Homes sales in Northwest Indiana increased for the third straight year in 2013, hitting their highest level since the onset of the housing crisis in 2007.
By year-end, Realtors in the region had closed deals on 9,447 homes, as compared to the 7,943 homes sold in 2012, according to sales figures from the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.
The Northwest Indiana home sales growth of 18.9 percent for 2013 outstripped the growth in sales nationally, which came in at 9.1 percent, according to sales figures from the National Association of Realtors. In the greater Chicago area, home sales were up a very strong 23 percent, according to the Illinois Association of Realtors.
“Existing-home sales have risen nearly 20 percent since 2011, with job growth, record low mortgage interest rates and a large pent-up demand driving the market,” said National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
Sales in Northwest Indiana were bolstered by a strong 12.1 percent increase in December as compared to the year-ago month, which was the 30th straight monthly increase since the housing recovery began.
December's sales exceeded expectations as did sales for all of 2013, said Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors CEO Peter Novak. The market even seemed to brush off a mid-year rise in interest rates.
"The fact interest rates went up probably tells you the economy was doing better," Novak said.
For the week ended Jan. 23, the average rate on 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.39 percent, according to home mortgage bundler Freddie Mac. One year ago the average rate on the same mortgage was just 3.42 percent.
The increased interest rates could have more of an effect this year, with the National Association of Realtors forecasting level sales with any increase smaller than the one in 2013.
The median selling price of a home in Northwest Indiana moved up to $132,000 in December, a 3.7 percent increase as compared to the year-ago median, according to the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.
Single-family home sales in Porter County dipped 4.8 percent in December, with the median sales price also dropping to $169,450, as compared to $180,000 in the year-ago month.
Single family home sales in Lake County increased 18.8 percent in December, with the median sales price rising to $127,750 from $117,250 in the year-ago month.
The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors covers sales in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties.