2016 has been a fantastic year for real estate. There are a number of figures and factors that we monitor in determining how well the year is going so far. Let’s see where we stand with a few of these factors:

1. Home sales (closings) have been up over 6 percent for the year compared to last year, which, in itself, is impressive as 2015 recorded the highest number of sales in the past 10 years.

The average price of property, which varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, has increased year-to-date by almost 4 percent compared to 2015. Real estate professionals, “Realtors,” have the ability to determine an idea of what the average price of property is currently for a given neighborhood based upon various traits of the property, but that figure takes into account all sales in that neighborhood. Someone selling their home cannot expect to take the average increase of Greater Cincinnati (4 percent) and expect to acquire that increase for their property. Besides a Realtor-sales associate, you could contact a Realtor-appraiser for a more in-depth determination of your home’s value.

2. The median price of property (take the total of all individual sales prices, sorted high to low, and find the middle sales price) is 4.5 percent up over last year. Median sales price eliminates all the extraordinary highs and lows and provides you with a more stable figure when evaluating how well the market in a certain area is doing.

Interest rates have maintained their extreme lows for quite some time. The most recent 30-year fixed rates, with a 20 percent down payment, have been approximately 3.60 percent. Comparatively speaking, in the 1970s and ‘80s interest rates were in the 18-20 percent range and in the ‘90s and early 2000s rates were at 6-7 percent. Rates will not continue to remain this low, so if you are interested in buying real estate, now is a great time to make that move.

3. Residential inventory is a factor that, currently, is down approximately 20 percent compared to 2015. Is this a factor to be overly concerned about? Not really. During the economic depression approximately 10 years ago, when the infamous real estate bubble burst, numerous homes went into foreclosure and were sold at sheriff sales. During that time, residential inventory was as high as 18,000 homes for sale in a given month compared to approximately 6,700 today. The current inventory of homes actually is at similar levels that we had back in the late 1990s to 2000s. There are two major differences: The inventory of foreclosure or sheriff sale homes today is very low, and due to low, but growing new construction housing, there are a large number of buyers who are immediately bidding on quality homes coming on the market. Thus, quality homes that are priced right in move-in-ready condition are selling quickly.

So, 2016 has been a fantastic year for real estate. Let’s see if 2017 will be any better.

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