They felt the heat this summer.
The couple experienced the good of living in a hot market when they sold their Hilliard home in five days at almost full price.
That was immediately followed by the bad: They had such a hard time finding a home in Hilliard that they ended up moving to Pickerington.
“We looked at at least 15 houses,” Chris Hurt said. “We loved one house in particular but were outbid on it. There were other houses we wanted to make offers on, but our Realtor said they were already in contract. . . . It got to the point where I talked my wife into broadening the search.”
While flashier parts of central Ohio might get the buzz, the housing market in this western suburb has quietly plugged along, outperforming the rest of greater Columbus by every significant measure.
Home sales are up more than 37 percent in Hilliard this year over last, well above the central Ohio average of 22.9 percent.
Sales growth is outpacing Upper Arlington (17.9 percent), Bexley (33.3 percent), Dublin (11.3 percent), Grandview Heights (2.5 percent) and Powell (18.9 percent).
Not only are a lot of Hilliard homes selling, but they are selling fast. Hilliard homes that sold in August were on the market an average of 43 days while homes throughout the Columbus area took 61 days to sell.
The jump in sales has led to a shortage of homes for sale in the city of Hilliard, which in turn contributes to quick sales and higher prices.
At the end of August, 117 homes were listed for sale in Hilliard — a 2.5-month supply of homes, well below the central Ohio average of 4.8 months and the six months that is traditionally considered a balanced market. Even when the entire Hilliard school district is included (some Columbus homes are part of the district), inventory rises only to a three-month supply.
“There’s very little supply right now in Hilliard,” said Nicole Yoder-Barnhart, a veteran HER Realtors agent in Hilliard who represented the Hurts. “There’s just a waiting line for houses right now.”
No buyer was spared the waiting line — not even John Marschhausen, the new superintendent of the Hilliard City School District.
Marschhausen and his wife, Susan, started looking for a Hilliard home in early March, soon after he received the Hilliard job offer.
“We looked at hundreds of homes online,” said John Marschhausen, whose family lived in the Cincinnati area at the time. “We narrowed it down to about 20, and by the time we contacted a Realtor, they were all in contract.”
On Good Friday, a home came on the market that the Marschhausens liked. They drove up to see it the next day.
“We knew things were happening so quickly that we put in an offer immediately while we were at the house, and it was accepted Easter Sunday,” Marschhausen said.
After selling a smaller home in Hilliard in May, Kim and Jeff Hooper worried that they would run out of time before they found a larger Hilliard home to buy.
Finally, with the help of their agent, Kathy Shiflet, of Coldwell Banker King Thompson, they were able to sneak a look at a home the day before it came onto the market.
They snatched it up the moment it came up for sale.
“It was difficult to find a house,” Kim Hooper said. “We had to look at this house before it went on the market. Otherwise, houses go up and come off the market in a few days.”
Mark and Christine Buroff learned from the other side how much Hilliard houses are in demand when they listed their Britton Farms home in April after Mark accepted a job in Indianapolis. They worried that the home’s pool and age (21 years) might deter buyers.
They were pleasantly surprised.
“We had 14 showings in two weeks that resulted in three offers,” Mark Buroff said. “We were ecstatic. It sold for exactly list price.”
The Buroff’s four-bedroom, 2,312-square-foot home sold for $299,900, which suggests one reason Hilliard is in such demand: It offers a grade A school district at prices comfortable for many families.
The median sales price of a Hilliard home this year has been $208,500. By comparison, the median price in Dublin through August was $329,900; in Powell, $310,500; in Upper Arlington, $306,000; and in Bexley, $283,250.
“It’s affordable,” said Shiflet, who sold the Buroffs’ home. “We also have a range of prices, from affordable housing to million-dollar homes.”
Hilliard listings range from $45,000 town houses to a $1.4 million 6,233-square-foot European-style manor. Most, however, settle comfortably in housing’s sweet spot: between $125,000 and $325,000.
Shiflet and others say buyers are also attracted by Hilliard’s extensive parks and its easy drive to rural areas, shopping and Downtown.
The Hilliard area also benefits by having hundreds of homes in the Hilliard school district that pay Columbus taxes, Yoder-Barnhart noted.
Marschhausen, now settled into his superintendent’s job, said his family is delighted with its new community.
“We love the home we ended up in. And, obviously, we are very happy with the school district.”