Home sales rise in Butler County, Greater Cincinnati area in 2019

While West Chester and Liberty townships had the most home closings in Butler County in June 2019, the largest increase in closings over June 2018 were Hamilton and Fairfield. FILE
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While West Chester and Liberty townships had the most home closings in Butler County in June 2019, the largest increase in closings over June 2018 were Hamilton and Fairfield. FILE

Statistics show the housing market for the Greater Cincinnati area, including Butler and Warren counties, remains strong and affordable, according to the latest RE/MAX Housing Report for Greater Cincinnati.

Total home sales for 2019 exceeded 2018 by 0.44 percent, rising to 22,892 in 2019 compared to 22,790 in 2018, the report showed. Median sales price was $189,475 in 2019 compared to $175,450 in 2018.

Butler County rose by 0.98 percent, increasing to 5,058 homes sold in 2019 compared to 5,009 homes sold in 2018. Median sales price was $187,250 in 2019 compared to $185,000 in 2018.

Warren County increased by 2.3 percent, rising to 3,374 homes sold last year compared to 3,300 the year prior. Median sales price was $250,950 in 2019 compared to $230,725 in 2018.

Donna Deaton, managing vice president for RE/MAX Victory in Liberty Twp., chalked the rise in home sales to builders taking advantage of strong buyer demand and shrinking inventory.

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“I think we just have a lot more new construction close, quite frankly,” said Deaton, who has been a licensed realtor for 16 years. “I know myself closed several more at the end of the year than I have in the past at that time of year.”

Butler County tends to sell more homes, especially the Lakota schools communities of West Chester and Liberty townships, “because we have kind of a bigger turnaround,” she said.

Mason, in Warren County, still experiences a high turnover in home sales because of business-related relocations, but because of the higher price point, homes there don’t sell as quickly, Deaton said.

Housing inventory remains extremely low throughout Greater Cincinnati. Six months is considered a balanced market.”

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“Our supply right now is just two months and that’s low,” Deaton said. “We’ve never been that low.”

Kelly Meyer, president of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors, said local home inventory continues to show decreases each month, but shouldn’t cause concern.

“The pressure of millennials and families wanting to purchase a home is a big factor keeping inventory low,” said Meyer. “There are plenty of buyers in the market and move in-ready properties are selling quickly.”

Other positive factors in the local market are low interest rates, unemployment at or near the national average, an influx of good-paying jobs and affordable housing, she said.

December posted a record finish to the year with home sales up 10.2 percent and prices up 14.2 percent — the largest increases recorded all year, according to the the report. “With interest rates remaining low, we expect the demand to continue well into 2020,” Deaton said. “Because remember, the lower your interest rates, the more house you can buy.”

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Butler County saw the largest increase in home sales at nearly 13 percent in December. Warren County was up 10 percent, Hamilton up 9.4 percent and Clermont up 4.7 percent.

The current median home sale price in Greater Cincinnati is $189,900, up from $166,250 one year ago. Butler County actually saw the smallest gain of all four counties at just a 1 .1 percent increase. Meanwhile, home sale prices in December 2019 compared to December 2018 were up 12 percent in Warren County, 13.6 percent in Hamilton County and 15.6 percent in Clermont County.

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