Home sales slide stops in December
Home sales in Northwest Indiana leveled off in December following five straight months of plummeting sales numbers, giving rise to hope the long-awaited housing turnaround may be just around the corner.
Sales of existing single-family homes fell just 4.3 percent in December compared to December 2009 in the five counties covered by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors. In some markets, sales were up, such as in Porter County, where 20.5 percent more homes were sold in December.
“I think it’s just that more people are feeling better about things,” said Minakshi Ghuman, a Realtor with Century 21 Pace Estates in Valparaiso.
“People are getting back on their feet and going back into the housing market.”
In other signs of increased strength in the market, corporate transfers of employees are picking up, as is interest in some higher-end homes, Ghuman said.
For the full year, homes sales were down 4.3 percent from 2009, the smallest yearly drop since the onset of the housing recession in 2007, according to association figures.
Nationwide, sales of single-family homes dipped just 2.5 percent in December, compared to the year-ago month, according to figures from the National Association of Realtors. They jumped 11.8 percent from the previous month.
“December was a good finish to 2010, when sales fluctuate more than normal,” National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “The pattern over the past six months is clearly showing a recovery.”
From July through November 2010 in Northwest Indiana, home sales fell an average of 28.1 percent each month, compared to the year-ago month. That staggering drop more than made up for booming sales in the first half of the year as people rushed to take advantage of federal homebuyer tax credits.
For the full year, Realtors in the five counties sold 6,816 homes, compared to 7,124 homes sold in 2009, according to the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.
When the housing boom reached its peak locally in 2006, Realtors closed deals on 11,329 homes in the five-county area.
The Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors covers Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton counties.
Home sales level off in December
Lake County existing single-family homes sold
December 2010: 269
December 2009: 323
Porter County existing single-family homes sold
December 2010: 135
December 2009: 112
Source: Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors