Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Home sales dip slightly

SW Ohio numbers down; N.Ky., Ind. up

By Ken Alltucker
Enquirer staff writer

Local sales of existing homes declined slightly in September, the third consecutive month of flat or declining sales.

A total of 2,884 Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homes were sold by real estate agents in September, compared to 2,905 in September 2003, according to area Realtors' groups. Regional home sales were flat in August and fell in July.

U.S. existing home sales shrugged off a two-month slump by posting the industry's third-best sales month ever in September. The National Association of Realtors reported that September home sales rose 3.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.75 million homes.

Yet area real estate agents say Greater Cincinnati's late summer lull is no cause for concern. Sales for the year are ahead of last year's pace, and mortgage interest rates remain at historically attractive levels. September sales figures also were measured against a particularly robust September 2003.

"The fact that the previous year was such a strong year, it's hard to sustain those numbers," said Sandra Butler, president of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors.

Sales varied by region. A total of 2,210 home sales closed last month in the Southwest Ohio counties of Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont. That's a decline of 4.6 percent from September 2003.

But Realtors' groups in Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana reported solid sales gains.

A total of 578 existing Northern Kentucky homes sold in September, a gain of 13.8 percent. In Southeastern Indiana, 96 homes sold in September compared to 79 the year before, a 21.5 percent increase.

The typical Southwest Ohio home sold for an average price of $169,569, an increase of nearly 2.3 percent. Southeastern Indiana home prices increased 2.1 percent to $143,217.

Only Northern Kentucky homes sold at a lower average price in September. The typical Northern Kentucky home sold for $148,332, or $442 less than the year before.

E-mail kalltucker@enquirer.com

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