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Central Indiana home sales start year on chilly note

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Frigid temperatures and record snowfalls seem to be wreaking havoc on Indianapolis-area home sales so far this year.

Real estate agency F.C. Tucker Co. Inc. said Monday morning that home-sale agreements in central Indiana plummeted 31 percent in January, compared with the same month last year. That marks the fifth straight month of year-over-year declines dating back to September.

Last month’s slide, however, was far worse than the 18.6-percent fall recorded in December.

“The record snowfall and cold temperatures certainly had an impact on home sales in January,” F.C. Tucker President Jim Litten said in a prepared statement. “However, as soon as we get moderation in the weather, I’m confident sales will break loose.”

Higher mortgage rates and tighter inventories also have contributed to the weaker numbers.

Buyers in the nine-county area in January signed agreements for 1,466 homes, down 658 from January 2013.

In Marion County, agreements fell 27.8 percent, to 640. Hamilton County experienced one of the steepest drops in the area, 34.3 percent, to 304 agreements.

In Hendricks County, agreements fell just 8.5 percent, however, to 150. Shelby County saw the biggest decrease, 61 percent, but only recorded 23 agreements.

Inventory in the nine-county area continues to fall. The number of homes on the market in January dipped 8.3 percent, to 9,320, from the year-ago period.

On a more positive note, the average year-to-date sale price in the area rose 8.6 percent, to $159,391, compared with January 2013. The average price for Marion County homes was up 4.4 percent, to $120,570. The average Hamilton County price jumped 13.9 percent to $255,295.

One central Indiana home that sold in January was priced above $2 million, and two fetched between $1 million and $2 million. Thirty-five were priced between $500,000 and $1 million.

Meanwhile, area home construction is also suffering from the weather. Building in the nine-county metropolitan area was nearly flat in January, the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis reported Feb. 13.

Homebuilders in central Indiana filed 300 single-family building permits last month, compared with 303 in January 2013.

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