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Home Sales

A sold sign is shown outside a single-family home on the market in Denver. Sales of existing homes are down nationally, but continue to rise in Northwest Indiana.

The number of existing homes sold in Northwest Indiana in July was up sharply as compared to a year ago, with 1,074 sales representing an 8.3 percent increase, according to statistics from the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.

The median price was also up significantly, by 9.9 percent to $175,900, according to the GNIAR Mulitple Listing Service monthly report. The price was 6.6 percent higher than June's median.

Northwest Indiana's performance bucked a national trend. The National Association of Realtors reported a slight decline in sales for the fourth straight month. This year, sales are down 1.5 percent, according to the NAR.

The median existing-home price was $269,600, up 4.5 percent from July 2017, according to the NAR. It was 77th straight month of year-over-year increases.

The NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said price increases caused by tight supply are holding back some buyers.

“Too many would-be buyers are either being priced out, or are deciding to postpone their search until more homes in their price range come onto the market,” Yun said. “Existing supply is still not at a healthy level, and new home construction is not keeping up to meet demand.”

While Northwest Indiana sales were up, GNIAR's statistics also reflect tight inventory for sale. The 3,682 on the market in July constituted a 13 percent decrease compared to July 2017.

GNIAR includes Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper, Newton, Starke and Pulaski counties.

Lake County sales were up 7 percent to 613, with a median price of $176,000, up 13.6 percent from a year ago. Porter County, where sales had dropped year-over-year in July 2017, had the highest percentage gain this year, up 13.2 percent to 257. The median price was $200,000, up by only $500 from a year ago. LaPorte County recorded 134 sales, up 2.3 percent, and a median price of $139,950, up 3.7 percent.

For the year through July, sales of 6,205 homes in the GNIAR region represented a 2.6 percent increase from the first seven months of 2017, and a median price of $163,000 was 8.7 percent above a year ago.

Statewide, sales were up 5.1 percent from last July, with a total of 8,765 closings, and the median price was up 8.2 percent to $165,000, according to the Indiana Association of Realtors. The inventory of homes for sale was down 11.3 percent, to 26,337.

The NAR also reported for July:

• Properties typically remained on the market for 27 days, up from 26 in June but down from 30 a year ago.

• The average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage declined to 4.53 percent in July from 4.57 in June, but was up from 3.99 from all of 2017.

• First-time buyers were 32 percent of the total in July, down from 33 percent a yaer ago.

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Transportation Reporter

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.