The Realtor mantra is “location, location, location.”
As existing home sales increase, Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors' numbers show local homebuyers are flocking to Crown Point, Valparaiso, Schererville and St. John.
Tiffany Dowling, a Realtor with Century 21 Affiliated, moved from Lowell into Winfield’s Doubletree subdivision this summer. Dowling said she and her husband focused their search in the Crown Point and St. John areas.
Dowling said they chose to buy an existing home rather than build because of their timeframe. The couple had just found a tenant to lease their Lowell townhome.
“We felt like it was a good time to keep that as an investment property,” Dowling said. “We picked either St John or Crown Point because of my business as both are so centralized.”
Dowling said Crown Point “has that small-town feel, but then you are still close to the mall. What I love about Crown Point and Winfield is that you are so close to Valparaiso, close to the expressway to get to Chicago and you are close to the oil refinery and steel mill for those types of jobs.”
Dowling’s husband works at BP Amoco, she said.
“With the new 109th exit, he is so close to I-65 and saves time,” Dowling said. “Most of my business is in the Lowell, Crown Point, Cedar Lake and St. John areas.”
Dowling said she loves the Doubletree subdivision.
Dowling said the new schools in St. John and Crown Point are definite assets to both communities. She said good schools and the small-town atmosphere but proximity to Chicago is what most of her clients are looking for.
According to Pete Novak, CEO of GNIAR, 9,444 properties were sold in 2013 across Northwest Indiana in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton counties. Novak said local real estate sales have increased monthly for the past 30 straight months.
Among the leaders in residential sales listed in the GNIAR multiple listing service in 2013 were Crown Point with 877 sales, including Winfield and Lakes of the Four Seasons in the numbers; Valparaiso at 740 sales, including Shorewood Forest; Schererville at 457; and St. John at 264. These numbers do not reflect existing homes or new construction not listed with a Realtor.
Location, affordability and quality of life are drawing people to the city, said Christopher Meyers, Crown Point building and planning administrator.
“Crown Point is definitely close to Chicago as well as being a good jumping off point to Indianapolis,” Meyers said. “We have really great arterials coming into the city and our school corporation is one of the best in the state. Relative to quality of life, we have the Sportsplex and various fraternal and other clubs and agencies that are very strong here in the city.”
Crown Point definitely has a hometown feel, he said.
“We have the square which is small mom-and-pop boutiques and restaurants,” Meyers said. “We have a variety of housing products from new tract homes to condominiums to historical homes as well as estate lots.”
Crown Point is in a good position financially with strong commercial development coming into the city, he noted.
Meyers said that Crown Point’s Hometown Festivals, including the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parade, draw people to the city.
“They get to come in and see the square, the homes and the quality of our life and what constitutes the Hub City,” he said.