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Sales of existing homes in Northwest Indiana were up more than 10 percent in April as compared to a year ago, contributing to a strong year but further tightening available inventory.

"All in all, it's a hot market," said Valerie Rosenblum, president of the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, which includes seven counties in Northwest Indiana.

The area saw 907 homes sold in April, according to GNIAR, as compared to 824 in April 2015. For the year through April, a total of 2,859 homes have been sold, up 11.3 percent from the 2,568 sold during the first four months of 2015.

The median sale price in 2016 has been $141,000, up 9.9 percent from 2015.

The rising demand has spurred new construction, Rosenblum said, but inventory remains tight.

"For the entire area, there is a six-month supply of existing homes for sale as compared to a seven-plus-month supply for the same time last year," she said. "As we leave spring and enter into summer, we anticipate demand to remain high, thus continuing to have low inventory levels."

Nationally, existing home sales rose for the second consecutive month, up 6 percent over last year to 5.45 million, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Lawrence Yun, the association's chief economist, said the Midwest drove the national jump in sales. Prices there are the "most affordable," he said.

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"Sales activity overall was at a healthy pace last month as very low mortgage rates and modest seasonal inventory gains encouraged more households to search for and close on a home," he said.

The average mortgage rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.61 percent in April, the lowest level since May 2013, according to Freddie Mac.

Despite an uptick in housing inventory in April, supply remains tight nationally, Yun said, with the number of homes for sale down 3.6 percent from a year ago.

In Lake County, sales of single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes and duplexes were up 9.1 percent year-over-year, hitting 491 this April. Median prices have risen 5.5 percent to $145,000.

Porter County saw a leap in sales of 18.9 percent, to 239, with the median price up 13.5 percent to $176,999.

LaPorte County saw a 5.9 percent increase in sales, to 107, with the median price jumping 15.8 percent to $110,000.

GNIAR also has member Realtors in Jasper, Newton, Starke and Pulaski counties.

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Assistant Deputy Editor

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.