Courtesy Adobe Stock
The latest CoreLogic Home Price Index report shows national home prices remain 16 percent below their 2006 peak.
Courtesy Adobe Stock

In central Ohio, demand for homes is at record highs and inventory is historically low but builders haven’t gained traction in the area since the housing recession, reports Jim Weiker for The Columbus Dispatch.

The reason: Most buyers can’t afford what the companies are building.

For a new home in central Ohio, the median price topped $350,000 last year, which is almost twice the median cost of an existing home. That gap between new and used is one of the highest in the country and well above the national gap of 35 percent, according to Metrostudy, a firm in Washington, D.C., that tracks the building industry.

In 2017, central Ohio builders sold 2,691 new homes, up 3% but far from the number sold during the boom years of 2002 through 2004, according to Binns Real Estate Services, a Columbus company that tracks the new-home industry.

“We should be at 5,000 homes or more,” said Robert Schottenstein, chief executive officer and president of M/I Homes, the area’s second-largest builder after Pulte Homes. “We’re seriously undersupplying the market.”

Local builders say costs and regulations prevent them from building more-affordable homes, Weiker writes.

“It’s really difficult for a builder to buy land, turn it into a community and build a new home anywhere near what it used to cost, or what a similarly sized home for resale can sell for,” said Jon Jasper, president of Fischer Homes’ Columbus division.

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