Local home sales revive as inventories tighten

Jennifer Brown, office manager at Carpenter Realtors, and Jessica Tower, a real estate broker, review recent home listings. Home sales were up in Central Indiana, including sales in Madison County.

ANDERSON — Madison County saw the second-largest increase among central Indiana counties in pended home sales in September, according to statistics compiled by F.C. Tucker Company. 

More than 140 homes were pended last month in the county, compared to about 120 homes in 2013 for the same time period.

The Pending Home Sales (PHS) index measures housing contract activity based on real estate contracts signed for existing single-family residences. Pended homes reflect the current market better than closing figures because of the varying times that can occur between sale agreement and closings.

Shelby County saw the largest increase in pended home sales, up 41.2 percent, and Boone County experienced a 6 percent increase from last year. Marion and Morgan counties also saw slight increases, but Johnson, Hamilton, Hancock and Hendricks counties experienced a decrease in the number of pended homes.

In a nine-county area that included Madison, Boone, Johnson, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Madison, Morgan and Shelby counties, more than 2,203 homes were pended in Indiana.

According to the report, pended home sales overall rose 1.1 percent this year compared to 2013. Year-to-date figures show 22,527 homes pended for the region, a decline of 1,562 homes compared to the same time period in 2013.

Southard said home sales started out slow at the first of the year when heavy snows kept people inside, but when the snow started to melt, the sales started to heat up. She said the recent activity promises to continue into the next two months.

Southard had nine pended homes in September and seven closed.

“We hope that people understand with the winter months coming that they should not necessarily wait until spring to put their house on the market,” Southard said. “There is not an awful lot of inventory in Madison County. We hope that people continue to list their homes, and they will not have as much competition as they would in the spring.”

While not as low as other counties listed in the report, Madison County home inventories were down 5.1 percent.

Home inventories in Shelby, Hendricks, Boone, Hancock, Johnson counties were also down, but there was an increase in homes for sale in Hamilton, Marion and Morgan counties. Hamilton County saw the largest increase, at 4.5 percent. 

“People seem to think there is an awful lot of houses for sale in Madison County,” Southard said. “There are not as many as what you would think. And if people are looking for homes in the winter and are out in the snow, they are serious about buying.”

Like Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

Winter home sales tips

The National Association of Realtors offers the following tips for selling a home during the winter months and holiday seasons:

• Trim outdoor trees so unexpected winds don’t knock down branches that could damage a home. 

• Place a holiday welcome mat outside the front door.

• Clear clutter including bicycles, toys or parcels left by the mail carrier near entrances.

• Decorate with a festive wreath on the door.

• Play holiday music.

• Keep the house cozy and temperatures mild.

• Keep decorations on the conservative side. You want your house to be noticed, not your decorations.

• Turn on holiday lights if the home is viewed in the evening. 

• Be certain your windows are sparkling clean.

• Let there be light. Open blinds and curtains and turn on interior lights to reduce the pervasive dreariness of winter months.

• Bake holiday cookies and treats to fill the home with enticing aromas for prospective buyers.

Source: National Association of Realtors

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