Single-family home sales in Northwest Indiana increased 23.2 percent in July as compared to one year ago and prices increased slightly, according to the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.
In the five counties covered by the association, 919 single-family homes were sold in July as compared to 746 in July 2012. The median selling price moved up to $138,000, which represents a 0.7 percent year-over-year increase.
In Porter County, it has definitely become a sellers market with June's bump up in mortgage interest rates not fazing buyers in the least, said Minakshi Ghuman, a Realtor with ReMax Pace Realty in Valparaiso.
"If anything, it created a sense of urgency for buyers," she said. "They are thinking, 'OK, rates are still good. But I better do something before they go up again.'"
Realtors are now seeing things they have not seen in years, Ghuman said. That includes backup offers made by would-be buyers on the slim chance an offer already accepted may fall through.
Nationally, existing single-family home sales increased 16.4 percent as compared to one year ago, with the median selling price increasing 13.5 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors.
National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the effect of increases in home mortgage interest rates is being partially offset by overall U.S. job growth.
“The initial rise in interest rates provided strong incentive for closing deals," Yun said. "However, further rate increases will diminish the pool of eligible buyers.”
The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.37 percent in July from 4.07 percent in June, according to weekly surveys conducted by federally-backed home mortgage bundler Freddie Mac. The July figure was the highest since July 2011 when it was 4.55 percent. The rate was 3.55 percent in July 2012.
The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors covers home sales and represents Realtors in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties.