A combination of low inventory and low interest rates are creating a dream home-selling experience for some Northwest Indiana residents.
Houses in great condition and priced right are selling quickly, and in some cases, getting multiple bids, driving up the contract price, according to two Realtors in the area.
“It happens all the time. If a house is in wonderful condition, it can sell within hours and with higher bids,” said Saba Mohammed, a Realtor with Envision Real Estate Services Inc. in Merrillville.
Brenda Miley, a Realtor with Century 21 Affiliated in Schererville, concurred.
“Anything priced right will have healthy activity. I’m seeing houses under contract in five to 10 days instead of 60 days on the market,” Miley said.
Peter Novak Jr., CEO of the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, said continued low inventory is driving up prices. He said there were a little more than 3,100 houses for sale in the association’s seven-county region in January, compared to 3,700 on the market the previous January.
He added that there was just a 3.5-month supply of inventory, which he said was “extremely low.”
According to January housing statistics provided by GNIAR, the number of housing units sold in the organization’s seven-county area increased by 1.5 percent over the same month in 2017, from 592 to 601, while the median price increased by 9.2 percent, from $142,000 to $155,000.
The counties include Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, Jasper, Starke and Pulaski.
In Lake County, the number of houses sold jumped 4.5 percent, from 337 to 352, while the median sales price rose 9.3 percent, from $143,000 to $156,275.
Porter County actually saw a 9 percent decrease in the number of houses sold in January compared to January 2017, dropping from 133 to 121. The median price increased 5.8 percent, from $180,000 to $190,500.
“The median selling price numbers are still through the roof,” Novak said.
“It’s been the same story. Sale units are fairly flat and prices are still climbing. The demand is still there. Buyers are still competing for what they want,” Novak said.
Mohammed, 2018 GNIAR president, said multiple offers are being made on houses in the most popular price range — $150,000 to $210,000. She said everywhere in Northwest Indiana is hot, provided the property is in good shape and priced right.
Miley, 2018 Multiple Listing Services president, believes that some people may be reluctant to put their houses on the market because they’re still nervous as a result of the housing crash that took place about 10 years ago
“Some people don’t realize that the market has rebound as much as it has,” Miley said.
She didn’t think the interest rates were this low during the crash. She said while they’ve edged up a little, they’re still historically low.
While houses in good condition are getting harder to find, Mohammed said there is still plenty of inventory for the fixer-upper.
“There’s plenty of inventory for investors — the handyman specials, foreclosures and short sales,” she said. “This market hasn’t changed in the last couple of years.”
Karen Caffarini is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.
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