Single-family homes sales in Northwest Indiana decreased 5.8 percent in January, breaking a streak of 30 straight months of year-over-year increases, according to sales figures from the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.
January's frigid weather and heavy snowfalls affected both supply and demand, with fewer people venturing out to look at homes and people hesitating to put their homes on the market, said Peter Novak, CEO of Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.
However, Novak noted national forecasts call for a flattening in home sales this year after two straight years of significant increases.
"The streak was nice to talk about, but we knew it wouldn't last forever," Novak said of January sales.
Nationally, single-family home sales dropped 6 percent as compared to one year ago, while the median selling price increased 10.4 percent to $188,900, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Weather was a prominent culprit in the decline, but ongoing headwinds such as tight credit, limited inventory, higher prices and higher mortgage interest rates also played a role, according to National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
"These issues will hinder home sales activity until the positive factors of job growth and new supply from higher housing starts begin to make an impact," Yun said.
The average interest rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.43 percent in January, as compared to 3.41 percent in January 2013, according to weekly surveys produced by Freddie Mac.
Despite the decline in sales, the median selling price of a home in Northwest Indiana edged up 1.7 percent in January on a year over year basis, according to the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors. In Porter County, the median selling price was 8.8 percent higher than at the same time last year.
In Lake County, single-family home sales declined 10.6 percent in January as compared to January 2013, according to the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors. The median selling price declined 4.6 percent as compared to one year ago.
In Porter County, single-family home sales increased 1 percent in January as compared to one year ago.
The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors reports on home sales in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties.