Over the past few months I noticed that the number of Columbus home sales have declined. We are supposedly in a buyer’s market, but there’s not much to buy. The selection of listings is pretty slim.

Here are a few stats I compiled from the Columbus MLS (the official data will be released by the Columbus Board of Realtors on November 20th).

The number of homes sold in September was 1,719, that’s 17% more than a year ago, in October 1,557 homes were sold ( 13% more than last year).

The total number of residential listings in the Columbus metro area is down to 15,040. That’s 1,500 less than a year ago.

If you look for HUD homes your choice is even more limited. Only 110 are available in Central Ohio – down from more than 400 in February.

Why Are There Fewer Home Sales in Columbus?

Many people have delayed selling their house, because they believe home prices are down. The property values in some Columbus neighborhoods have plummeted. Areas with many rental homes were affected the most. In some parts of town there are no retail sales at all.

Desirable neighborhoods in good school districts have fared much better. Prices even went up over the past 12 months.

At the same time the number of foreclosed and bank-owned properties has decreased.

Yes, that’s true. Unlike what the media wants you to believe, REOs are not flooding the market. Foreclosures may pick up again in 2012. But I don’t see a huge shadow inventory that’s dumped on the market by asset managers.

Finally, there are hardly any new builds. Builders have been hurting for years, mostly due to difficulties with financing new homes and the oversupply they created during the housing boom.

When Will Home Prices Go Up Again?

Home prices have already increased in some neighborhoods. If the supply of homes continues to shrink and the demand created by a growing population gets stronger, home prices will go up.

It’s simple supply and demand economics.

Now is still a good time to buy a house!

We are probably past the bottom of the real estate market in Columbus. It’s a great time for smart buyers to get into the market before homes start to appreciate.

Do not delay your home buying decision. During the winter months home sales activity is generally slow. You will be able to capture the last good deals, before we hit a new Sellers Market in Spring of 2012.