COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Demand for houses in Central Ohio has buyers writing checks over the sticker price to get into the house they want.
Sue Van Woerkom, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Partners and President-Elect of Columbus Realtors, says that the number of homes on the market has remained steady, but demand has gone up.
“Back in 2011, there were about 19,000 homes for sale [in central Ohio], but only 56% of them were being sold,” said Van Woerkom. “Now, there are about 19,000 homes for sale. However, 93% of them were sold in 2020. So that’s the big difference — it’s the demand.”
Van Woerkom walked reporter Cynthia Rosi through a recently sold home in Hilliard. The house was on the market for $279,000, and it sold for above asking price at $321,550 with 17 offers in just a few days.
This has been a trend all year, says Marqué Bressler-Preininger, director of communication at Columbus Realtors.
“In every month from July 2020 through May 2021 (with the exception of December 2020), the average sale price exceeded average list price, which means more homes were selling over list than under list price,” Bressler-Preininger said in an email.
The market demand can be traced to the recession, Van Woerkom said.
“About 10 years ago … about two-thirds of the builders went out of business during the downturn and haven’t returned back to the market,” she said. “And land — is expensive and further and further out. … Then, we have folks that want to move up, but where are they going to go?
“And if you take someone who is busy in their career … and then you say, OK, sell your home. You’re going to get top dollar, but I’m going to ask you to move into an apartment. And take your two dogs, and put your bicycle somewhere, and your kayak, and they are like — ‘what?'”
People in Columbus also tend to be loyal to their neighborhoods, Van Woerkom said. If a person lives in Hilliard, they want to stay in Hilliard — same with Gahanna, Upper Arlington, Westerville, Powell … the list goes on. But moving into a house that’s been remodeled can leave buyers with a lack of equity, she says.
“Sometimes when you buy a home that’s redone, you have to wait for the market to come up, or you can put work in a house and let the market bring you up quicker.”
There are wonderful properties at reasonable prices in Columbus, for buyers with vision, imagination and a spirit of adventure.
A couple that she worked with, Dan and Laura (who didn’t want to give their last names for privacy reasons) bought a 4,700-square-foot home built in 1910 near the airport. They told NBC4 in an email that the house was a home for a jazz pianist “who opened her home for the last 12 years that she lived here to monthly jazz concerts entitled ‘Bungalow Jazz.’
“She invited jazz musicians from around Ohio and around the country to sit down at the piano in her living room, tune up the band and play concerts for the hundreds of people she would pack into her first floor and outdoor space. As a lifelong pianist myself, I was enchanted by that history (in addition to the beautiful and unexpected home!) and we knew that we had to snatch it up, if we could.”
Dan and Laura say they lived on High Street in the Short North before looking at the east side of the city: “It’s no wonder the housing market is on fire in Columbus, because the Arch City has so many hidden gems and so much rich history to offer.
“No judgment to the person who wants to live in the brand-new high rise or new-build house on the Outer Belt, but there are so many homes and neighborhoods with character — and with something to teach you — huddled around downtown. We’re fortunate to have found our forever home in one of these neighborhoods — and look forward to contributing to that history!”