.5 percent statewide, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors.
“The Ohio housing market made significant progress in its attempt to fully recover from the economic challenges of the past few years,” said Thomas J. Williams, president of the Ohio Association of Realtors. “Our year-end 2012 results are reflective of a marketplace that appears to have regained its footing and returned to traditionally stable levels.”
Sales of new and existing homes in Ohio for 2012 totalled 114,457, a 12.7 percent increase from the 101,561 sales posted in 2011, according to the statistics provided by the state’s Multiple Listing Services.
Car sales held steady from 2011 to 2012, the data show. About 500 fewer total cars were sold in the region in 2012 than in 2011. But, in the mix, about 1,000 more new cars were sold in 2012 than the year before.
At the Reineke dealerships in Lima, General Manager Mike Saddler said he’s noticed the demand for new, not just new-to-you cars. For all Reineke dealerships, new car sales by volume is up 26 percent from 2011 to 2012. Some of that increase is coming from Reineke continuing to purchase new stores. But some of it is from pent-up demand for new cars.
“Everybody likes something new, something that’s been redesigned. The Ford Fusion, the Nissan Altima, the Mazda CX-5 are all doing really well,” said Saddler, who has been in the car sales business since 1991 and with Reineke since 2005. “People want something different. We’re definitely seeing the increase in sales volume from new cars.”
Reineke took over Lima’s Ford dealership in the fall of 2011. The Ford dealership has seen multiple owners in recent years, which hurt sales. However, Reineke bringing customer care and stability to the dealership has meant potential buyers are showing back up, which has helped overall sales numbers in Lima.
Among other 2012 economic indicators:
• Sales tax received by Allen, Auglaize and Putnam counties increased in 2012 over 2011. Sales tax lags three months from when people spend to when the state sends it to counties, so the 4th Quarter 2012 numbers don’t reflect holiday sales.
• The unemployment rates of area counties continue to improve from 2011 to 2012, and showed even more positive trends as the 2012 went on. The region’s average unemployment rate for 2011 (which includes Allen, Auglaize and Putnam counties) was 9.5 percent. In 2012 that number dropped to 7.3 percent.