Dayton and Springfield, Ohio, are among the hottest home markets in the country as houses continue selling within days, defying the usual winter slowdown.
Despite a usual halt in home sales as Thanksgiving approaches and cold weather hits, this fall season has felt like an average spring, the season when Realtors sell the most homes, said Jan Leverett, Dayton Realtors president and real estate agent with Irongate.
Tami Holmes’ team with HER Realtors was listing more houses in September and October than in the spring, said Fred Holmes, chief operations officer for the team. Now they’re having the best November since the Holmeses started.
“Obviously the economy is very good right now,” said Brock Bowen, the president elect who will take over the Springfield Board of Realtors at the start of the new year. “When you’re seeing things sell very quickly, it’s because there’s not as much to choose from in the marketplace than there was in previous years.”
Because of the shortage of homes, the average cost of a home in the Dayton area has risen to $162,000, about 11.7% higher than in September 2018. The number of homes sold also jumped 7.5% in September compared to the same month the previous year.
Many of those homes are selling in just days, which puts Dayton, Springfield and Columbus among Realtors.com’s 20 hottest housing markets, based on how fast homes sell and how many links users of Realtor.com click. For the first time, Ohio had more metros on the list than any other state last month, mostly because of affordability.
“In so many areas, first-time home buyers just can’t get into the market. It’s just too expensive,” Fred Holmes said. “It would just take everything they have. But around here, they can jump in and get a fantastic house.”
In many other cities, millennials oftentimes can’t afford to buy homes because they’re strapped with student debt and lack money for a down payment and options for affordable homes.
The affordability also attracts retirees, Leverett said, especially when it comes to military members who end their career at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base or move away and look to return to cheaper homes.
“People are retiring and they’re out in Texas or they’re in California or they’re in D.C. where the cost of living is so expensive. They’re wanting to come back to Dayton. They’ve enjoyed their stay here and the quality of life it offers, so those retirees are moving back,” Leverett said.
But there has also been increased interest from people coming from out of the area for the first time, said Tami Holmes. Several of the people she has found houses for in recent months have bought without actually looking at the home in person, using a virtual walk-through to view a home from a different state.
A lot of that growth is from people who can work from home and don’t need to be within a specific distance from their company, so they look for affordable places to move.
Springfield’s market is even more affordable, Holmes said. The Champion City made the biggest move, jumping from 105 in October 2018 to the ninth hottest last month. Dayton jumped from 36 to 14 and Columbus moved from its eighth place finish to third.
“Clark County is a great area because of affordability and it’s location,” Bowen said. “We’re kind of centrally located between our Columbus and our Dayton areas, so we’re an easy commute-from community, but we’ve still got that small, hometown feel.”
The Miami Valley has become more attractive in recent years. Jobs are growing, among them jobs with higher salaries in technology and healthcare fields, Leverett said. Leaders have been working to rejuvenate both the Springfield and Dayton downtowns, Bowen said.
“We finally got people over NCR and Delphi and let them see that we are progressing,” Leverett said. “We are moving forward. We haven’t died. You know, they didn’t turn out the lights and close the door and Dayton’s dead. Dayton is alive.”
Meanwhile, the future is uncertain with some concern of a recession, the 2020 election and a potential impeachment of President Donald Trump, Leverett said. But right now interest rates are low for buyers and sales prices are high for sellers.
“People are worried about what the future is doing, so ‘Let’s do it now while we can,'” Leverett said. “The banks are offering programs that are just unbelievable. You can get a 15-year mortgage for 2.3%. That’s unheard of for most of us.”
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