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NWI housing market starting to turn sellers’ way

Marco Abiles an employee Adam's Landscape Lawncare works install water runoff system Residences Deer Creek Schereville Ind. Thursday June 20

Marco Abiles, an employee of Adam's Landscape and Lawncare, works to install a water runoff system at the Residences at Deer Creek in Schereville, Ind., Thursday, June 20, 2013. | Taylor Irby~For Sun-Times Media

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It’s still a buyer’s market for those looking to buy a house, but sellers are starting to see a rebound on housing prices as well.

Home sales in Northwest Indiana spiked in May, with a 29.6 percent rise in the number of single family homes sold compared to one year ago. May marked the 23rd consecutive month of housing sales growth, dating back to July 2011.

Overall, 926 homes were sold in the five county area that includes Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton counties, compared to 716 in May 2012.

Highland resident Felicia Cooley has rented a house for three years with her fiance and two kids, but since the owner decided to sell, she and her family are looking to buy another place. But financing still remains tight when potential buyers approach banks.

“It’s like a good credit score doesn’t matter anymore,” Cooley said. “We always heard, ‘Make sure your credit is good, make sure your credit is good.’ But banks now want a big down payment. And when you’re paying rent, it’s tough to come up with that.”

Cooley said she’s been looking at houses for about a year and prices have been steadily increasing.

The median selling price in Northwest Indiana has stayed steady from a year ago at $130,000.

In Porter County, home sales increased 19.2 percent over a year ago, while Lake County sales were even better at 34.8 percent. The median selling price is up $4,000 to $159,000 in Porter County, while Lake County’s selling price is down a bit to $125,000.

Nationally, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 12.1 percent in April compared to a year ago, according to data released by CoreLogic. It’s the biggest year-over-year increase since February 2006 — before the housing bubble burst. Compared to March 2013, prices increased by 3.2 percent nationally.

There is a starting to be a shortage of inventory on homes going for more than $300,000, but there’s a wide variety of homes available below that price point.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Realtor Rose Dobbins said she recently listed a St. John home for $319,000. Within the first 24 hours, the house got an offer and it was under contract within four days.

“Homes are selling very quickly. It’s really crazy how things are going,” she said. “We had seven showings scheduled within the first four days. It seems like buyers are able to put up more of a down payment on houses too.”



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