Total new-home closings: 2,829
Population: 1,994,536

The good: Unemployment is low and there’s a decreasing presence among REOs and foreclosures.
The bad: Signs of serious contraction set in amid early 2015.
The bottom line: With the average new-home price falling to become more competitive, along with low unemployment and foreclosures receding, Columbus has a good shot at staying strong.

’The new-home market in Columbus took a year-over-year plunge in early 2015, with just 11 closings occurring in February—down from 112 the year prior—and 16 in January, down from 117 a year earlier. Barring changes, early indications point to the possibility for less than half of the closings that placed this area on the Local Leaders list occurring in 2015 (based on a total of 1,125 new homes sold over the 12-month period ending in February). Indicators of a possible turnaround include a decrease among the average sale price for new homes from $296,413 to $253,064 year over year in February, as well as the share of REOs and foreclosures, which decreased from 41.9% to 32.4%. Unemployment also remained a full percentage point below the national average in March 2015, at just 4.5%. A 28% year-over-year increase in year-to-date single-family permits registering in March 2015 provides hope.