ASHLAND The Ashland area real estate market continues to demonstrate significant strength despite coming off a record year for home sales in 2018.
The Daily Independent analyzed monthly home sales for the first seven months of 2019 in the Ashland Area Board of Realtors’ coverage area. They show an 18.4% increase in closed listings compared to the first seven months of 2018 — which constituted a record year. The closed listings jumped from 558 in 2018 to 696 in 2019 through July.
Realtors said hyper-local dynamics are fueling the strength. Lucien Ross, principal broker at Ross Real Estate Services, said a big part of the uptick is a positive attitude about the Ashland area’s future.
“An attitude change,” Ross said. “We are moving more to the positive side here.”
Ross cited the the arrival of Braidy Industries to the region as a positive jolt to the mindsets of both buyers and sellers. He cited other economic developments as well, including the opening of the Marriott Delta hotel in downtown Ashland and increased commerce overall. Interestingly, Ross said a majority of the purchases he’s seeing are being made by local residents.
Veteran real estate agent Cindy Conley-Jones agrees.
“Real estate is local,” Conley-Jones said, adding “your property is appreciating. To me, (the market) is flourishing.”
“In the price range from $125,000 to $175,000 even up to $250,000 it is a hot market, especially in Boyd County,” Conley-Jones said. “That price range is a great range to sell in and in several cases in the $100,000 to $150,000, as soon as they are listed, they are sold.”
There were some dips in price points, according to the numbers from the Board of Realtors. Adding up the monthly median closing prices over seven months, the median closing price dropped by 2.9 percent. Total dollars sold dropped by 4.8 percent.
Conley-Jones of RE/Max said sales are hot in Boyd County in part because of USDA loan incentives that allow for zero down purchases in rural areas.
The Ashland Area Board of Realtors encompasses sales in Greenup, Carter, Boyd and Lawrence counties. The geographic region had a record year in 2018, breaking all-time sales figures by November when 978 properties were sold. That was 20 more than the all-time record of 958 in 2015.
Tim Gibbs is the chief executive officer of the Ashland Alliance. He said the solid real estate numbers are great news for area families considering “real estate is most often their single biggest purchase.”
“A strong real estate market certainly shows optimism in the local economy,” Gibbs said. “I think there is room for it to grow. You look at surrounding areas, and depending on what you are comparing it to, our market is probably underpriced.”
The Kentucky Realtors Association newsletter issued this week says the following about statewide sales:
“In case you missed this, it’s been a rollercoaster ride in housing sales in Kentucky this year. KYR just produced the housing stats for the month of June and for the first time in 10 years, we did not see a gain of approximately 3% from May to June. June saw a five percent drop in that figure as closings fell. June’s figure was down year-over-year from last June by 2.4%. May closings surged 5.6% however, marking the second-highest May on record. Strong spring sales this year still have the year-to-date closings at a record pace, though slowing. Just this week, NAR reported that pending home sales “continued to ascend in June, making two consecutive months of growth”. Pending home sales were up 2.8% in June. Additionally, median home prices in Kentucky rose almost five percent to $140,813 from May.”
On the national level the National Association of Realtors said existing-home sales as a whole are down 2.2% from a year ago (5.39 million in June 2018).
“Home sales are running at a pace similar to 2015 levels — even with exceptionally low mortgage rates, a record number of jobs and a record high net worth in the country,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Yun says the nation is in the midst of a housing shortage and much more inventory is needed. “Imbalance persists for mid-to-lower priced homes with solid demand and insufficient supply, which is consequently pushing up home prices,” he said.
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