Summit County home sales last month reached their highest monthly level in six years, jumping nearly 31 percent from July a year ago.
In a broader sign of recovery, home sales in a multicounty Northeast Ohio area that includes Summit also soared last month, with buyers purchasing 21 percent more homes than a year ago.
Statewide, sales mirrored the local trend, with the number of homes sold across Ohio surging 25.8 percent in July compared with a year earlier.
Nationwide, the housing market also continued to show signs of recovery, with sales of previously occupied homes climbing last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million, approaching a healthy level for the first time since November 2009.
In Summit County, the number of homes changing hands last month totaled 674.
That’s up 30.9 percent from the 515 that sold in July a year ago and the most for the month since sales totaled roughly 700 in August 2007. This is according to reports from the Akron Area Board of Realtors.
The year-over-year median price in Summit also was up, according to the Akron board’s reports. The median was $129,950 in July, up 8.3 percent from the $120,000 for July 2012.
July’s median price was the highest median for the month since July 2007 — before the housing bubble burst. That’s when the median was more than $140,000.
Area real estate agents have said that rising sales prices are due in part to fewer “distressed” properties — foreclosures and “short sales” — on the market. Short sales occur when a lender allows a property to be sold for less than what is owed on the mortgage.
Meanwhile, the local inventory of homes was again lower than it was for the month a year ago.
The number of homes on the market in July totaled 3,388, down 14.1 percent from the 3,942 available for sale in July 2012.
A tight supply of homes for sale also is helping to push prices up, local agents have said.
In a 15-county Northeast Ohio area, including Summit, Stark, Portage, Medina and Cuyahoga counties, sales of single-family homes in July increased 22.6 percent to 3,711 compared with the 3,027 sold in June 2012, according to the Northern Ohio Regional Multiple Listing Service.
Statewide, sales last month reached 13,354; a 25.8 percent increase from the 10,619 sales posted in July a year ago, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors.
Sales last month reached their highest level for any July since 2005.
The average sales price of $156,738 statewide is a 7.2 percent increase from the $146,228 average price posted in July 2012.
The Ohio Association of Realtors does not provide a median price.
The nationwide spike in home sales shows housing remains a driving force for the national economy even as mortgage rates rise.
Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors chief economist, warned in a written statement that, “Mortgage interest rates are at the highest level in two years, pushing some buyers off the sidelines.”
Yun suggested that the initial rise in interest rates encouraged some potential buyers to close deals early. He said further rate increases will decrease the pool of eligible buyers.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said last week that the average rate on the 30-year loan remained unchanged at 4.4 percent.
That is a full percentage point higher than in early May, when rates were near record lows. Still, rates are low by historical standards.
The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that sales increased 6.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in July from a revised rate of 5.06 million in June. They have risen 17.2 percent over the past 12 months.
Sales have now stayed above an annual pace of 5 million for three straight months. That hasn’t happened since 2007.
Nationwide sales are 17.2 percent above the 4.60 million-unit pace in July 2012; sales have remained above year-ago levels for 25 months.
And sales are well above the 3.45 million annual pace in July 2010.
This was the low point for sales nationwide after the housing bubble burst.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $213,500 in July, which is 13.7 percent above July 2012.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Associated Press contributed to this report.