One home had more than 20 offers within a day of being on the market, and others are getting at least five or six offers within the first few days.

In more than 30 years in real estate, southside agent Tom Johnson has never seen a market like this, he said.

“For those of us that have been in the business for a long time, we’re just saying we never thought we were going to experience anything like this,” he said.

Story continues below gallery

Data from the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors shows a steady decline in the amount of time local homes are spending on the market — from an average of 74 days in 2015 to 55 in 2017. But Johnson, who manages F.C. Tucker’s Greenwood office, said that is much longer than what he is typically seeing, and includes the few homes that spend long stretches of time on the market.

What has become more common, he said, is homes that sell within days — even hours — of being listed.

Every real estate agent has a story. The home that got 22 offers within its first day on the market. The buyers who are making offers without ever stepping foot into a house. Real estate agents showing a home to clients while other agents and buyers wait in the driveway to see it next, he said.

And it’s the same all across central Indiana, from Noblesville to Franklin and everywhere in between, he said.

The issue is a lack of homes for sale, he said.

“We just have a true shortage of inventory, which is our biggest issue,” Johnson said.

At the same time, the pool of buyers continues to grow, especially as millennials start looking to buy homes, he said. That generation had put off buying homes, especially after watching their parents go through the recession and sluggish housing market, but now interest rates are low and the economy has grown and they are looking to buy.

But the amount of homes on the market is not growing enough to keep up with demand, Johnson said.

That is also true for new homes, since home builders significantly slowed new home construction in past years. Now, they are building as fast as they can, and they still can’t keep up with demand, Johnson said.

So when buyers do see a home they like, especially in the most popular price point between $125,000 to $175,000 on the southside, offers are flooding in, Johnson said. In some cases, he said, buyers haven’t even seen the home in person and are still making offers.

The market is highly competitive, and Johnson said he has heard of plenty of buyers losing out on multiple homes.

His advice: know what you want and be ready to buy.

“You have to be pre-approved and better be willing to write the offer the moment you see the house you love. And you better be prepared to pay full price; if not, people are losing houses left and right,” Johnson said.

By the numbers

Here is a look at the average days a home is staying on the market in Johnson County in recent years:




SOURCE: Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors

Author photo
Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2718.