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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Hot housing market is good news for sellers, 'disheartening' for buyers

According to Zillow, typical home values are up 14 percent in Johnson County, 17 percent in Madison County and 16 percent in Marion County.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Iris O’Donnell Bellisario had always imagined the search for her first home would be a memorable experience. The first-time home buyer says it has certainly been memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.

“It has been one of the most frustrating events of my life,” she said.

After five months of searching, she has seen dozens of homes, made nearly half a dozen offers, and lost out on every one of them.

“Every house that I’ve made an offer on, the winning bid is cash, $20,000 to $50,000 over asking price with no inspections and no appraisal,” she said. “It has ended up being a stressful, disheartening experience.”

Industry experts say it’s a snapshot of a picture we’re seeing across Indiana: more buyers than available homes for sale, which is leading to more competition, which is driving up prices.

Jordan Moody is a real estate broker who sells homes across metropolitan Indianapolis – including Boone County where he said there are 70 percent fewer homes on the market than this time last year.

“The days of just sending your agent a text, saying ‘hey I want to see this house, maybe we’ll negotiate on price,’ those days are over,” Moody said.

According to Zillow, typical home values are up 14 percent in Johnson County, 17 percent in Madison County and 16 percent in Marion County.

O’Donnell Bellisario is searching in one of the toughest markets in the country. Realtor.com named Greater Lafayette, Indiana the nation’s third hottest housing market in April.

The real estate company RedFin says last month, nearly three quarters of home offers faced bidding wars nationwide.

Credit: WTHR

That’s good news if you’re trying to sell your home. But for those trying to buy – especially for the first time – achieving that key piece of the American dream seems farther away than ever.

“I almost feel like it's impossible,” said O’Donnell Bellisario. “I have lost a lot of hope. I went into it feeling really excited like, 'this is gonna be the coolest moment of my life,' but it’s really dwindled.”

“What this means for buyers is you have to get creative,” said Moody, who explained that conventional loans are often the way to go if you are going to finance a purchase. And the more money you put down, the better your odds.

“Those government-backed loans are getting beat out by cash offers or 20-percent-plus down conventional offers. So you really need to be strong on your financing in this market,” he said.

According to Realtor.com, here’s what else you can do:

  • Be ready to move quickly when you find a home. That means getting pre-approved before you begin house hunting.
  • Industry experts recommend looking at homes under your budget (in some cases well under your budget.) That way, if you need to offer above the asking price to compete, you can do so without stretching your wallet.

O’Donnell Bellisario had hoped to be moved into her first home by now. She’s frustrated, but hasn’t given up yet.

“I’m still searching,” she said. “I’ve just … extended my timeline.”

Here’s how much typical central Indiana home values have gone up since last year, according to Zillow:

  1. The typical home in Bartholomew County is $193,185 which is an increase of 8.3% in one year.
  2. The typical home in Benton County is $104,951 which is an increase of 11% in one year.
  3. The typical home in Blackford County is $79,836 which is an increase of 5.7% in one year.
  4. The typical home in Boone County is $292,960 which is an increase of 7.7% in one year.
  5. The typical home in Brown County is $216,616 which is an increase of 6.3% in one year.
  6. The typical home in Carroll County is $145,554 which is an increase of 6% in one year.
  7. The typical home in Cass County is $93,880 which is an increase of 7.1% in one year.
  8. The typical home in Clinton County is $124 which is an increase of 8.2% in one year.
  9. The typical home in Delaware County is $106,808 which is an increase of 11.9% in one year.
  10. The typical home in Fayette County is $88,909 which is an increase of 9% in one year.
  11. The typical home in Grant County is $92,634 which is an increase of 8.3% in one year.
  12. The typical home in Hamilton County is $333,172 which is an increase of 11% in one year.
  13. The typical home in Hancock County is $231,334 which is an increase of 11.8% in one year.
  14. The typical home in Hendricks County is $249,389 which is an increase of 11.6% in one year.
  15. The typical home in Henry County is $104,338 which is an increase of 8.3% in one year.
  16. The typical home in Howard County is $132,949 which is an increase of 10.2% in one year.
  17. The typical home in Johnson County is $224,683 which is an increase of 13.6% in one year.
  18. The typical home in Madison County is $129,397 which is an increase of 17.1% in one year.
  19. The typical home in Marion County is $180,894 which is an increase of 15.7% in one year.
  20. The typical home in Miami County is $94,740 which is an increase of 7.5% in one year.
  21. The typical home in Monroe County is $250,023 which is an increase of 10.9% in one year.
  22. The typical home in Montgomery County is $141,036 which is an increase of 7.9% in one year.
  23. The typical home in Morgan County is $207,565 which is an increase of 13.8% in one year.
  24. The typical home in Putnam County is $165,021 which is an increase of 7.2% in one year.
  25. The typical home in Randolph County is $94,687 which is an increase of 6.9% in one year.
  26. The typical home in Rush County is $127,042 which is an increase of 7.9% in one year.
  27. The typical home in Shelby County is $152,941 which is an increase of 7.9% in one year.
  28. The typical home in Tippecanoe County is $207,865 which is an increase of 11.5% in one year.
  29. The typical home in Tipton County is $144,104 which is an increase of 8.1% in one year.
  30. The typical home in Warren County is $145,723 which is an increase of 9.4% in one year.
  31. The typical home in Wayne County is $107,791 which is an increase of 5.3% in one year.
  32. The typical home in White County is $147,788 which is an increase of 9% in one year.