For much of 2008, the central Ohio real estate market held its own in a troubled economy.

For much of 2008, the central Ohio real estate market held its own in a troubled economy.

October home sales figures released by the Columbus Board of Realtors, however, indicate the slumping economy has taken a toll on the local market.

"People kept asking us how negative national economic news would impact housing here in central Ohio, and I think it's pretty obvious that it has led to lower consumer confidence, which is keeping a lot of buyers on the sidelines right now," said Greg Hrabcak, president of the Columbus Board of Realtors.

"October sales are a result of contracts written in September, when the stock market took a dive and many people experienced a significant loss of savings and investments, so it's no surprise that last month's sales are almost 10 percent lower than last year," he said.

There were 1,609 single-family homes and condominiums sold during October, 9.8 percent behind October 2007.

October saw the area's lowest inventory since December 2006. With 15,798 listings, the market had fewer homes for sale than at any other time in nearly two years.

New listings also fell in October to their lowest point this year, another indication that the central Ohio market is returning to pre-boom inventory levels.

Hrabcak said he anticipates an increase in demand in the near future.

"I think demand for housing will increase into 2009, particularly as investors and first-time buyers come back into the market," he said.

"With supplies in central Ohio declining, home prices will head back up," he added. "Most central Ohio homes are not decreasing in value. It's just that current supply and demand influences how much you can sell that home for."

Sales prices in October were less than 1 percent behind those in October 2007. The average sale price of a home was $163,774 last month, compared with $164,844 in October 2007.

The Columbus Board of Realtors' multiple listing service serves all of Franklin, Delaware, Fayette, Madison, Morrow and Union counties, and parts of Champagne, Clark, Hocking, Licking, Fairfield, Knox, Logan, Marion, Pickaway and Ross counties.

For more information about the central Ohio housing market, visit www.ColumbusRealtors.com.