Home sales were up again in Summit County last month, mirroring state and national figures.
Summit’s inventory of homes available for sale in August, meanwhile, continued to decline, falling to its lowest point since early 2004.
Real estate experts attribute the decline in inventory in part to homeowners being “underwater” — owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Others might not be underwater, yet reluctant to sell in a depressed market.
“Housing prices have fallen. Foreclosures have driven down prices,” said Karen Eilers Lahey, a professor of finance and the C. Herberich Professor of Real Estate at the University of Akron. “Lots of people bought houses when prices were rising and now they paid too much for their property, more than what people are willing to pay right now.”
The total of homes sold in August in Summit was 599, up 9.7 percent from the 546 sold in August 2011 and up about 55 percent from the 386 in the month in 2010, according to the Akron Area Board of Realtors
Sales also were up from July to August, rising about 17 percent.
Some in the industry say the August figures continue to give them hope the housing market is turning a corner; sales for the first eight months of 2012 are up 13.5 percent to 3,835.
Across the state, sales of new and existing homes were 12.7 higher in August than a year ago and up 9 percent from July, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors. Statewide figures are adjusted for seasonal factors, while Summit County data are not.
August was the 14th consecutive month that statewide sales increased.
Inventories throughout the state have decreased, according to the state group.
Summit County’s inventory in August was 3,694, a drop of 24.7 percent from the 4,905 homes available in August 2011 and a decline of 24.3 percent from the 4,883 homes available in August 2010.
Realtor Barb Snyder of Akron real estate company Snyder & Snyder said there’s a bright side to the tightening inventory.
“There’s only so many listings that can satisfy the demand,” she said. “When there’s too many out there, it helps drive prices down.”
In Summit County, the median sales price increased 12.7 percent from $109,950 in August 2011 to $123,879 in August of this year.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or email@example.com.