Northwest Indiana single-family home sales eked out a small gain in November, increasing just 1.9 percent from November 2012, according to sales data collected by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.
The small increase extended the region's sales-gain streak to 29 straight months, but pointed to a definite flattening in both regional and national housing markets at year end. Even with the smaller November increase, home sales locally are on track for their best year since before the recession that struck in 2007.
Nationally, single-family home sales dropped 0.9 percent in November, as compared to the year-ago month, according to the National Association of Realtors.
“Home sales are hurt by higher mortgage interest rates, constrained inventory and continuing tight credit,” said National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
In Northwest Indiana, the long-dormant home building sector is finally coming back to life, with even some custom builders once again getting a steady stream of orders for high-end homes, said Minakshi Ghuman, a Realtor with ReMax Pace Realty in Valparaiso.
But she agreed with Yun that lenders and banks have significantly tightened their credit standards, even for buyers with good credit.
"Now they want an explanation of everything, because they want to watch their backs, even with people that are well-qualified," Ghuman said. "It just takes longer these days."
Despite the home sales drop nationally, prices remain strong, with a median single-family selling price of $196,200 in November, representing a 9.4 percent increase as compared to November 2012.
Locally, prices have increased only moderately, with the median selling price of a home increasing just 1.2 percent in November, as compared to the year-ago month, according to the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.
Overall, 693 homes were sold in November in the five counties covered by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, as compared to 680 homes in the same period last year.
In Lake County, 397 homes were sold in November, as compared to 395 sold in November 2012, according to the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors. The median selling price of $129,000 represented a 7.9 percent increase from the year-ago month.
In Porter County, 132 homes were sold in November, as compared to 148 sold in November 2012. The median selling price of $163,500 represented a 2.2 percent increase from the year-ago month.
The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors covers home sales in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton counties.