Nov 16, 2022 - Real Estate

Buying a house in Columbus is easier — but not cheaper

Data: Zillow; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

The Columbus metro area's real estate market is starting to level off.

Why it matters: After two-plus years of plummeting inventory and sky-high home prices, local buyers have waited a long time for a little relief.

What's happening: Mortgage rates started to surge in May and have since passed 7%.

  • The market has changed significantly since then.

By the numbers: Local median home sales prices dropped from $330,000 to $310,000 from May to September, according to the latest data from Redfin/MLS.

  • Inventory is up 10.5% since May.
  • Homes sold in 33 days on average in May. In September, the average days on market was 39.
  • Just 41.7% of homes sold above list price in September, compared to 65.3% in May.
  • In September, 29.3% of listings dropped their asking price, up 15.3% since May.

The intrigue: Though our market may be improving a bit for buyers, monthly mortgage payments are still significantly more expensive today.

State of play: The monthly payment for a typical U.S. home is about $1,850 — $800 (75%) higher than a year ago.

  • That means a median household earning $71,895 a year is spending over 30% of its income on monthly payments, per a recent Zillow report.

Zoom in: In Central Ohio, a median household is currently spending about 25% of its income on monthly payments, up from 18% during 2005-2021.

  • Current home values would need to fall 27% to go back to affordability levels during that period.

The big picture: That's slightly higher than the drop needed nationwide (25%).

Yes, but: It would take a sharp increase in inventory for values to fall that dramatically, something Zillow says is "extremely unlikely."

The bottom line: Home asking prices may be dropping slightly, but ballooning interest rates mean mortgages are still unaffordable for many house-hunters — and it's unlikely they'll be able to bargain shop any time soon.

Data: Freddie Mac; Chart: Madison Dong/Axios Visuals

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