Sales of existing homes in Northwest Indiana continued their year-over-year rise in August, but only barely, with 1,146 sales representing a 0.7 percent increase over August 2016.
The median price in the seven counties that make up the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors continued to rise robustly, gaining 7.9 percent to $161,250, according to GNIAR's Multiple Listing Service. That price is 2.3 percent lower than July's $165,000.
The slow sales-growth trend is holding nationally as well. The 5.35 million total existing homes sold in August are 0.2 percent higher than last August, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The association's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said demand is strong, but the supply of homes for sale remains too tight to allow significant growth in the sale of existing homes.
The median price for existing homes was $253,500 in August, up 5.6 percent from a year ago. August was the 66th month in a row that year-over-year prices rose.
"What's ailing the housing market and continues to weigh on overall sales is the inadequate levels of available inventory and the upward pressure it's putting on prices in several parts of the country," Yun said. "Sales have been unable to break out because there are simply not enough homes for sale."
In Northwest Indiana, Lake and LaPorte counties led the gains. Lake County sales were up 5.1 percent, to 679, while LaPorte County saw a 7.2 percent increase to 134.
Porter County saw a decline of 6.3 percent in sales, to 254.
The median price rose in both Lake and Porter, up 8.4 percent to $160,000 in Lake and 4.5 percent to $187,000 in Porter. LaPorte County saw a median price drop of 6.2 percent to $129,900.
Realtors in Jasper, Newton, Starke and Pulaski counties are also members of GNIAR.
For 2017 through August, Northwest Indiana sales are up 2.8 percent from the first seven months of 2016, to 7,465.
The NAR also :
• Total housing inventory for sale was 1.88 million at the end of August, 6.5 percent lower than a year ago.
• Properties stayed on the market an average of 30 days in August, down from 36 days a year ago.
• First-time buyers accounted for 31 percent of August sales, equal to August 2016.
• Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.88 percent, the lowest of any month this year.