Existing-home sales slide for seventh straight month

Home-sale agreements in central Indiana fell for the seventh straight month in March amid rising prices, real estate agency F.C. Tucker Co. said Wednesday morning.

Pending sales for existing homes in the nine-county area dropped 18.9 percent, from 2,831 in March 2013 to 2,297 in March 2014.

Home prices rose, however, as inventory dwindled. The average area home price in March was $161,191, Tucker said, an increase of 6.1 percent compared with March 2013.

Available homes for sale in the region dropped 7.7 percent, with 9,961 homes on the market—829 fewer than a year ago.

Real estate experts blamed an especially bad winter for slumping sales in recent months, but March’s numbers showed little improvement.

“Now that harsh winter conditions have finally lifted, we expect warmer weather will attract more potential buyers to open houses,” said F.C. Tucker President Jim Litten. “As we move into the second quarter, we believe home sales will increase and prices will remain strong.”

Marion County led the way with 985 sale agreements in March, down from 1,200 the year before. Hamilton County reported 462 deals, down 31 percent from a year ago.

Agreements dropped 21 percent in Hendricks County, to 206, and 25 percent in Johnson County, to 179.

Hancock County sales rose 6.7 percent to 112. Morgan and Shelby were the only other counties to show increases.

The area saw one sale agreement for a home priced above $2 million in March and six others priced above $1 million. More than a third of the homes that traded hands were priced between $100,000 and $200,000

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