The Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors has released sales numbers for the month of January.  Home sales took a dip after the record numbers of 2009.  In January, 2010, there were 851 homes sold compared to 923 sold in January, 2009, off 7.8%.

Interestingly, in January, 2009, 49.5% of home sales were lender owned (bank owned, foreclosures and short sales). This was a result of the economic collapse that virtually closed financial markets in the Fall of 2009.  In January, 2010, only 35.1% of the sales were lender involved.

Another possible explanation for this dip is the push for sales to meet the November 30, 2009 deadline of the first-time home buyer tax credit program. This meant that buyer demand was lower.  However, nationally, home sales last month increased 11.5% from a year ago.

Now, the first-time buyers credit has been extended.  It is for 10% of the purchase price, up to a maximum tax credit of $8,000.  Repeat buyers have a similar program that can give them a tax credit of up to $6,500. Current homeowners must have lived in their home for five consecutive years of the past eight years and plan to live in the home they purchase.  They do not have to buy a more expensive home of sell their previous home to qualify.  Sales must be under contract by April 30th and closed by June 30th.

It remains a good time to purchase a home, because interest rates continue to be low, approximately 5 1/4%, lower than last year at this time.  Housing inventory also remains high in all price ranges.  The steepest competition for homes continues to be for the price range under $200,000. 

List Price of Homes                       Feb. 25, 2010

Under $100,000..........................3,449 homes for sale

$100,000-$199,000.....................4,993 homes for sale

$200,000-$299,000.....................2,030 homes for sale

More than $300,000....................2,159 homes for sale

So, now the GOOD NEWS...the average price of homes increased 18.5% from January, 2009 to January, 2010. The current average price is $150,558.