Area existing-home sales tick up amid declining inventories

Sales of existing single-family homes rose 1.8% in central Indiana in September—only the second month of increased sales this year on a year-over-year basis.

Completed sales in the 16-county area rose from 2,994 in September 2018 to 3,048 last month, according to the latest data from the MIBOR Realtor Association.

September’s increase followed a 1.2% year-over-year decline in August, a 3.6% increase in July, a 6.9% slide in June, a 2.6% decrease in May, a 1.9% dip in April, a 3.6% drop in March, a 2.3% fall in February and an 8.3% contraction in January.

On a year-to-date basis, closed sales are down 1.8% in the area, to 26,862.

The total number of active home listings in the region fell 7.4% on a year-over-year basis, to 6,341 at the end of last month. New listings were up 0.5%, to 3,569.

The median sales price for an existing single-family home increased 5.5%, to $189,900.

Homeowners across central Indiana in September got an average of 97.5% of their original list price when selling their houses. That was down from 97.8% in August.

Homes spent an average of 40 days on the market, the same as a year ago.

Pending home sales were up a whopping 18.7% in September on a year-over-year basis, to 3,243.

“The story this month continues to be the lack of housing inventory in the central Indiana market,” MIBOR CEO Shelley Specchio said in written remarks. “However, pending sales are up when they typically decrease this time of year, giving us more proof that there is still an unrelenting demand for homes.”

Marion County

In Marion County—the most active market in central Indiana—closed sales in September increased 7.7%, to 1,177.

The median sales price in the county spiked 7.1%, to $160,700. New listings slipped 0.1%, to 1,419.

The inventory of available single-family detached houses in Marion County fell 5.4%, to 2,306.

Other area counties

In Hamilton County, sales were up 2.1%, to 534, in September. The median sales price jumped 5.6%, to $285,000. The inventory of single-family detached houses fell 5%, to 1,293.

In Hendricks County, sales dropped 7.3%, to 249, but the median sales price increased 13.2%, to $232,000.

In Johnson County, sales swooned 14.1%, to 231, and the median sales price also rose 10.5%, to $209,900.

Sales in Boone County fell 4.3%, to 111, and the median price of a home rose 1.4%, to $284,000.

Hancock County sales jumped 19.6%, to 134, and the median price rose 5.5%, to $201,500. Closed sales in the county are up 9 percent through the first nine months of 2019, to 1,131.

Sales were down 0.7% in Madison County, to 147. The median sales price increased 7.1%, to $125,000.

Morgan County sales were up 9.9%, to 100, and the median sales price rose 1%, to $186,850.

Shelby County saw 48 closed home sales in August, up from 46 the previous year. The median price rose 4.4%, to $135,500.

National numbers

U.S. home sales fell 2.2% in September, as rising home prices and lower inventories have stifled homebuyers.

The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that homes sold last month declined at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 5.38 million units, ending a two-month streak of sales gains. Existing-home sales are up 3.9% from a year ago, but September’s stumble shows the limits of the boost that declining mortgage rates had been providing.

As average mortgage rates have fallen nearly a whole percentage point in the past year to 3.61% in September, economists say higher prices and a lack of listings have put a ceiling on the growth seen this past summer.

“Even today’s low mortgage rates and healthy jobs situation can’t overcome the lack of inventory of homes below $300,000,” said Robert Frick, an economist at Navy Federal Credit Union. “Fortunately, the long-term outlook for housing is better, as housing starts and permits are increasing, meaning there will be more homes on the market in the months ahead.”

The median sales price climbed 5.9% from a year ago to $272,100, outpacing wage gains as the strongest price appreciation since January 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: IBJ is now using a new comment system. Your Disqus account will no longer work on the IBJ site. Instead, you can leave a comment on stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Past comments are not currently showing up on stories, but they will be added in the coming weeks. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.