Northwest Indiana single-family home sales dropped 8.6 percent in March as compared to March 2013, marking the third month in a row sales have fallen on a year-over-year basis.
However, the year-to-year decline is not accelerating and March sales as compared to the previous month jumped 37.3 percent, according to sales figures from the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.
Sales softened in the first three months of this year, but member Realtors report they are still busy and anticipate a pickup in sales with the harsh winter finally behind them, according to Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors CEO Peter Novak.
Some are reporting a shortage of homes for sale at some prices, and the extreme buyers' market of just a couple years ago is now in the rearview mirror.
"It definitely seems like the market is more balanced," Novak said. "The pendulum always swings back and forth."
Nationally, single-family home sales in March fell 7.3 percent as compared to the year-ago month, according to the National Association of Realtors. Price appreciation remained strong, with a March median sales price of $198,200, which was 7.4 percent above March 2013.
National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said there should be stronger home sales simply because of population growth that has occurred. On the other hand, price appreciation is above historical norms because of inventory shortages.
Yun has forecast steady home sales for this year and is looking forward to a pick up in sales in the months ahead.
“With ongoing job creation and some weather delayed shopping activity, home sales should pick up, especially if inventory continues to improve and mortgage interest rates rise only modestly,” Yun said.
The average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.34 percent in March from 4.30 percent in February, according to surveys by Freddie Mac. The average interest rate was 3.57 percent in March 2013.
Home sales in Lake County decreased just 0.5 percent in March, with the median price increasing 4.5 percent to $114,450, according to the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.
Home sales in Porter County decreased 20.7 percent in March, with the median sales price decreasing 0.8 percent to $159,950.
The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors reports on home sales in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton counties.