Sitting on a gold mine: Central Ohio home sellers reap record gains

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Rising home prices allowed central Ohio homeowners to make more on the sale of their homes last year than ever.

The average Columbus-area home sold last year for $195,000 — $50,333 more than it cost, according to a new study by the real estate service Attom Data Solutions.

"It was a great year to be a seller," said Todd Teta, chief product officer at Attom.

Despite being a central Ohio record, the average return for Columbus-area homeowners was still below the national average of $65,500, the highest amount Attom has recorded since 2006.

The numbers are good for sellers but more discouraging news for buyers, who continue to see home prices move further from their grasp.

"The nation's housing boom kept roaring along in 2019 as prices hit a new record, returning ever-higher profits to home sellers and posing ever-greater challenges for buyers seeking bargains," Teta said.

He noted, however, that the average percentage return of 34% was only slightly above the previous year, suggesting that "the market was losing some steam last year."

In its study, Attom considers only purchase and sales prices, not money spent on improvements, maintenance, interest or taxes.

Central Ohio homeowners sold their home for an average of 34.7% more than they paid for it, or 4.4% a year based on the average eight-year length of homeownership. While that's the highest return in the state, it pales in comparison to the 16.7% annual return that the Dow Jones Industrial Average yielded over the same period.

West Coast homeowners got the biggest returns — in both dollars and percentages — in the nation.

Leading the way were homeowners in San Jose, California, who sold their homes for $487,000 — or 82.8% — more than they paid. Following San Jose were San Francisco (72.8% return), Seattle (65.6%), Merced, Calif. (63.2%), Salem, Ore. (62.1%), and Bellingham, Wash. (61.7%).

On the other end of the spectrum, homeowners in some Southern and Appalachian communities actually sold their house for less than they paid, despite living there for years.

Homeowners in Columbus, Ga., sold their home for 8.2% below the purchase price. Other cities to lose value were Montgomery, Ala. (down 5.7%), Lafayette, La. (down 3.1%), Macon, Ga. (down 2%), Charleston, W.Va. (down 1%), and Shreveport, La. (down 0.7%).

No Ohio city fared better than the national average rate of return, but all were in the black: Akron homeowners sold their home for $22,300 more than they paid (an 18.9% return); Canton, $27,000 (25%); Cincinnati, $35,000 (26.9%); Cleveland, $23,000 (19%); Dayton, $22,000 (20.4%); Toledo, $15,000 (13.6%); and Youngstown, $12,050 (16%).

Tribune Content Agency