Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky’s residential real estate market bucked the national trend as home sales rose in February compared to January.
The Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors on Monday reported 963 home closings in February, up from 895 closings in January 2011, and up from 945 closings in February 2010. For the first two months of the year, sales were up 2.82 percent, to 1,858 from 1,807.
The average price fell 3.34 percent to $144,070 in February from $149,046 in February 2010. For the year, the average price is down 4.44 percent to $143,076.
The median sales price fell to $111,000 in February, from $118,000 in February 2010. For the year, the median price is down to $109,000 from $116,000. Median price is the midpoint of all sales.
Pete Kopf, president of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors, said increases in mortgage rates and rent are helping drive sales, in addition to a large inventory.
In Northern Kentucky, 248 home sales were reported for February 2011, compared to 230 in January 2011. February sales were down compared to the year-ago period; there were 291 closings in February 2010.
Overall, there have been 478 home sales in Northern Kentucky in the first two months this year, down 1.44 percent from 2010 when 485 homes were sold during the same period.
The average price in Northern Kentucky has increased during that time, to $149,526 from $125,421. The median price is also up, to $125,000 from $112,424.
“We are seeing a more typical selling market this year, when last year the brisk activity was mostly due to tax credit incentives,” said Mike Becker, president of the Northern Kentucky Association of Realtors.
Nationally, fewer Americans bought previously occupied homes in February, and those who did purchased them at steep discounts. The weak sales and rise in foreclosures pushed home prices down to their lowest level in nearly nine years.
The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of previously occupied homes fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million. That’s down 9.6 percent from 5.4 million in January. The pace is far below the 6 million homes a year that economists say represents a healthy market.
Nearly 40 percent of the sales last month were either foreclosures or short sales, when the seller accepts less than they owe on the mortgage.