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Area home sales stronger, prices still down

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Home-sale agreements in the nine-county Indianapolis area ticked up in September, due in large part to first-time buyers who were enticed by large tax breaks.

Pending sales increased 12 percent from the same month a year earlier, climbing to 2,160 from 1,929, according to a report released Friday by Indianapolis real estate brokerage F.C. Tucker Co.

Year-to-date, however, pending sales were down 5 percent from the first nine months of 2008.

“First-time home buyers continue to drive our local housing recovery, and last month in particular, we noticed a marked increase in open house traffic,” Jim Litten, president of Tucker’s residential real estate services division, said in a prepared statement.

A tax credit of $8,000 is available until Nov. 30 to qualified first-time home buyers.

Within the nine-county metro area, pending sales increased in every county except Morgan and Shelby counties. Pending sales in Morgan fell from 74 in September 2008 to 59 last month, and in Shelby, from 43 to 36.

Madison County posted the largest jump, 37 percent, rising from 104 to 143.

In Marion County, pending sales climbed 13.4 percent, from 920 in September 2008 to 1,043 last month.

The average sale price in the nine-county area fell 5 percent, to $138,815, in August from the August 2008.

Shelby County reported the biggest dip, 15.6 percent. The average sale price there fell to $85,347 in August from the same month in 2008.

The average home price in Marion County was $103,355, a 3.3-percent decline from August 2008.

No county in the metro area recorded an increase in the average sale price of a home.
 

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