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Homes sales, prices still on the rise in Northwest Indiana

A finished garage is next two neighboring homes under constructiGolden Grove Avenue Silverleaf subdivisiDyer Ind. Friday March 22 2013.

A finished garage is next to two neighboring homes under construction on Golden Grove Avenue in the Silverleaf subdivision in Dyer, Ind. Friday March 22, 2013. New home sales are making a slow, steady rise. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 30, 2013 2:23PM



Home sales are on the rise and foreclosures are decreasing across Northwest Indiana this spring.

For the 21st straight month, Northwest Indiana reported a sales increase in March from the same month in 2012, according to data collected by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.

In the five county region, 741 single-family homes were sold, compared to 601 in March 2012 — a 23.3 percent increase. Even the median selling price, which has fluctuated throughout the housing recovery, increased a bit — by 0.4 percent to $117,500. In Lake County, sales were up 21.3 percent and sales increased by 32.3 percent in Porter County. While in February, foreclosure rates in Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton counties decreased by nearly a percentage point compared to the same month in 2012, according to the National Foreclosure Report released Friday by data and analytics company CoreLogic.

GNIAR CEO Peter Novak said the recent data is a positive sign for the market. “As the foreclosure rate continues to fall, it almost certainly means that prices will rise,” Novak said. “The supply is staying fairly steady, but there is improved demand.”

Foreclosures are still a significant part of the market — estimated by the National Association of Realtors at about 25 percent — so any given month the number of foreclosures can dictate prices more or less, Novak said.

The foreclosure rate was 3.36 in Northwest Indiana, which is higher than the national average at 2.85 percent but 0.95 percentage points lower than the same period in 2012. The mortgage delinquency also fell in February, when 7.53 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 8.30 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of 0.77 percentage points.

Novak said Realtors are seeing more buyers and sellers, with demand particularly high at houses priced at more than $200,000.

“There have been some statements about a shortage of inventory,” Novak said. “But I think some people are confused. Two years ago, a buyer may have been the only one looking at a house with not much competition, so you could put in a lowball offer. Now, that whole dynamic is starting to change. You may not be the only one interested.”

Sellers who wanted to wait out the housing slump are also being motivated by low interest rates and motivated buyers, Novak said.

“A few years ago buyers might be content to sit and wait because they figured if the buyers didn’t come up to their price it wasn’t worth it,” Novak said. “Now, they worry if they wait they might miss historically low interest rates and miss out on a great deal on another home. There are too many positive factors for a perceived paper loss.”



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