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Home sales dip in November from last year: Lucas, Wood County agents overcome slow start to 2014

BY CHIP TOWNS 
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Lucas and northern Wood counties sales are up 1 percent for the year, despite being down 13 percent in the first few months.Lucas and northern Wood counties sales are up 1 percent for the year, despite being down 13 percent in the first few months.
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It’s time for a little bit of a breather for those involved in home sales.

“We’ve really done about 11 months worth of business in seven months,” said Penny Kice, who was installed this week as the president of the newly named Toledo Regional Association of Realtors.

Sales in Lucas and northern Wood counties are up 1 percent for the year, despite being down 13 percent in the first three months of the year.

The Realtors’ group reported 342 sales in November, down 5 percent from November, 2013. The median sales price was up 1 percent to $95,500.

Ms. Kice, who is an agent with Welles Bowen, said she is happy with the way things are going.

“It feels like the market is still positive,” she said. “I hope we can continue along in the same vein.”

November sales were down 31 percent from October, but Ms. Kice said that’s a result of both very strong October numbers and the typical slowdown that comes late in the year.

She expects this month to be relatively relaxed as well.

“If people don’t have to move in December, they don’t,” Ms. Kice said.

“Things are usually slow from about Nov. 15 until sometime after the first of the year,” said John Mangas, the outgoing president. “Hopefully we won’t have the kind of winter we did last year.”

Mr. Mangas is excited about the announcement this week that some home buyers might be able to get mortgages with down payments as low as 3 percent through mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

That’s down from the current 5 percent.

“We feel as though it’s a really good option for buyers who want to have another option than [Federal Housing Administration] loans,” Mr. Mangas said, noting that the cost of private mortgage insurance with a conventional loan is much less than with an FHA loan.

Ms. Kice says it’s too early to tell how much the changes will mean locally.

“We still need to see who’s going to jump on as far as lenders go,” she said.

The November data showed that the average time a house remained on the market was 97 days, down 17 percent from a year earlier.

Buyers got 94 percent of their original list price, about the same as last year.

For all of northwest Ohio, November sales were up 4 percent over last year. The median sales price was down 1 percent, to $90,000.

For the year, sales are up 3 percent, and the median price is up 8 percent to $98,000.

The Toledo Regional Association of Realtors was formed last month when the Toledo Board of Realtors merged with the Wood County Board of Realtors.

Contact Chip Towns at: ctowns@theblade.com or 419-724-6194.