Slide in home sales stops in February

March 17, 2008

Pending house sales in the Indianapolis area increased in February for the first time since April 2007, prompting one expert to say the soggy market might be finding a bottom.

The sales, which have been accepted but not closed, increased to 2,132 from 2,113 a year earlier, according to F.C. Tucker Co., which uses data compiled by the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors.

Jim Litten, who heads Tucker's residential division, said more prospective buyers are coming off the sidelines to inspect the housing inventory. "It shows that consumer confidence is improving," Litten said.

Tucker didn't disclose figures for closed sales.

Hancock, Shelby and Morgan counties showed the greatest gains in pending sales, with Hancock shooting up 46 percent. Also rising were Morgan and Johnson counties.

Boone County fell the most, nearly 19 percent. Madison, Hamilton and Johnson counties also slipped.

Sale prices continued to droop in February, to $137,363 - a 4.1-percent decline from a year earlier.

A glut of houses is still saturating the market.

The inventory increased 4.7 percent from a year earlier, and houses were on the market an average of 108 days compared with 92 days in February 2006.

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