Local home sales slip

WARREN – Sales of existing homes in both Trumbull and Mahoning counties dropped in April according to numbers released by local boards of Realtors, despite nationwide predictions that the market is looking up.

Trumbull County home sales slipped for the second consecutive month, this time about 1 percent to 129 when compared to the 130 homes sold in April 2012, numbers from the Warren Area Board of Realtors showed. The median sale price remained flat at $70,000.

In neighboring Mahoning County, buyers closed on 200 existing homes in April, down seven, or 3.4 percent from the 207 existing homes sold in 2012, according to the Youngstown / Columbiana Association of Realtor numbers.

Median sale price in Mahing County increased $125 to $67,800.

Year-to-date, Trumbull County home sales also are down 4.5 percent to 472 compared to 494 homes sold in the county by this time last year. The numbers remain flat compared to the 471 sold at this time in 2011.

Mahoning County numbers, however, showed significant improvement for the year, up 12 percent to 683 over the 610 sold this time last year and the 506 sold this time in 2011.

Both counties continued to report lagging inventories, a possible reason for the decreased sales. Both counties show inventory numbers that are among the lowest in nearly a decade.

Nationally, however, home sales trends during the spring home-selling season are pointing to the strongest outlook for sales over the next six months in more than six years.

That increased confidence is adding to the uptick in new housing starts. The National Association of Home Builders / Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released earlier this month rose to 44 in May from 41 in April. The increase for May was the first month-to-month gain since December.

Homebuilders are benefiting from a sustained rebound in housing that began a year ago, powered by steady job growth, rock-bottom mortgage rates, rising home values and a decline in the number of homes foreclosures.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.