After more than a year in a seller’s market, the residential real estate market continues to favor sellers over buyers, and it looks like it will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

The continued low inventory of homes for sale, combined with rising prices, means sellers will be in the driver’s seat, says Michelle Billings, president of the Cincinnati Board of Realtors.

The inventory of homes for sale continues to decline, meaning competition for desirable homes can be hot.

“We thought we would see a slowdown, but we have not,” she says. “If the home is in a ready-to-sell position and is priced correctly for the market, we’re seeing multiple offers,” she says.

The number of sales closings in the Greater Cincinnati market reached 4,372 in April, up 6.5 percent from April 2018, according to the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors.

The average selling price soared to more than $222,000 in April, according to the organization’s figures.

It’s a similar story in the Dayton, Ohio, market, says Jan Leverett, president of the Dayton Realtors. Over the past few months, she has seen sellers getting $5,000 to $10,000 more than their asking price.

“Business has not slowed down,” she says. “Normally it slows down in the winter months, but I haven’t seen it level off.”

Complicating the dynamics of the Dayton market was the series of tornadoes that hit that region in May, which wreaked havoc on many homes.

Leverett says she knows of several real estate agents who have purchased condos and single-family homes to rent to displaced families.

She recommends that buyers have Plans A, B and C in place in case they cannot purchase the home of their first choice.

The housing inventory has remained relatively low because housing starts are down, partly due to a shortage of skilled labor in the homebuilding industry, Billings says.

Contributing to the low inventory is the decision of many potential buyers to stay put as they’re faced with a tough market to be a buyer in.

“They need to find a house before they put theirs on the market,” Billings says. “So, they’re just not putting their homes on the market.”

Favoring buyers are continued low interest rates. The average interest rate for a 30-year mortgage dipped below 4% in June, according to Freddie Mac.

“As long as rates remain where they are, people can afford to purchase or afford to purchase more,” Billings says.

The market will remain in this steady mode through the rest of the year and into next year, predicts Billings. The housing inventory may improve, but not enough to make a significant difference, she says.

Contributing to this stability is the conservative nature of the Greater Cincinnati market. “We don’t see the extremes,” she says. “We’ll see steady growth in the next couple of years.”