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MENDOZA IN THE NEWS

Home sales return to usual pace

Blistering July of '03 wasn't expected to be repeated; prices, units sold still solid.

by Norm Heikens, Indianapolis Star
Publication: Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors

August 25, 2004

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Sales of existing homes and their average price fell in July from the same month last year, the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors said Tuesday The 2,593 homes sold were 3.6 percent fewer than last year, and the average price slipped 0.6 percent, to $155,259.

However, both numbers of homes sold and the average price set records for the first seven months of the year.

Warren Harling, assistant vice president at the Indianapolis office of First Horizon Home Loans, said another record July would have been a lot to expect after last year's heated market.

"This is a more normal market than what we've experienced," he said.

Also on Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors said home sales were up 8.6 percent from a year earlier, but down 2.9 percent from June.

The national median price was up 8.7 percent from July 2003, to $191,300.

Unlike the local figures, the national numbers are adjusted for seasonal fluctuations.

In other economic reports, July is shaping up to have been a bad month for the region of Marion and surrounding counties, as well as Madison County.

Earlier this month, the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis said fewer home-building permits were issued than in any July in four years.

And the government said the region not only had fewer jobs than a year ago, but the lowest count in July since 1999.

The job figures are preliminary and subject to change.

University of Notre Dame economist Jeffrey Bergstrand echoed Harling's sentiment in saying July 2003 was a particularly hot month for home sales because buyers jumped into the market to take advantage of low mortgage rates as the economy improved.

He said home sales and construction could be slowing like the easing of computer purchases after the late 1990s buying spree in advance of the year 2000 computer bug scare.

"Overall, the market is very strong," Bergstrand said. "But you're starting to see the impact of all that building last year."

July home sales in Boone and Johnson counties were up from a year ago, and the average price was higher in Hamilton and Hancock counties.

Year-to-date, record numbers of houses were sold in all the Indianapolis metro-area counties. Hamilton, Hendricks and Marion counties set record average prices.

Regionwide this year, units sold were up 10.4 percent, to 16,905, and the average price has increased 2 percent, to $148,519.

Jayne Lee, a broker in the Century 21 Landtree real estate office in Greenwood, said the newest figures jibe with her experience.

"We haven't noticed a big difference," she said.

Back to normal

Indianapolis-area home sales cooled in July from a year earlier, but maintained a strong pace.

Indianapolis area homes sales

Year

July sales

Percent change

2000

1,972

2001

2,432

+23.3%

2002

2,382

-2.1%

2003

2,691

+13.0%

2004

2,593

-3.6%

Indianapolis metropolitan statistical area is: Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Madison, Marion, Morgan and Shelby counties.

Source: Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors