MAUMEE — Mortgage interest rates ticked a bit higher in February but remain below their February 2020 levels. Interest rates may rise a bit further in coming weeks, but according to Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater, “while there are multiple temporary factors driving up rates, the underlying economic fundamentals point to rates remaining in the low 3% range for the year.”

With rates still at historically low levels, home sales are unlikely to be significantly impacted, though higher rates do impact affordability.

For homeowners currently struggling due to COVID-19, government agencies are continuing efforts to help those in need. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced they will allow homeowners with loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to receive an additional three months of forbearance, extending total payment relief to up to 18 months. Qualified homeowners must already be in a forbearance plan as of the end of February.

Northwest Ohio Realtors has more than 1,800 members dedicated to serving the needs of home sellers and buyers in Northwest Ohio and the surrounding area, including Lucas, Wood, Fulton, Henry, Defiance, Williams, Hancock, Wyandot, Paulding and Putnam counties.

In February, new listings in Northwest Ohio declined significantly. Compared to February 2020, new listings were down 24.7%.

Although inventory was down once again, closed sales rose slightly compared to the previous year. February 2021 claimed 621 closed sales, reflecting an increase of 5.6% from February 2020.

This February, homes averaged 71 days on the market — a 25.3% decrease from the same time last year. Additionally, homes sold in the area are receiving an average of 99.1% of the listing price, up from the February 2020 average of 97.4%.

In Northwest Ohio, the median home price in February 2021 was $132,500 — down slightly from January 2021, but an annual gain of 3.5%.

Inventory has held steady in the first two months of the new year but continues to fall short when compared with previous years. The February market still sees five months of supply inventory which is down 28.6% from the same time in 2020. This inventory decline has been predicted by NAR, however, these numbers continue to uphold the strong sellers’ market which has gripped the industry.

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