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Why Battleground-State Housing Might Help Romney

Ohio (18 electoral votes)

The Buckeye State's housing market is beginning to pick up, and Ohio Association of Realtors chief Bob Fletcher considers that a slight positive for Obama.

"Housing is a very important part of the overall economy, and if a rebound has any effect, I think that would be helpful to the president," the expert says.

Average Ohio house prices rose 5.2% over the past year to hit $145,142 as of August, the latest month with figures available. All told, average prices have risen 35.6% since bottoming out at $107,034 in January 2009 -- the same month Obama took office.

Some 87% of Ohio Realtors also reported "moderate to strong" conditions in their local market as of August, up from 46% a year earlier.

That said, average Ohio house prices are still off 14.6% from their June 2006 peak of $169,925.

"We're not out of the woods yet, there's no question of that," Fletcher says. "But we're seeing some very good signs."

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