2023 Year in Review

2023 Columbus & Central Ohio Housing Market Year in Review

Columbus and central Ohio remain firmly entrenched as a seller’s market despite reduced sales and rising prices over the past year. After two record-setting years from 2020-21 and a red-hot first half of 2022, many predicted the market would normalize in 2023. Rising mortgage rates, low inventory, and escalating prices were a trifecta that impacted the entire nation, not just central Ohio.

Last year, the United States existing home sales (4.09 million) fell to the lowest level in nearly 30 years while the median sale price reached a record high of $389,800, according to NAR. Central Ohio outperformed the national average, dropping 11.8 percent year over year in total sales.

2023 Trends

Slowing Sales: There were 31,885 sold listings in the Columbus and Central Ohio Regional MLS in 2022, and that number dipped to 27,987 in 2023, the fewest sales recorded in a year since 2014.

Mortgage Rates: The primary driver of the late 2022 to 2023 market shift can be traced directly to the steep rise in mortgage rates. In the span of one year, rates more than doubled, peaking in August when the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose to over 8 percent. The impact was two-fold, causing challenges for potential buyers and sellers who were unwilling to leave their cozy mortgage rates secured years earlier.

Price Growth: One thing to keep in mind when comparing years that are nearly a decade apart is that we are not exactly comparing apples to apples. In 2014, the median sale price in central Ohio was $152,885. In 2023, the median sale price was $302,000, a 97.5 percent increase in only nine years. Year over year, prices were up 4.1 percent in the region.

Inventory Improves: While inventory in central Ohio remains at near historic lows, there were some positive signs of growth in 2023 despite market challenges. Comparing 2023 to the prior year, the number of homes available for sale was up 9.7 percent. There were 3,156 active listings at the end of 2023, which equated to a 1.4-month supply of inventory, a 27.3 percent improvement over December of 2022. A “balanced market” would consist of 4-5 months of inventory

No Bargains: In 2022, sellers were receiving 101.9 percent of the sold price to the last list price, and in 2023, that dropped 1.5 percent to 100.4 percent.

Age of Entry to Homeownership: According to NAR’s 2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the typical first-time buyer was 35 years old this year, slightly down from 36 last year. In 1981, the age of the typical first-time home buyer was 292, and for 30 years, that number remained consistent, rising to 31 in 2013. Also of note, the age of the repeat buyer, or second-time home buyer, sits at 58 years, meaning that the average American is staying in their first home much longer than in previous decades.

2023 Key Numbers

New Listings = 32,022

In Contracts = 27,987

Closed Sales = 27,592

Inventory of Homes for Sale = 3,156

Median Sold Price = $302,000

Average Sold Price = $347,517

Average Days on the Market = 24

Closed Single-Family Home Sales = 23,503

Closed Condo Sales = 3,814

Local Area Reviews

Closed sales were down in all but three counties (Clark, Fayette, and Muskingum) serviced by the Columbus and Central Ohio Regional MLS. Franklin County saw 14,272 closings, a 16.1 percent drop over 2022. Delaware County followed with 2,715 closings for a 12.1 percent decrease year over year.

Olentangy Local School District (1,340 closings), Grove City (1,600 closings), and Hilliard (1,168 closings) were the stand-out suburbs in the region in 2023. Historically, median sale prices were up 19.4 percent in New Albany, rising from $816,000 to $975,000. Prices climbed 10.9 percent in Dublin, going from a median sale price of $460,000 to $510,000. Newark City School District also saw a strong hike in the median sale price, rising 17.5 percent from $182,000 to $215,000.

In terms of new listings, Obetz showed the most growth year over year, increasing 27.2 percent due to the new 800-acre Buckstone development at the corner of Lockbourne and Rathmell roads. Northridge Local Schools, in the heart of the “Intel-Zone,” saw a 16.8 percent increase year over year, and nearby Granville Exempted Village School District experienced 14.9 percent of change in new listings from 2022.

2024 Forecast

Nationally, there has been some light chatter around small price decreases and a bit of a regression to the mean. Due to the growth and development surrounding central Ohio, it appears as if our region will be immune to any price discount. It is possible that the moment you are reading, this is the best and likely cheapest time you will have to purchase a home in central Ohio.

In 2023, the region was featured among the Hottest Markets in the nation, every month, and in August, Gahanna was named the Hottest Zip Code in the United States by Realtor.com. As we enter 2024, Zillow named Columbus the nation’s No. 3 hottest housing market, trailing only No. 1 Buffalo, N.Y., and No. 2 Cincinnati.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun projects the 30-year fixed rate mortgage to average 6.3% in 2024 in his annual Real Estate Forecast Summit presented on December 12, 2023. With lower rates, expect more buyers flooding the market and a potential for more sellers.