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BusINess » Business » NWI home sales feel November chill

NWI home sales feel November chill

A Realtor shows a couple the dining room of a Valparaiso home during a walk-through. Altogether, 439 existing single-family homes were sold in November in the five counties covered by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, compared to 719 in November 2009, according to association figures. (Photograph by Kyle Telechan/The Times.)

A Realtor shows a couple the dining room of a Valparaiso home during a walk-through. Altogether, 439 existing single-family homes were sold in November in the five counties covered by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, compared to 719 in November 2009, according to association figures. (Photograph by Kyle Telechan/The Times.)

Realtors sold almost 39 percent fewer homes in Northwest Indiana in November than they did a year ago, with some of the drop attributable to soaring sales in November 2009 in anticipation of an expiration of homebuyer tax credits.

Existing single-family homes sold in November totaled 439 in the five counties covered by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, compared to 719 in November 2009, according to association figures. November home sales dropped about 16 percent from the previous month.

But Realtors see some hope on the horizon, with the National Association of Realtors predicting gradual recovery in the market through next year and some local Realtors seeing an uptick in activity in December.

“I think people are feeling a little bit more positive in the medium price ranges,” said Minakshi Ghuman, a Realtor with Century 21 Pace Estates in Valparaiso. “People have become more practical and are adjusting their expectations.”

The National Association of Realtors pointed to a rise in home sales from October in bolstering its forecast of the market recovering to a “healthy, sustainable” level in 2011.

“Continuing gains in home sales are encouraging, and the positive impact of steady job creation will more than trump some negative impact from a modest rise in mortgage interest rates, which remain historically favorable,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

Nationally, sales of existing single-family homes in November moved up 6.7 percent from October but fell 27.3 percent below sales in November 2009, according to National Association of Realtors figures.

Yun pointed out the year-over-year figures were affected by a cyclical peak in home sales in November 2009, mainly brought on by the expected expiration of first-time homebuyer tax credits. Congress then acted to extend and add to those credits, which did not finally expire until April 2010.

Despite the decline in Northwest Indiana homes sales, median selling prices have held steady this year, with a 3.9 percent increase in November compared to the year-ago month. The median November selling price of $129,900 was a 3.5 percent increase from October.

The increase in prices was even more pronounced in Porter County, with the median November sales price of $179,900 representing a 17.7 percent increase from November 2009 and a 10 percent increase from the month before.

NWI homes sales drop in November

Lake County existing single-family homes sold
November 2010: 259
November 2009: 425

Porter County existing single-family homes sold
November 2010: 87
November 2009: 159

Source: Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors

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