ZANESVILLE – Housing inventory is in short supply.
Houses that do hit the market sell quickly. That is great for realtors working through the COVID-19 pandemic, but people looking to buy a new home will need to move quickly.
“The market is good,” said Kevin McCollister, of McCollister and Associates Real Estate in Zanesville. “When I say the market is good, what I am referring to is, for me, when we do get a listing it sells quickly, we don’t have a lot of investment and time in the listing, McCollister said. And homes “are bringing a good price because there is low supply and high demand right now.”
Wayne Newland, of Leonard and Newland Real Estate Services in Zanesville is seeing the same thing. “We have buyers who are waiting for houses to hit the market, it seems like the inventory is really low right now.”
Carol Goff’s business is booming. Owner of Carol Goff and Associates, with a dozen offices around east-central Ohio and one in West Virginia, Goff said she is having her best year ever. “We have been especially busy selling vacation homes, lake homes. People buying second homes.”
McCollister said there will always be a certain amount of housing demand from first-time buyers and those relocating, but right now people are staying put in their homes and not upgrading. “But there is no inventory, because people who are occupying their homes are staying put. They don’t want traffic, especially strangers, in their home right now,” he said in reference to the coronavirus.
The numbers bear witness.
According to the Muskingum County Auditor’s office, there have been 1,058 property sales in Muskingum County through July. Last year, there were 1,110 property sales through July, and 1,016 through July 2018.
From Aug. 1 to Aug. 19, there have been 103 property sales in the county. The county saw 196 property sales in August 2019, and 190 in 2018. The numbers include commercial property sales, which McCollister said is a more consistent market in Zanesville, but not a very large market.
There are some vacant houses on the market, McCollister said, and people who purchase foreclosures and are flipping homes are doing well. “It is a good time for that, because we are low on inventory.”
The foreclosure won’t see the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for quite a while, said Muskingum County Treasurer Chris Hamill, simply because of the length of the foreclosure process. She did note sheriff sales have begun again after a several month hiatus because of the pandemic.
McCollister thinks the lack of inventory might be inflating housing prices. “I have a little bit of concern here lately, we have had some overpriced listings go in contract at full price. That got us into an issue years ago,” he said. “I don’t think there are enough properties selling right now that can inflate the market, but what is selling is bringing a pretty penny.”
Newland agreed. “If you are buying something now you are probably going to be paying a little more for it. When a house hits the market you might have three or four buyers looking for that same kind of house.” That can lead to a bidding war, he said.
The Columbus Realtors Multiple Listing Service said on Thursday that housing inventory was 41 percent lower than last summer. The service covers a vast area of central Ohio, including Muskingum County. The average sale price for a home is 10.4% higher than last year.
“For the first time in central Ohio history, sale prices exceeded list prices last month as buyers were paying more for a home than it was listed for sale,” the service announced.
McCollister said a lot of his agents are riding out the pandemic from home. “I have fewer agents working, but those that are are having great years.”
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