Home sales up in central Indiana - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Home sales up in central Indiana

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Satrina McDonald Satrina McDonald

Rich Van Wyk/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Here's something we haven't heard in a while: local home sales are up for October and bucking a national trend.

It was a good month for the Indianapolis housing industry and Satrina McDonald. "I'm ecstatic," she said with a big smile.

Her north side Indianapolis home received 23 showings, two offers and a sold sign in just thirty days.

"We figured six months to nine months. Who knew? But it sold in a month," she said.

For the fist time in a year, existing home sales in central Indiana are higher than a year ago.

According to RE/MAX of Indiana, they jumped 23 percent compared to last October

New home sales are up as well, eight percent for the month, according to building permits tracked by the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis.

Increased sales, however, appear to have more to do with government incentives than confidence in a recovering economy.

The housing industry says buyers rushed to claim $8,000 federal tax credits that were supposed to run out at the end of November.

Alan Goldsticker of Ryland Homes explained, "Definitely the percentage of first time buyers increased this year, both at Ryland and the rest of the market. Absolutely."

While the central Indiana housing industry saw something of a turnaround, nationwide the industry headed downhill.

The Commerce Department reports US home and apartment construction fell more than 10.5 percent in October. Tax credits are apparently not enough to overcome buyers' fears of the economy.

Prof. Bill Rieber teaches at Butler University's College of Business Administration.

"A lot of potential home buyers are still worried. If they buy the house now, what will it be worth a year, two, three years from now. Five years from now?" he said.

October was rare bright spot in what has been a terrible year for the Indianapolis area housing industry. Existing home sales are down nearly nine percent. New homes are down 24 percent over the last 12 months.

Congress recently extended the tax credit for first time buyers and created a new tax credit, as much as $6,5000 for current homeowners moving into another home. The central Indiana housing industry is counting on those incentives to keep sales heading upward through winter.

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