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Home sales slow again, but positive signs still there

Local realtors say they saw another drop in business last month, likely the leftover effect of the extreme winter weather.  Home sales fell 8 percent in the Cincinnati area compared to March 2013.  Northern Kentucky closings were off by 7 percent.  

Sales were down more than 6 percent across Ohio.  Chris Hall, president of the Ohio Association of Realtors had this take:  

“While activity in the Ohio housing marketplace slipped from levels posted a year ago, overall our sales were able to reach the second-highest mark – both for March and throughout the quarter – since the onset of the economic downturn in 2008. A tight inventory of homes for sale and lingering winter conditions have contributed to a less robust housing sector so far this year.”

Like other area realtors, Ken Parchman, president of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors, is seeing signs that business will pick up in the spring and summer:

“Aside from the weather in March, home sales continued to gain momentum for this time of year. Even though home sales are off slightly compared to a year ago, the spring market is very active with new listings on the rise.”

The Northern Kentucky Association of Realtors noted: 

"The outlook for home sales remains promising due to the rise in homes that went under contract (658 pending) and the number of new to the market listings that were added in March. A total of 825 new listings were added to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) in March, and we expect that more sellers will enter the real estate market in the coming months of spring and summer."

But NKAR also noted it's tough for first-time buyers, who say that "tight lending restrictions and student loan debt are their challenges to buying a home."