Despite frigid temperatures and howling winds, a dedicated group of local REALTORS® showed up in force for the annual Indiana Association of REALTORS®’ Legislative Conference in Indianapolis at the end of January.
Members of the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS® joined hundreds of real estate industry professionals from across the state for the opportunity to educate themselves, network and most importantly meet with legislative officials, according to GNIAR’s Director of Communications, Nichole De Mario.
“Their mission is to ‘make the REALTOR® voice heard’ on legislative issues and legislation that will make an impact on real estate and the quality of life in Northwest Indiana and the state,” she said. “Local topics included GNIAR’s support on the Illiana Expressway and transportation issues affecting Northwest Indiana, expansion of commuter rail lines and reauthorization of the Regional Development Authority.”
2014 GNIAR President-Elect Joe Wszolek of AppraiserJoe.com in Portage has made the trip to the state conference for more than 15 years now.
“Attending the conference provides REALTORS® the opportunity to see how the legislative process works and gives us the ability to connect with our senators and representatives on a one-on-one basis – all while promoting the issues that make our industry a leader in its field,” he said.
Nina Wiseman of Redkey Realty Leaders in St. John, who has attended the conference for the past six years, agrees.
“It's wonderful to know that I make a difference for the residents and businesses in our region,” she explained.
New GNIAR member Eric Lopez of McColly Real Estate in Highland was a first-time attendee.
“I plan to get involved in the REALTOR® community and felt this would be a great first step,” he said.
Another new member and first-timer, Glen Clark of McColly Real Estate in Valparaiso, added, “I want to get immersed into my profession. This was a wonderful experience, and it makes me proud to be part of this great industry.”
In addition to covering legislative issues, the group also took a moment to reflect on the progress of the Indiana real estate market’s recovery in 2013.
Trumpeting the fact that year-end data shows how 2013 outperformed 2012 in every measure of statewide housing data, 2014 IAR President Kevin Eastridge said: “Last year proved the fundamentals of most housing markets across the state strong. Significant gains in both sales and prices were made, and consumers have felt empowered by that and the fact that interest rates continue to be relatively low.
“Members report that consumer confidence and demand have remained high as we have moved into 2014. While that is great news, we know to expect some fluctuation in market performance given a lack of inventory in many markets, rising interest rates and the implementation of federal policy that will make mortgage qualification difficult for some. And like always, we will be waiting for real employment and wage growth to fuel this slow and steady housing recovery.”
Highlights of the Indiana Real Estate Markets Report featuring year-end statewide comparisons include:
• The number of existing, single-family homes sold last year in Indiana increased 14 percent when compared with 2012.
• The median sale price of those 75,849 homes increased 3.4 percent to $122,000.
• The average sale price of existing, single-family homes increased 4.3 percent to $146,008
• The percent of original list price received increased 1.5 percent to 92 percent
• The number of pending sales increased 10.1 percent to 71,603
• The number of new listings increased 4.5 percent to 117,147