Sales of existing homes surge in central Indiana amid lower rates

Sales of existing single-family homes surged in central Indiana in January despite tight inventories and rising prices.

Completed sales in the 16-county area jumped from 1,641 in January 2019 to 1,803 last month—an increase of 9.3%, according to the latest data from the MIBOR Realtor Association. Sales have risen on a year-over-year basis in four of the last five months after falling in seven of the previous eight months.

The active inventory in January dropped 12.6%, to 4,392 houses, and the median price was up 6.8% on a year-over-year basis, to $181,500.

New listings were up 3.1%, to 2,533.

“As we enter 2020, it’s clear low [mortgage] rates are stimulating an increase in demand, which is why this normally restful time of the year is busy,” said MIBOR CEO Shelley Specchio in written comments. “There are buyers in the market who are ready to make a move and do so quickly.”

Marion County

In Marion County—the most active market in central Indiana—closed sales in January rose 8.6%, to 761.

The median sales price in the county spiked 18.1%, to $158,000. New listings rose 3.7%, to 984. The inventory of available single-family detached houses in Marion County fell 9.6%, to 1,594.

Other area counties

In Hamilton County, sales were up 7.7%, to 321, in January. The median sales price rose 3.8%, to $316,000. The inventory of houses fell 15.2%, to 846.

In Hendricks County, sales dropped 7.4%, to 247, and the median sales price increased 9%, to $228,947.

In Johnson County, sales soared 19.3%, to 136, and the median sales price rose 10%, to $192,425.

Sales in Boone County were up 25% last month, to 65, while the median price of a home dropped 17.8%, to $219,900.

Hancock County sales shot up 11.3%, to 59, and the median price rose 6.2%, to $200,800.

Sales were up 26.3% in Madison County last month, to 96. The median sales price increased 47.9%, to $119,000.

Morgan County sales increased from 40 to 48 last month and the median sales price slipped 2.9%, to $170,000.

Shelby County saw 22 closed home sales last month, down from 31 the previous January. The median price dipped 3%, to $124,700.

Statewide sales

On a statewide basis, Indiana saw 4,888 closed sales in January, up 17% from a year ago, according to the Indiana Association of Realtors.

The median sales price increased 5.8%, to $160,000, and the average price rose 5.1%, to $188,808.

New listings increased 5.9%, to 7,074.

“Indiana home sales typically slow down in the winter months, but January was certainly an exception to the rule,” said Bernice Helman, 2020 president of the Indiana Association of Realtors, in written comments. “It’s diffcult to pinpoint a single reason for the double-digit increase—mild weather, low interest rates and a strong Hoosier economy likely played equal roles.”

National sales

U.S. home sales retreated 1.3% in January from the prior month, but low mortgage rates helped enable an increase in purchases from a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors said Friday that sales of existing homes slipped last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million. Sales have climbed 9.6% over the past 12 months as borrowing costs have fallen. But sales could be squeezed in the coming months because of a shortage of homes listed for sale.

Just 1.42 million homes were on the market at the end of January, a 10.7% decline from a year ago. With fewer homes for sale, would-be buyers have fewer options and prices are rising faster than wage growth.

The median sales price in January was $266,300, up 6.8% from a year ago.

The average interest rate charged on a 30-year mortgage was 3.49% this week, down from 4.35% a year ago, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

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