April 19, 2014

Medina
Sunny
51°F

Medina County home sales up 35 percent over Oct. 2011

Harry Dowczek owns this home at 446 E. Washington Street. He bought it in foreclosure for $42,000. After gutting the home and doing major renovations, Dowczek is now asking $148,000. His improvements include completely remodeled bathrooms, kitchen and living areas. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LOREN GENSON)

By Cindy Leise and Loren Genson

There’s good news for those who want to move: Home sales are on the rise in Medina and Lorain counties.

Sales last month were up 26 percent in Lorain County and 35 percent in Medina County compared to last October.

Some homes are getting multiple offers — a promising development as sales heat up, according to area real estate agents.

Among those cheering the upturn in the housing market are Harry and Mary Dowczek, who restored a home at 446 E. Washington St. in Medina.

“I bought it in foreclosure at the end of 2010 and I’ve been fixing it up for the last 18 months,” Dowczek said.

Dowczek knew the home would need improvements before he put it on the market.

“I figured we’d invest in it and give it a try,” he said. “I hope to profit a little more here than if I had put my money in the bank.”

He purchased the home for $42,000 and now is asking $148,000.

Dowczek said the renovations took a lot of sweat equity and there were unforeseen costs — including replacing porches that were thought to be sound.

“The whole house was a train wreck when we bought it and we knew it,” he said. “Now there’s absolutely nothing to do on the home and it’s even furnished.

“I’m convinced if I get enough people through it I’ll find the right buyer without a doubt.”

Mary Dowczek is optimistic the gamble will pay off.

“We’ve had a ton of traffic,” she said.

They are even getting neighbors involved, holding a neighborhood open house to show off the improvements.

“It was a rip-roaring blast,” she said.

A solid indication that the housing market is recovering is that prices are creeping up, said Brandon Marquard, president of the Medina County Board of Realtors and operator of M.C. Real Estate.

The average sales price in Ohio this year is $135,435, and increase of 4.8 percent compared to the 2011 average of $128,954.

Nationwide, prices are up more than 4 percent, he said.

Marquard said rising homes sales are a welcome change from the collapsed housing market of 2008-10, which only benefited people with capital who could afford to buy houses for cash at rock-bottom prices.
“For a while, investors were eating everything up,” Marquard said.

“Mortgage rates are amazing and it’s a good opportunity to buy or sell,” Marquard said.

The low mortgate rates were a key factor enticing first-time home buyers Sarah Baker and Anthony “A.J.” Eberhart to jump into the market.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has been below 4 percent all year.

“Why pay for rent when we can invest in a home?” said Eberhart, who works for the Defense Finance Accounting Service in Cleveland.

The couple bought a home at 345 Alexis Drive in Elyria for $140,0
00 with a big back yard for their young son, Mason.

“We were able to get the house of our dreams,” he said.

Kimberley Guelker, the couple’s real estate agent, said there were multiple offers on the house on Elyria’s southeast side and it sold quickly.

Guelker, who is the president of the Lorain County Board of Realtors, said, “The industry remains “cautiously optimistic” that the recovery in home sales will continue.

“Record low interest rates and realistic pricing, some homes even below market value pricing, make this a great time to buy or sell,” she said.

Statewide, home sales activity throughout Ohio increased 23.1 percent in October, according to the statistics provided by the state’s Multiple Listing Services.

Sales of new and existing homes have posted a 13.1 percent increase during the first 10 months of 2012 compared to the same period a year ago, reaching 94,733 sales versus the 2011 mark of 83,728.

“It’s become increasingly evident that the Ohio housing market is making significant progress in its recovery from the economic downturn,” said Robert U. Miller, president of the Ohio Association of Realtors.

The association began tracking sales data in 1998 and the current stretch of 16 straight monthly gains is the longest uninterrupted period of sales growth the Ohio market has ever recorded.

Contact reporters Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com or Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.