COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Mortgage rates dropped slightly as central Ohio home inventory increased and properties remained on the market for longer, according to a housing report by Columbus Realtors. 

Columbus Realtors’ Central Ohio Housing Report for December found the average sales price for a home was $318,581, dropping only $650 from $319,231 in November. Still, the shift represents a six-month decrease since the market hit 2022’s peak in June at $354,380.

Compared with 2021, prices were up in December with the average sale price 9.4% higher, an increase of just over $27,000 from last year in central Ohio. The median sales price also saw a 7.8% spike, from $255,000 in 2021 to $275,000 in 2022.

However, 2022 President of Columbus Realtors Sue Van Woerkom said homes are spending an average of 29 days on the market, an increase from 18 days in December 2021. In addition, inventory rose 36% compared to last year.

“Despite this being a seller’s market, buyers do have their pick right now,” Van Woerkom said. “Homes are sitting on the market a little longer, giving people more time to make sure they are investing in the right property.”

Several communities saw an influx of new homes for sale in December, including Clintonville, Grandview Heights and New Albany. Properties in Fayette County also saw their average home sale price increase 50% in December.

Dr. Jessica Lautz of the National Association of Realtors said in the report that opportunity is “on the horizon” for first-time home buyers as the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage decreased to an average of 6.49%.

“There was a frenzied pace in the housing market, which had pushed first-time buyers, often with FHA or VA mortgages, to the sidelines,” Lautz said. “As some buyers have retreated, high-income, first-time buyers may take advantage of the market right now.”