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Real estate across the country has certainly been crazy over the past three years, but the housing market in Ohio still looks pretty sane. This isn’t California or Massachusetts, and that’s a good thing for house-hunters: Homes in the Buckeye State are significantly more affordable than in many other states around the country, and prices here tend to be far below national levels. Read on for everything you need to know about the cost to buy a house in Ohio.
How much does it cost to buy a house in Ohio?
The average price of a home in Ohio was $275,461 as of September 2023, according to statistics from Ohio Realtors. That’s quite a bit lower than the nationwide median price for the same month, which was $394,300.
Depending on where you’re hoping to call home in the state, though, your budget may look a bit different. Consider the average sale prices in some of the most popular cities: In Cincinnati, the average was $319,310; in Columbus, $348,569; and in Dayton, $261,583.
Outside the bigger cities, you’ll find a smaller price point. For example, the average sale price was around $203,000 in Ashland and Athens, and less than $200,000 in both Mansfield and Lancaster.
It’s helpful to focus on how a home’s price tag will translate into your monthly payments as its owner, especially with today’s high mortgage rates. Consider the monthly obligation on a $275,000 home, assuming a 20 percent down payment on a 30-year mortgage with a 7.5 percent interest rate: According to Bankrate’s mortgage calculator, that scenario would result in principal and interest payments of $1,538 a month (not including the additional costs of property taxes and homeowners insurance).
How much money have you saved for a down payment? This upfront cost is crucial, because the more you are able to pay upfront, the less you have to borrow.
You don’t have to put down 20 percent, necessarily, although that is the magic number to avoid paying an extra monthly premium for private mortgage insurance. Here are the minimum down payment requirements for some of the most popular types of home financing (if you qualify):
- Conventional loans: 3 percent
- FHA loans:5 percent with a credit score of at least 580, or 10 percent with a credit score between 500 and 579
- VA loans: No down payment required for qualifying military service members or veterans
- USDA loans: No down payment required if you buy a rural property that meets specific criteria
One piece of good news for first-time buyers: Ohio has some generous first-time homebuyer programs that can help you cover your down payment and closing costs. You’ll need to meet certain qualifications for credit score, income and purchase price to be eligible.
According to data from Core Logic’s ClosingCorp, closing costs in Ohio add on another 2 percent of the purchase price — approximately $5,500 on an average-priced $275,461 Ohio home. That amount isn’t all coming out of your pocket, though. Closing costs are split between buyers and sellers.
Costs that are the buyer’s responsibility will include a variety of fees charged by your lender for things like a credit check and loan origination, as well as a required appraisal of the home’s value. You’ll also want to get a home inspection to verify the home’s condition. Lenders typically like to see a cushion that will keep you protected in the event of an emergency, too, so make sure you set aside some extra cash in reserve.
Cost to move
Don’t forget about the additional expense of moving all your stuff to your new Ohio home. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of a local move is just over $1,700. If you’re moving long-distance to get to Ohio, though, you’ll need to set aside a lot more money. A cross-country move has an average price tag of $4,617.
Once you buy a house in Ohio, you’ll need to be prepared to pay for its upkeep. While there’s no crystal ball for home maintenance costs, State Farm advises homeowners to budget between 1 and 4 percent of their home’s value for annual upkeep. On an average-priced Ohio home, that means you should plan to set aside up to $11,018 each year for upkeep.
You’ll also need to plan for property tax costs. In Ohio, the typical homeowner paid $3,235 to the government in property taxes in 2022. And don’t forget to budget for your homeowners insurance coverage, too, as well as HOA fees if your new home is part of a homeowners association.
Reducing the costs to buy a house in Ohio
Buying a house can seem overwhelmingly challenging, especially with today’s high mortgage rates. Consider these options to reduce your costs:
- Ask for seller concessions: Across the country, more sellers are agreeing to cover a portion of the buyer’s closing costs, according to a report by Redfin. Don’t hesitate to ask a seller if they’re willing to help out with some of your costs. They don’t have to say yes, but they also don’t want to see you walk away from the deal.
- Cast a wide net: If you have a flexible work arrangement that doesn’t require you to be in one specific location, look at cheaper locations beyond where your job is based. And if you don’t need a huge amount of space, a condo or townhouse is a great way to achieve homeownership for a lower price than a single-family home.
- Hold out for longer: It’s OK to press pause if you think now just isn’t the right time. Mortgage rates are the highest they have been in more than two decades. There’s no guarantee they’ll come down, but taking some time to build your savings and your credit score while you wait might not be a bad idea.
While Ohio’s home prices are certainly more appealing than many other parts of the country, buying a house here is not necessarily easy. For example, Redfin data shows that the typical home in Columbus gets four offers, which shows that the Buckeye housing market can feel just as competitive as Big Ten football. With that in mind, make sure you have an experienced local real estate agent on your team.
As of September 2023, the average sale price for a home in Ohio was $275,461, according to data from Ohio Realtors.
No, they are increasing. Between September 2022 and September 2023, the average sales price in the Buckeye State rose 5.9 percent, according to Ohio Realtors data.
Yes — buyers pay some portion of closing costs in every state, including Ohio. These typically include an array of fees charged by the mortgage lender, among others.