A sluggish December didn't prevent the sale of existing homes in Northwest Indiana in 2018 from topping 2017, while the growth of the median sale price continued its strong upward trajectory.
A total of 10,927 existing homes were sold in Indiana's seven northwestern counties, according to statistics announced by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors. That topped 2017's sales by 1.5 percent.
The median sale price hit $164,900, 7.1 percent over 2017's.
The sales growth came despite a 6.1 percent decline in December, as compared to the same month in 2017. The 782 had a 6.7 percent higher median sale price of $160,000.
Sales statewide were down 7 percent to 6,127 in December, but still eked out a 0.6 percent annual increase, to 89,125. The median price was up 5.8 percent in December, to $155,000, and 7.9 percent for the year in full, to $158,500.
Sales were also down nationally in December. The National Association of Realtors reported a 10.3 percent lower annualized rate in December 2018 as compared to December 2017.
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The NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun, attributed that in part to higher interest rates during much of 2018.
“The housing market is obviously very sensitive to mortgage rates," Yun said in the NAR's statistical release. While the rate went down in December, sales that month were based on decisions made earlier, he said.
The average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage declined to 4.64 percent in December from 4.87 percent in November, according to mortgage-bundler Freddie Mac.
"Now, with mortgage rates lower, some revival in home sales is expected going into spring,” Yun.
He also noted an uptick in available inventory for sale year-over-year, though lower-priced homes are still in short supply.