In March, there was a fall year-over-year in new home closings in the Columbus, OH market, and the percentage drop, which was steeper than February 2016, gave hints that the market may be worsening. New home closings saw a 55.0% drop from a year earlier to 112. This followed a 43.4% fall year-over-year in February.
A total of 2,202 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in March, down from 2,339 for the year that ended in February.
New home closings represented 3.9% of overall housing closings. This is down from the a year earlier when new home closings represented 8.4% of total closings. After rising year-over-year in February, closings of new and existing homes fell year-over-year in March.
Pricing and Mortgage Trends
For newly sold homes, the average price gained 2.5% year-over-year in March to $308,875 per unit. This lift is smaller than the 3.2% gain in February year-over-year.
Along with new home prices, there was an increase year-over-year in the average mortgage size on newly sold homes. In March 2016, there was a 8.4% gain in the average mortgage size, reaching $271,502. In February 2016, average mortgage size grew 5.4% from a year earlier.
Other Market Trends
The share of new home closings made up by attached units has risen while the share belonging to single-family homes has fallen. Attached unit closings jumped from 22.1% of all closings in March 2015 to 28.6% of closings in March 2016. Conversely, the share belonging to single-family homes dropped to 71.4% of closings from 77.9% of closings.
The average unit size of newly sold homes increased 4.2% year-over-year to 2,628 square feet in March 2016. The average size of newly sold homes moved from 2,442 square feet in February 2015 to 2,214 square feet in February 2016.
Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings continued to fall from a year earlier in March, but did not appear to be dragging the market. Foreclosures and REO closings, taken together, made up 20.5% of existing closings, lower than 23.4% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures slid to 9.8% in March from 11.2% a year earlier while REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings sank to 10.7% from 12.3% a year earlier.