NWI home sales have a spring in their step

2013-04-22T16:00:00Z 2013-10-27T21:38:09Z NWI home sales have a spring in their stepBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com

Single-family home sales in Northwest Indiana increased 23.3 percent in March, marking their 21st consecutive monthly increase on a year-over-year basis, according to sales figures from the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.

Selling prices locally were stable in March, with the median selling price of homes up just 0.4 percent, according to the association.

As long as interest rates stay low there should be no let up in demand and prices locally should begin to climb, said Peter Novak, CEO of the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.

"I have members reporting they are getting multiple offers on properties, and those were non-existent for about five years or so," Novak said.

Nationally, single-family home sales increased 9.1 percent in March from the year-ago month, with the median selling price of a single-family home up 12.1 percent, according to sales figures from the National Association of Realtors.

The number of homes sold in March dropped just 0.2 percent from the previous month, which the association attributed mainly to a shortage of homes for sale in some regions of the nation.

"Buyer traffic is 25 percent above a year ago when we were already seeing notable gains in shopping activity," said National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "In the same time frame housing inventories have trended much lower, which is continuing to pressure home prices."

Low interest rates continue to support home sales and keep buyers interested, according to Yun and others.

The average interest rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.57 percent in March. That was up slightly from 3.53 percent in February. In March 2012, the average interest rate was 3.95 percent.

The increases in sales in Northwest Indiana were broad-based, with Lake County home sales up 21.3 percent and Porter County sales up 32.3 percent in March as compared to the year-ago month, according to association figures.

The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors covers homes sales in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, and Jasper counties.

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