Inventory of unsold houses boomed in 2007

January 16, 2008
Inventories of unsold houses exploded last year, according to figures compiled by an Indianapolis real estate brokerage.

A 13-county area anchored by Indianapolis overflowed with nearly a year's worth of inventory, Landrigan & Co. Realtors said today.

At the rate of absorption underway in December, the inventory existing as of the end of the year would be purchased within 11.9 months, Landrigan said. That's a huge increase from the 8 months of inventory available at the end of 2006.

There was no one factor that affected the entire market, said president G.B. Landrigan.

"It was so many different things coming from so many different angles at just the right time," Landrigan said.

In some areas, foreclosures were sparked by changes in adjustable mortgages. In other areas, spikes in property taxes cast a pall over the market. In still other areas, a soft economy hurt the market.

The figures do not include pended sales, which are sales that have been accepted but not closed.

As of Jan. 11, the 13-county region had 19,096 houses for sale.

Absorption rates varied widely by price range and location.

There was only 10.8 months of inventory for houses priced at $200,000 and below. At the other extreme, houses priced at $900,001 and above, there was 38.6 months - or more than three years- of inventory.

Boone County had the smallest inventory at 8.3 months.

Some counties were much more of a buyers' market. Shelby County, for example, had 14.2 months of inventory.

Following is the counties tracked by Landrigan and the months of available inventory.

-Boone: 8.3
-Hendricks: 9.9
-Montgomery: 10.6
-Madison: 10.7
-Hamilton: 10.8
-Johnson: 11.3
-Putnam: 11.8
-Morgan: 12.3
-Marion: 12.7
-Shelby: 14.2
-Brown: 18.0
-Decatur: 25.1

Landrigan said Decatur's inventory appears to be a fluke.

Had pended sales been included in his calculations, the county, where Honda Manufacturing of Indiana is building a $550 million car assembly plant, would have been more balanced. Apparently by chance, the county had accumulated a large number of pended sales in December.

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