EDITOR’S NOTE: In the week before the presidential election, RealtyTrac is releasing a series of housing articles — dubbed the ‘Swing State Housing Scorecard’ — taking a closer look at eight swing states representing 95 electoral votes — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. These states are considered tossups and crucial to winning the White House. The articles will evaluate how each state will lean if voters choose a candidate based on whether their state’s housing market is better off (presumably Obama) or worse off (presumably Romney) than it was four years ago.
In six out of the last 10 presidential elections Ohio went to the Republican candidate, while the other four went Democratic — most recently, the 2008 election of President Barack Obama. But with the race a virtual dead heat this time around according to the latest polls and the national media, the Buckeye State and its 18 electoral votes may decide who gets the keys to the White House for the next four years.
If Ohio voters base their decision on who to vote for next week strictly by whether they feel the state’s housing market is better off today than it was four years ago, President Obama and his family are likely to keep their lease on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue until 2016.
Of the five housing metrics analyzed by RealtyTrac — average home sales prices, unemployment, foreclosure inventory, foreclosure starts and percent of distressed sales — all show improvement over the past four years except one, unemployment, which was unchanged between September 2008 and September 2012 at 7 percent.
Otherwise, Ohio has improved on every other metric since the last presidential election. The average sales price for a home statewide has risen 5 percent between July 2008 and July 2012 to $122,257. Both foreclosure inventory and foreclosure starts were down (21 percent and 18 percent respectively) between September 2008 and September 2012. Lastly, distressed sales accounted for a lower percentage of home sales in the state during the second quarter of 2012 than they did for the same quarter in 2008, down 28 percent overall.
Based on these housing metrics alone, Ohio is on the mend and recovering from the turmoil inflicted by the housing bubble burst back in 2006. Given that improvement, President Obama’s chances of staying in office for the next four years are good if Ohio residents vote based on the condition of the housing market.
“Four years ago in 2008, compared to that, the market has improved. Home values are inching up, and the market inventory of listed homes is low compared to even to 6 months ago, said Sham Reddy, president of both the Ohio Real Estate Investors Association and the Greater Dayton Real Estate Investors Association.
“I think the consumer confidence is a little bit growing. The inventory of foreclosed homes is also down so we are getting into more multiple offer situations now. And the consumers are afraid and they are listening to the Realtors to not have too many expectations on deals,” Reddy explained. “If the economy needs to grow from the middle class out, Obama has a better chance, but it’s going to be a very tight race.”