Housing market shows improvement-WEB ONLY

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Housing inventories fell last month in almost all Indianapolis-area submarkets, according to a monthly report on local residential real estate, fueling hope that the market will continue improving as supply falls to healthy levels. And at least one prominent developer of new houses sees signs of a turnaround.

The number of homes for sale in Marion and 12 surrounding central Indiana counties in May was 17,167, a drop of a little more than 16 percent from May of last year, said the report issued by Landrigan & Co. Realtors.

The number of homes for sale is equal to an 8.4-month supply, according to Landrigan, a local firm that uses numbers supplied by the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors in calculating its report.

A six-month supply of homes is optimal, said firm owner G.B. Landrigan.

Among the most dramatic year-over-year improvements: The supply of downtown homes for sale fell from almost 28 months to just less than a 17-month supply.

The supply in Hamilton County’s Clay Township was just a tick higher than a year ago, at 8.3 months, but sales activity has jumped lately, according to developer George Sweet. Sweet’s Brenwick Development Co. in 2000 launched development of The Village of WestClay, a high-end neighborhood known for its classic architecture and mixture of uses, including office space and convenience retail.

Sweet reports selling 10 custom spec homes in the last eight weeks, the biggest number in several months. A condominium community and non-custom home section within WestClay also have seen a jump in sales.

The increased activity is in line with what agents at Keller Williams Realty Group are seeing, said Cindy Cherf, who leads the firm’s Indianapolis Metro North office.

Cherf said the typically busy spring selling season usually starts in early February, right after Super Bowl Sunday. This year activity didn’t pick up until March. Cherf said, but activity has accelerated recently. In a typical year, activity drops off by late spring, she said.

Both Cherf and Landrigan attribute some of the improvement to the $8,000 federal tax credit made available to first-time buyers as part of the federal government’s effort to stimulate the economy. Landrigan said the tax credit is responsible for reducing the inventory of lower-priced homes.

At higher price points, there’s a shortage of houses for sale in some neighborhoods, Landrigan said. In affluent parts of Meridian-Kessler, for example, there’s little to show in the $450,000 to $700,000 range, he said.

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