market healthy, realtors say
Dollars and Sense:
The state of the local economy
fourth in a series
Yellow Springs is an excellent place to be a realtor, local realtors agree.
While the nationwide housing market historically experiences valleys and
peaks, in Yellow Springs it has remained surprisingly steady and strong
through her 40 years as a realtor, according to Jo Dunphy of Dunphy Realty.
Every year weve increased our sales from the day we started,
And while some areas of the economy may currently feel jitters, the nationwide
housing market has experienced historic sales over the past
three years, said Dayton Board of Realtors President Bob Altick of Altick
Realty in Xenia. The current Yellow Springs market mirrors that success,
said Dunphy. Sales at Dunphy Realty, for instance, are up 15 percent over
last year, she said.
I dont see the effects of the recession, said Dunphy,
noting that some recent buyers have used cash to purchase homes. The
people who want to live in Yellow Springs want to live here. Its
not dependent on the economy.
A local realtor for almost 30 years, Bambi Williams of Coldwell Banker
Its a very healthy market right now, she said. Our
market is as stable as anywhere, and overall, demand exceeds supply. People
want to be able to walk downtown. They want the trees. We have a unique
product and theres a Yellow Springs wrapper on whatever they buy.
While some villagers have speculated that there are more houses on the
market now than usual, that is not the case, said Williams. Currently,
there are about 26 homes on the market in Yellow Springs, a number comparable
to last year this time, said Williams.
Those houses range in price from $97,900 to $345,000, and four of the
homes are listed at more than $300,000, which is an unusual number of
high-priced homes, Williams said.
So far in 2002, 33 houses have been sold, ranging in price from $72,000
to $289,000, she said.
Of those 33 houses, 17 sold at $150,000 or less (three under $100,000)
and 14 more sold for prices ranging from $150,000 to $250,000. Five sold
for more than $300,000, according to realty records.
In 2001, 31 houses were sold in Yellow Springs, according to the Multiple
Listing Service (MLS) of the Dayton Area Board of Realtors, at an average
price of $142,268, which was a 9.6 percent decrease from the previous
The average 2000 sale price for a Yellow Springs home was $157,375, and
$152,175 in 1999, according to the MLS.
The drop in prices in 2001 might reflect the temporary slump in the housing
market last year that followed the Sept. 11 tragedy, said Williams and
Chris Kristensen of Springs Realty. It might also be an anomaly reflecting
the sale of a smaller than usual number of more expensive homes, said
For a while after September, said Williams, people took
a deep breath and didnt do anything.
But that paralysis seems to have passed, and Williams and Dunphy both
reported a robust amount of activity last summer. While Kristensen said
Springs Realty experienced a slower summer, sales were brisk in the traditionally
inactive months of September and October.
Helping to fuel the healthy housing market is an exceptionally low mortgage
rate of 6 percent, said the realtors.
Theres a larger variety of houses on the market than usual,
top to bottom. Theres lots of choices, said Dunphy.
Houses that sell quickly tend to be well-priced, good-conditioned
houses in every price range, said Williams. Overall, the most expensive
houses take the longest to sell, she said. People wanting to live in Yellow
Springs also seek the pizzazz factor, she said. The
house needs to have something interesting to set it apart. Most homes
here have something special to distinguish them, Williams said.
About half of the recent homebuyers are current Yellow Springs residents
and half are moving in from outside the community, said both Williams
and Dunphy. Those who are new to town fit the profiles of those
who already live here, Williams said. Theyre professionals,
academics, artists, former residents.
But what new Yellow Springs homeowners tend not to be are those in the
lower or even middle income range, said two local families that are either
looking for homes or who recently purchased one, and who expressed frustration
at what they perceive as a small selection of overpriced houses.
One longtime Yellow Springs renter, a professional who recently purchased
a home, said he paid far more than he ever imagined he would. While he
could afford to buy a house here, he said several of his friends cannot,
and hes witnessed many people moving out of town due to housing
A lot of the spice that makes this town cool is leaving, he
A local professional couple with two children have been looking informally
for a larger home for five years, they said, seeking a nice old
house close to town thats structurally sound, preferably not
much over $200,000.
What theyve found so far, they said, are homes that cost $300,000
or those in the $200,000 price range that need lots of work
and tens of thousands of dollars in repairs.
Still, the couple already own a home in town, so they said they dont
feel constrained by the long wait to purchase their dream house. We
have this hope that its going to happen, that the perfect place
will come up, said one of the residents.
Neither family chose to expand their housing search beyond Yellow Springs,
they acknowledged, and were willing to accept the wait and the higher
prices in order to find that perfect place in Yellow Springs.
I dont want to live anywhere else, said one recent buyer.
Compared to other places considered desirable to live, Yellow Springs
homes offer good value, said the realtors. According to an article in
The New York Times on Monday, Nov. 4, housing prices in many East Coast
and West Coast cities have skyrocketed over the past two years, so that
the average home price in New York City is $300,000, in Boston, $400,000,
and in San Francisco, more than $500,000.
In Yellow Springs, housing prices have appreciated steadily over the last
10 years at an average rate of 4.42 percent a year, to a total appreciation
of 45.13 percent since 1992, according to the Multiple Listing Service.
The average sale price of a house in Yellow Springs this year, which is
$163,059, compares to a Dayton area which includes Greene, Montgomery
and Preble counties average of about $129,000, said Altick.
Theres simply a demand for housing in Yellow Springs,
said Altick. Thats why you have higher prices.
I would love for all those who want to live here to be able to afford
it, said Williams. But to those who say local houses are overpriced,
I say Yellow Springs is a bargain. Its all relative. People are
here because they want to live in Yellow Springs.