The first-quarter data from Metrostudy shows a slight decline in the Columbus, Ohio housing market with a decrease in closings and a decrease in the cost per square foot. Overall closings in the market declined year-over-year from 8,312 to 7,988 from 1Q13 to 1Q14, a 3.9 percent drop in home sales. Existing home sales decreased from 7,734 to 7,389 during the same period. New-home sales, however, did not experience the same market decline from 1Q13 to 1Q14 and in fact saw minimal improvement. New-home sales went up from 578 in 1Q13 to 599 in 1Q14, a 3.6 percent increase. The peak for new home sales occurred during the fourth-quarter in which closings reached 829.

Closing price for homes speaks to some market instability, with median home prices on the rise but seeing some quarterly fluctuation. Overall median closing price increased from $123,300 to $131,100 year-over-year, while closing price hit a peak median in the past year during the third-quarter of 2013 at $145,300. Existing home prices have risen year-over-year from $113,300 to $121,800 while new-home prices have jumped from $211,500 in the first-quarter of 2013 to $238,600, a 12.8 percent increase in median price. New-home prices peaked at a median of $246,400 during the fourth-quarter of 2013. The price per square foot, however, has dropped for new sales. The new-home median price per square foot fell from $96 in 1Q13 to $91 in 1Q14. This is after a peak at $109 per square foot during the fourth-quarter.

Based on slow New Residential Sales reported by the Census for the past few months, the Columbus market is following a similar trajectory to the rest of the country. Price appreciation is the norm, but new-home sales are stable. Metrostudy predicts an increase in overall sales within the next two quarters. In Columbus, the average household income for homebuyers has also been steady and the unemployment rate for May was estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at 4.6 percent, significantly below the national average at 6.1. Stable employment conditions coupled with an improved summer selling season might push the Columbus market further into new-home sale growth.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Columbus, OH.