Indianapolis-area home sales jump despite less-than-ideal buying conditions

Despite less-than-ideal house-buying conditions, existing-home sales in central jumped 8 percent in August, propelled by a strong economy and consumer optimism.

In the 15-county area, closed home sales rose from 3,519 in August 2017 to 3,802 last month, according to data from the MIBOR Realtor Association. Area sales have risen on a year-over-year basis in 29 of the past 34 months.

MIBOR officials say housing affordability is at a 10-year low due to rising prices, higher interest rates and increased building material costs. And housing costs are rising faster than household incomes.

“That kind of gap will eventually create fewer sales due to affordability concerns, which is happening in several markets, especially in the middle to high-middle price ranges,” MIBOR said in its latest report.

But that hasn’t happened yet.

“The fact remains that the trends do not yet support a dramatic shift away from what has been experienced over the last several years,” the report says. “Housing starts are performing admirably if not excitingly, prices are still inching upward, supply remains low and consumers are optimistic.”

The total number of active home listings in the region dropped 18 percent, from 9,826 at the end of August 2017 to 8,059 at the end of last month. New listings, however, jumped 9.5 percent, to 4,569.

The average area home sales price during the year-over-year period increased 5.3 percent, to $216,003. The median price rose 9 percent, to $179,000.

Home owners across central Indiana in August got an average of 96.2 percent of their original list price when selling their houses.

Pending sales in the area were up 19 percent, to 3,731.

Area counties

In Marion County—typically the most active market in central Indiana—closed sales in August rose 5.2 percent, to 1,507.

The average sales price in the county rose 9.2 percent, to $178,075. New listings rose 14.5 percent, to 1,931.

The inventory of single-family detached houses in Marion County was down 15.4 percent, to 2,772. The townhouse-condo inventory fell 24.1 percent, to 296 units.

In Hamilton County, sales rose 7.3 percent, to 736. The average sales price rose 1.8 percent, to $313,505. The inventory of single-family detached houses fell 12.8 percent, to 1,524.

In Hendricks County, sales soared 16.6 percent, to 337, while the average sales price ticked up 1.3 percent, to $224,224.

In Johnson County, sales rose 1.1 percent, to 266, while the average sales price dipped 1.2 percent, to $214,873.

Sales in Boone County fell 2.4 percent, to 122, as the average price of a home rose 14.3 percent, to $363,162.

Hancock County sales dropped 2.3 percent, to 126, and the average price jumped 18.2 percent, to $218,307.

Sales were down 3.6 percent in Madison County, to 160. The average sales price climbed 5.3 percent, to $125,610.

Morgan County sales increased 15.4 percent, to 120, and the average sales price ticked up 1.9 percent, to $185,665.

Shelby County saw 71 closed home sales in August, an increase of 37 percent. The average price rose 6.5 percent, to $147,805.

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