PEPPER PIKE, Ohio — For the past few years, the housing market across the country has been surging. But numbers reported by real estate company Keller Williams last month show a 43% decline in homes sold and a 39% increase in homes for sale.
Keller William’s report for January shows:
- 1,245 under contract – down 1.9%
- 698 Sold – down 43.2%
- 2,032 For Sale – up 39.4%
- $217K Average Sales Price – down 5.7%
Those numbers, one realtor says, don’t reflect a cooling market, but instead reflect a shifting market.
Alison Benoit is a realtor with Keller Williams. She recalled the peak of this recent housing market surge.
“We went from a market that was absolutely insane where houses were coming on the market and selling in multiples before you and your buyer could even get into the house,” Benoit said. “There were so many times where, you know, as soon as a house came on the market, you had to stop what you were doing, set an appointment and race out to that house.”
Anum Malik, a recent home buyer, knows that reality firsthand.
“There were a few times, quite a few times, when we wanted to go see and we were talking to a realtor so that we can set an appointment to go see the house and even before we can set a time, it’s gone. There were a few houses that we felt might have been perfect, but we never even got a chance to look at them,” Malik said.
The task of finding a home became daunting and seemed impossible at times.
Malik decided to work with the housing market instead of against it, changing the expectations she and her family had in their home search.
“In order to have some skin in the game, we had to really reevaluate what we wanted in the house, how much we were willing to pay for it and what we were willing to give up,” Malik said. “So it was definitely a little bit of soul searching in there as well. And to reevaluate what our needs and what our family’s needs were.”
Soul searching that many potential home buyers have experienced themselves—some opting to stay with or turn to other alternatives like renting.
Rental properties, Benoit says, are one of the major reasons for the recent change in home buying numbers and are shifting the buying market as a result.
“That kind of buying has stopped now,” Benoit said. “I have a couple of buyers that are interested in a more urban product. And I think those condos that you’re seeing, like in the city, in Cleveland, and the tax-abated properties, I’m seeing fewer of those available. I see in the greater Cleveland area, a lot of builders doing luxury apartments as opposed to the condos that they were building five, six years ago. And that kind of shifts the market a little bit too.”
Builders, like Asaf Gishron with the Sabor Group, can attest to that demand.
“There is a high demand for rentals. We’re developing also in Downtown Cleveland, we do the Agora Theater—we’re building a 46 unit and then 64 units next to Euclid Avenue,” Gishron said.
The increase in rental property construction may have shifted the market, but Benoit doesn’t think it’s cooling too much any time soon.
“I think we’re just going to go along like we always have. I don’t think interest rates are going to ruin the market. I think even if they go up a little bit more, I don’t see it stopping,” Benoit said. “People still need to move. Events happen. People get jobs that they’re making more money. They have more babies. They get divorced. They get married. They graduate from college. There’s always buyers,” Benoit said.
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