real estate

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The real estate listing company Zillow Group is now buying homes directly from sellers, and it's bringing the operation to Cincinnati next year. It's called Zillow Offers and it's part of an emerging trend of instant buying, or "i-Buying." 

The head of the Ohio realtors' association says the partial shutdown of the federal government is making it harder for prospective homebuyers to get a loan. 

When it comes to financing a home purchase, roughly 1-in-5 buyers rely on the help of an FHA loan, which is basically a mortgage that's insured by the Federal Housing Administration. But since the partial government shutdown went into effect, delays in the approval process are starting to stack up, said Anjanette Frye, President of Ohio REALTORS.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

The crime rate is dropping in Evanston as agencies like The Port rehab and sell previously vacant houses in that neighborhood and others.

Courtesy Stephan Burke

Using only bitcoin, 20 homes have been sold worldwide, and that number looks to get bigger. In fact, the Miami, Fla., real estate agent that brokered two of those deals, Stephan Burke, says cryptocurrency will make up 25-30 percent of real estate sales in five years.

March home sale figures for Ohio will be released Monday and regardless of whether the number is higher than the month before, realtors are expecting the current sellers' market to continue.

When it comes to real estate, the market typically goes in cycles. Just ask Karen O'Donnell, president of the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors.

“It goes down, it comes up, it goes down, it comes up.”

And yet, for the past year, home prices have pretty much only gone up. What gives?

December home sales in the Cincinnati area were up from a year ago, but not by much. 

The Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors reports 1,616 sales last month, compared with 1,608 in December 2013.  Northern Kentucky Realtors say their gain was similar: 397 sales in December of 2014, and 388 in December 2013.

However, total sales for 2014 are different for the two sides of the river.  In Ohio, there was a drop in sales of 1.7 percent , while Northern Kentucky sales grew by 1.84 percent.

Realtors from both groups are optimistic though.