Real estate market strong

THE HOUSING market in Ohio has shown improvement over the past six months, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors.

OAR is the largest professional trade association in Ohio, with more than 26,000 members.

Thomas J. Williams, president of OAR, says that “the Ohio housing market, with each passing month, continues to build a solid foundation for a sustainable and growing marketplace.” Sales through the first eight months of 2013 reached 88,268, a 17.5 percent increase from sales posted during the same period a year ago.

The Ohio Valley has taken part in this growth that started back in 2006, though the figures for this year don’t show it.

A market-by-market analysis shows a slight decline in the number of houses sold in the Tri-County area since last August. John Sambuco, a real estate broker with Harvey Goodman Realtor, says that this decrease is “negligible” and the decrease in Belmont County house sales is less than 4 percent. Selling prices on homes have risen 11 percent, which is good news for those looking to sell their houses. However, the current housing market has benefits to offer buyers as well as sellers.

Interest rates for loans are lower than ever at around 4 percent. The national government is spending approximately $85 million a month to keep interest rates low, in an attempt to boost the economy. Sambuco says that “homes from all price ranges are selling strongly”, from $75,000 to $200,000 and even higher.

The oil and gas industry has helped the Ohio Valley real estate market, in more ways than one. In regards to workers and businesses, Sambuco says, “There’s been a need for them for housing, for office space, a need for warehouse space, a need for yard space for storage. There’s been a lot of positives.” The new CVS pharmacy, Advanced Auto store, and the Sheetz gas station that will be built in St. Clairsville are coming as a benefit of the growing population.

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