LIMA — Home sales in the Lima area were down 4.4% in 2019. But that was good news for sellers, as the average sale price rose 6.7% over the previous year, according to year-end data from the Ohio Association of Realtors.
“It’s a continuation of the trend of having more buyers than we have sellers,” said Tim Stanford, an agent with Superior Plus Realtors in Lima.
That trend has helped push the average sale price of a home to $132,776 in the Allen, Hardin and Van Wert county region, compared to $124,422 in 2018.
Low interest rates combined with delayed downsizing among older homeowners is at least partially behind the trend, Stanford said.
“There’s concern that Baby Boomers aren’t putting their homes on the market soon enough. … Those homes aren’t being resold as quickly as they would have been in the past, which contributes to the lack of supply for people that would be moving into them,” he said.
But Kate Shulaw, president of the West Central Association of Realtors, still sees a lot of older homeowners looking to downsize into lower maintenance homes.
She sees a lot of younger buyers too, who tend to prefer move-in ready properties for their first home.
“They don’t want a project,” she said.
The year ended on a more positive note for home sales, which were up 5.3% over December 2018, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors. But that increase still only accounts for eight new units, with 160 homes sold last month compared to 152 in December 2018.
And the average sale price in December was $128,548, lower than the annual average but still an increase over December 2018.
Lima was not alone: While home sales statewide were up 1.6% over 2018, the Athens, Firelands, Lancaster, Mansfield, Marion, Scioto Valley and Toledo real estate markets sold fewer homes last year than in 2018.
Even fellow west central counties like Auglaize, Logan, Mercer and Shelby, which are part the same market as Clark, Miami and Champaign counties, saw minimal growth in 2018 with just 0.9% increase in sales in the region overall, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors year-end report.
The average sale price in that region was $156,885, up 6.5% over 2018.
The Knox region saw the most growth last year, with sales up 108.6% over 2018. But the average sale price fell 5.1% to $172,977, according to the report.
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.