“Two steps forward, one step back” – that’s how the housing recovery went in Central Ohio, according the Columbus Board of Realtors.

The Annual Report on the Columbus Housing Market published by Columbus Realtors reveals some interesting facts.

Here are the highlights …

Average Sales Price Reaches All Time High

Average home sales price in Columbus OH 2014

This year the average Columbus home sold for $183,099 (that’s 5.1% higher than a year ago). This is a new record and exceeds the average sales price reached during the peak of the housing market in 2005 of $177,978.

Interestingly, the total dollar volume of home sales was lower in 2014 than in 2005.

Inventory in Free-Fall?

Inventory of homes for sale in Columbus OH 2014

At the end of 2014 the inventory was 27.3% lower than a year ago. This means we are almost SOLD OUT. This will put a damper on home sales in January and February, as buyers have even fewer homes to choose from.

Did Prices Really Rise?

Annual 2014 Traditional vs REO homes sales in Central Ohio

Take a closer look at this chart. It shows that the median sales price of a traditional real estate transaction decreased in 2014 (from $170,000 to $168,479), while the prices of REOs and short sales have increased.

It appears that the gain in home values was mostly due to the 37.6% drop in foreclosures and distress sales.

What to Expect in 2015

I believe that 2015 will be a great year for both buyers and sellers.

  • Interest rates will remain low for the first half of the year. You should not wait with your home purchase, however, because prices are destined to go even higher this year.
  • Lending guidelines have been relaxed slightly. Lower down payments will allow more potential buyers to pull the trigger and purchase a home.
  • With foreclosures at 10 year lows (only 16.4% of the inventory), good deals will be hard to find for real estate investors.
  • The housing inventory will remain low. Sellers who list their home earlier this year will be rewarded with a quick sale and multiple offers (if the house has been upgraded and is priced correctly).

2015 Forecast by the National Association of Realtors

Housing market forecast 2015 by National Association of Realtors

You can download the Columbus Annual Housing Report here.

Click here to get detailed housing data for all Central Ohio cities and school districts.