If you are looking to purchase a home in Johnson County, you are finding far fewer options to choose from than just a few years ago, and you likely will be paying more for the house.

The number of single-family homes on the market was at 565 in March, a drop from the 643 for sale at the same time in 2016 and far short of the more than 900 homes for sale in June 2015, according to data from the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors.

Last year, the average home sale was $178,000 in Johnson County. This year, the average price is inching even closer to $200,000, according to MIBOR.

Rising pricing and fewer options have been the trend this year, according to several local real estate agents who say their experiences match the data.

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While the number of available homes has dropped, the number of people looking to buy a home hasn’t, one agent said.

“The market is in high demand in most parts of Johnson County,” FC Tucker first vice president Steve Burkhardt said. “There is a shortage across the county. The supply of homes is really down, but strangely enough, closed sales over the last 12 months is actually ahead of where it was a year ago. There are a lot of homes selling.”

Burkhardt attributed the decrease in homes for sale to construction not keeping up with demand and current homeowners not wanting to sell and upgrade by buying a larger home.

Meanwhile, Johnson County has been adding residents, with more than 2,000 people moving to the county in 2016 alone. The continual growth in the county’s population has contributed to the demand for homes, said Stephen Bradburn, manager of the Carpenter Realtors branch in Franklin.

Former Franklin resident Daniel Proffitt and his family of four will count as among the people who move to Johnson County in 2017, as he is selling his home in Morgan County and returning to live in a neighborhood near downtown Franklin.

Proffitt said he found more homes to choose from than he anticipated but that the process of buying the home went much faster than he expected.

Greenwood Realtor Bruce Richardson said it isn’t uncommon for homes to get multiple offers above the listing price. While this is good for sellers, it can present challenges to those looking to buy a home.

One challenge for buyers can be getting a loan for enough money. Because of the competition for homes, buyers are often offering more money than what properties are being appraised for, Richardson said.

The advice the real estate agents offered to buyers was unanimous: Have your finances together and be prepared to make an offer quickly.

Burkhardt’s recommendation is to get pre-approved for a loan before beginning the home search. That way, when you find a house you want to purchase, you will be able to make an offer right away.

At a glance

The number of homes for sale in Johnson County has dropped the last several years while prices have risen.

March 2017

Homes for sale: 563

Average sales price: $198,000

March 2016

Homes for sale: 643

Average price: $178,000

March 2015

Homes for sale: 797

Average price: $173,000

Source: Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.