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Area home-sale agreements level off, prices still falling

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The housing slump may be weakening in the nine-county Indianapolis area, if a report released today by F.C. Tucker Co. is any indication.

The number of home-sale agreements in August was nearly unchanged from the same time a year ago — off just a tenth of a percent. Pending home sales last month totaled 2,213 compared with 2,216 in August 2008.

“August home sales, virtually the same as last year, reflect the positive and steady rebound of the local real estate market,” H. James Litten, president of F.C. Tucker’s residential real estate services division, said in a written statement.

Johnson County posted the largest increase in sale agreements, 17.8 percent, with 172 in August compared with 146 in the same month last year. Hancock County posted the second-biggest jump, 15.4 percent, with home-sale agreements increased from 65 to 75.

Agreements climbed 5.9 percent in Marion County, from 1,036 to 1,097. Hamilton County is the only other county in the area where pending home sales increased, albeit slightly, from 428 in August 2008 to 432 last month.

Boone, Hendricks, Madison, Morgan and Shelby counties all posted double-digit declines. In three of the counties — Boone, Morgan and Shelby — however, fewer than 100 sale agreements were signed in both August 2008 and last month.

Overall, through August of this year, home-sale agreements in the nine-county area were down 7.5 percent compared to the first eight months of 2008.

The inventory of homes for sale in the nine-county area fell 16.3 percent, to 16,068, last month compared to the same time frame last year, another indicator that the housing slump may be easing.

Yet, the average sale price dropped in every county in the area except Boone, where the price rose a meager 0.4 percent, to $255,609, the most expensive in the nine counties. The average price in the area fell 5.5 percent, to $138,748, in August.

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