Dayton Home Sales Up As Vacant Properties Remain

Sep 20, 2013

Credit Diana Parkhouse

The number of homes sold in Ohio in August has hit a new high, and, home sales are maintaining a steady, upward trend in the Dayton area as well.

 From July to August in the Dayton market, there was virtually no change in the number of properties sold. But compared to the same time last year, sales volume was up by 19%.

 “This is a steady increase. It’s not been something that just goes up periodically and goes down,” says Nancy Farkas, the President with the Dayton Board of Realtors. She says the housing market here, which includes Dayton and surrounding suburbs, has been up for 25 of the past 27 months.

Farkas says, “I feel very positive about where we are. I don’t have any worry and I think everybody, not only the realtors and the realtor community, but the buyers and the sellers, everybody is feeling really positive about what’s happening.”

The average price of a home sold in August was just over $129,000, a decline from last year's average of $132,621.

But Dayton still faces housing issues. 6,500 vacant and blighted structures in the city still need to come down.  In the last few years, national and state programs are aimed at helping cities like Dayton tear down these homes, but many of  those funding sources may be drying up.

The city of Dayton Division of Housing Inspection is responsible for tearing down those structures. Supervisor Kevin Powell says for thousands of properties around the city that are designated as blighted properties, demolition is the only answer. Their division focuses on the worst houses, and that number has grown dramatically in the last decade. 

“In 2002, 2003, 2004, the city was averaging about 50 demolitions," says Powell. "Now were trying to go over 500 demolitions, so nearly a 10-fold increase in the amount of demolitions that we’re attempting to get accomplished."

Powell says home values are will increase when these homes are torn down.

Funding sources for programs like Neighborhood Stabilization and Moving Ohio Forward are drying up. Those grants have have poured millions of dollars in cities like Dayton.

“We hope that there’s more funding coming from the neighborhood stabilization because this is a huge problem for all the cities across the Midwest, and it’s a huge problem for the city of Dayton," says Powell.

Powell says the city is looking to other potential funding sources. But he says he problem is a long term one. He thinks it could take at least 10 years to demolish the nuisance properties.

But the cities' responsibility for nuisance properties doesn't end after demolition. Dayton still needs to maintain the vacant lots that remain, which can become dumping grounds for tires and other trash.

 

Fred Stovall with the City of Dayton public works department says the city has to maintain those areas.

 

"If it’s abandoned or vacant, yes then unfortunately we’re stuck with it," says Stovall. He says the city tries to mow those 6,000-plus lawns three times a year.

 

Stovall says, "The reason we’re cleaning and mowing them is ‘cause we’re trying to maintain quality of life in these neighborhoods and not just let em be totally abandoned, overgrown, dumped on, draw rodents and all those kinda good things."

 

He says the only way out of the responsibility is if people start buying up those properties.

 

Nancy Farkas with the Dayton Board of Realtors acknowledges that the Dayton city housing market still has work to do, but thinks the upward trend across the area is a step in the right direction.