Ohio home sales softened in May, as prices and rates rose

Home sales dipped in Ohio and across the nation last month, as prices climbed, mortgage rates inched up and would-be buyers were stymied by a persistent shortage of available properties.

The Ohio Association of Realtors reported that statewide sales of new and previously owned homes were off 1.1% in May, when compared with a year before. Sales slid 3.6% from April, based on seasonally adjusted figures.

In a post on its website, the trade group described sales as "solid" and emphasized how much prices are rising. Buyers paid an average of $187,274 last month, up 5.9% from May 2017.

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"Closings were down in a majority of the country last month and declines on an annual basis in each major region," Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said in a news release. "Incredibly low supply continues to be the primary impediment to more sales, but there’s no question the combination of higher prices and mortgage rates [is] pinching the budgets of prospective buyers and ultimately keeping some from reaching the market."

The national Realtors reported that U.S. sales of existing homes were off 3% in May from a year before. And sales slipped 0.4% from April, according to seasonally adjusted data. Unlike its Ohio counterpart, the national association does not include newly built homes in its monthly reports.

The national median — or middle — sale price for a home was $264,800 in May, up 4.9% from a year before, the Realtors said.

Across the country, nearly 60% of homes sold in May were marketed for less than a month. Properties typically were listed for only 26 days.

In Northeast Ohio, homes aren’t selling quite as quickly. Across an 18-county area, homes sold in May spent an average of 70 days on the market, according to the Yes MLS real estate listing service. The Redfin real estate brokerage, which focuses more tightly on the Cleveland area, said the median listing period was 47 days.

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