Report Shows Slight Housing Dip

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RE/MAX of Indiana LP says the number of homes sold in central Indiana in the third quarter of 2014 decreased slightly compared to the same period last year. Broker Chris Schulhof says "heavier scrutiny" by mortgage lenders was a factor in the 1.8 percent decline.

October 30, 2014

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. -- According to the latest housing data compiled by RE/MAX of Indiana, the number of homes sold in Central Indiana remained steady with a decrease of 1.80 percent during the third quarter of 2014 compared to the third quarter of 2013. From July through September, 8,712 homes sold and closed, compared to 8,872 that sold during the same time last year in the nine-county area.

"Overall, the market experienced stable home sales but little growth during the third quarter, partly due to the heavier scrutiny by mortgage lenders for potential loans," said Chris Schulhof, broker/owner with RE/MAX Realty Services located in the Geist area of Indianapolis.

Home sales in Hancock County saw the most significant increase. Sellers in that market saw the number of homes sold increase by 8.15 percent for the third quarter.

Johnson County experienced a 6.14 percent increase in the number of homes sold with Hamilton County holding at .05 percent over the same time last year. Meanwhile, Marion County experienced a decrease in the number of homes sold of 4.14 percent during the third quarter.

Consumers in Central Indiana who sold their homes during the third quarter experienced higher average sales prices, which increased 3.68 percent when compared to sales transactions in 2013. This increase brought the average price for homes up to $176,818.

Shelby County saw the most significant increase in average sales price by 21.21 percent to an average of $122,460, followed by Boone (10.40 percent), Johnson (8.47 percent), Hamilton (3.43 percent) and Marion (2.91 percent) counties.

Meanwhile, the length of time a home sat on the market in Central Indiana increased 1.35 percent to an average of 74 days on market for homes sold from July through September.

Real estate professionals remain optimistic about the market’s prospects for the remainder of 2014 based on a stronger indication of sales during the month of September. Closed home sales for Central Indiana increased nearly 10 percent compared to September 2013.

"Lenders are starting to introduce new programs with more options for buyers seeking a mortgage. These programs helped increase activity in September to close out the quarter. That coupled with lower interest rates have led to this momentum, which we expect will continue through the rest of 2014," added Schulhof.

Schulhof recommends sellers consider “staging” as an important part of positioning the home against others in the market while heavily marketing the home. In addition, pricing the home correctly is a critical part of ensuring a successful sale for top dollar.

"We find that old school, traditional print advertising has been as effective as new school advertising on the Internet," said Schulhof. "But no amount of advertising can save a house that’s overpriced, which can result in selling the home for less money than it would have if it had been priced correctly from the beginning. The longer a home sits, like a loaf of bread, the less appealing it is."

Broker Mark Linder with the Linder/McClurg Team at RE/MAX Select, which covers the south side of Indianapolis, agrees.

"Homes that were priced correctly and showed well typically sold within 30 days, and many times within the first week," said Linder. "As a result, we've seen more multiple offer situations on homes recently than I had seen in over 10 years."

While the fourth quarter is typically the time sellers take their homes off the market, Linder encourages sellers reconsider that strategy.

"We encourage people whose homes have not sold stick with the market through fall and winter. Those who do will face less competition and have a better chance of selling," said Linder.

Likewise, Linder encourages buyers do not wait until spring to purchase a home, given current low interest rates and sellers willing to sell for a little less than they would have in the spring and summer.

Source: RE/MAX of Indiana LP