Area existing-home sales continue to slide

Sales of existing homes in central Indiana are off to a slow start this year after falling in February, marking the 10th decline in 11 months.

The number of signed sales agreements—also known as pending sales—in the nine-county metropolitan area slid from 2,326 in February 2015 to 2,186 last month, according to data released Friday morning by real estate agency F.C. Tucker Co.

Tucker attributed the 3.5 percent drop in pending sales to a decline in the inventory of available homes. In February, 8,411 properties were available, down 9.5 percent from 9,294 in February of last year.

Sales of existing area homes rose less than 1 percent in December but otherwise have been on a steady decline since the first four months of 2015.

“The spring buying season will heat up the market, but the low level of inventory will keep demand in check,” Tucker CEO Jim Litten said in written remarks.

The decrease in pending sales was felt most in Hamilton County, where they dropped 20.1 percent, from 522 in February 2015 to 417 last month.

In Marion County, the area’s biggest market, sales declined 4.8 percent, from 1,006 to 958.

Other losses came in Johnson County, where sales fell 11.2 percent, to 198, and in Hendricks County, with a 7 percent slide, to 173.

Pending sales in February also fell in Boone County, by 3.8 percent, to 77.

Hancock and Madison counties were the only two counties in the metro area were sales increased. They climbed 16.9 percent, to 97, in Hancock, and 43.4 percent in Madison, to 162.

All counties experienced declines in inventory except Boone, where listings grew just 0.6 percent.

The drop in the number of homes available in the nine-county area helped push the average sales price up 2.7 percent, to $171,932. The average sales price in Marion County increased 4.7 percent, to $134,494. The most expensive homes can be found in Boone County, where the average sales price last month increased 6 percent, to $270,681.

Overall, six homes priced above $1 million changed hands in February, and 60 sold in the range from $500,000 to $1 million.

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